House - Season 1-8 DVD|
This is the complete series from beginning to end (seasons 1-8) which aired on TV between 2004 and 2012. Follow medical genius Dr Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) the Sherlock Holmes of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital as he leads his dedicated team of diagnostic clinicians towards solving a most diverse assortment of intriguingly baffling medical quandaries.
House himself is a highly complicated character being chronically morose, extremely confrontational and somewhat maverick in his approach to his work at the same time as having to deal with constant physical pain which has caused him to develop a strong drug dependency. He is frequently at odds with his fellow clinicians; often following his own rather unconventional hypothetical hunches rather than sticking to normal diagnostic and clinical procedure. Among the twists and turns and countless blind alleys he encounters with each case, he typically has a tremendous flash of inspiration which nearly always leads him to a satisfying conclusion. He continually flouts hospital rules causing his staff members to exist in a permanent state of nervous anxiety though this is usually tempered by their awe, wonderment and the high level of professional respect they have for him.
Every episode features its own fascinatingly complex medical conundrum which is mind-boggling, edge of your seat, compulsive viewing. We cannot help but be involuntarily drawn into the very heart of each clinical case and we find ourselves empathising with the patients concerned, joining them on their own personal emotional roller coasters with the ups and downs manifesting themselves in an eclectic mix of fear, trauma and shock, hope, relief and happiness.
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The complete series 1-8 of the medical drama starring Hugh Laurie as the stony-faced MD, Dr Gregory House - who, although very well qualified, is completely devoid of any bedside manner. Despite being difficult to get along with, Dr House is often the only one who can solve medical cases that have other doctors baffled. The episodes are: 'Pilot', 'Paternity', 'Occam's Razor', 'Maternity', 'Damned If You Do', 'The Socratic Method', 'Fidelity', 'Poison', 'DNR', 'Histories', 'Detox', 'Sports Medicine', 'Cursed', 'Control', 'Mob Rules', 'Heavy', 'Role Model', 'Babies and Bathwater', 'Kids', 'Love Hurts', 'Three Stories', 'The Honeymoon', 'Acceptance', 'Autopsy', 'Humpty Dumpty', 'TB Or Not TB', 'Daddy's Boy', 'Spin', 'Hunting', 'The Mistake', 'Deception', 'Failure to Communicate', 'Need to Know', 'Distractions', 'Skin Deep', 'Sex Kills', 'Clueless', 'Safe', 'All in', 'Sleeping Dogs Lie', 'House Vs God', 'Euphoria: Part One', 'Euphoria: Part Two', 'Forever', 'Who's Your Daddy?', 'No Reason', 'Meaning', 'Cane and Able', 'Informed Consent', 'Lines in the Sand', 'Fools for Love', 'Que Sera Sera', 'Son of Coma Guy', 'Whac-A-Mole', 'Finding Judas', 'Merry Little Christmas', 'Words and Deeds', 'One Day, One Room', 'Needle in a Haystack', 'Insensitive', 'Half-Wit', 'Top Secret', 'Fetal Position', 'Airborne', 'Act Your Age', 'House Training', 'Family', 'Resignation', 'The Jerk', 'Human Error', 'Alone', 'The Right Stuff', '97 Seconds', 'Guardian Angels', 'Mirror Mirror', 'Whatever It Takes', 'Ugly', 'You Don't Want to Know', 'Games', 'It's a Wonderful Lie', 'Frozen', 'Don't Ever Change', 'No More Mr Nice Guy', 'Living the Dream', 'House's Head', 'Wilson's Heart', 'Dying Changes Everything', 'Not Cancer', 'Adverse Events', 'Birthmarks', 'Lucky Thirteen', 'Joy', 'The Itch', 'Emancipation', 'Last Resort', 'Let Them Eat Cake', 'Joy to the World', 'Painless', 'Big Baby', 'The Greater Good', 'Unfaithful', 'The Softer Side', 'The Social Contract', 'Here Kitty', 'Locked in', 'Simple Explanation', 'Saviors', 'House Divided', 'Under My Skin', 'Both Sides Now', 'Broken', 'Epic Fail', 'The Tyrant', 'Instant Karma', 'Brave Heart', 'Known Unknowns', 'Teamwork', 'Ignorance Is Bliss', 'Wilson', 'The Down Low', 'Remorse', 'Moving the Chains', '5 to 9', 'Private Lives', 'Black Hole', 'Lockdown', 'Knight Fall', 'Open and Shut', 'The Choice', 'Baggage', 'Help Me', 'Now What?', 'Selfish', 'Unwritten', 'Massage Therapy', 'Unplanned Parenthood', 'Office Politics', 'A Pox On Our House', 'Small Sacrifices', 'Larger Than Life', 'Carrot Or Stick', 'Family Practice', 'You Must Remember This', 'Two Stories', 'Recession Proof', 'Bombshells', 'Out of the Chute', 'Fall from Grace', 'The Dig', 'Last Temptation', 'Changes', 'The Fix', 'After Hours', 'Moving On', 'Twenty Vicodin', 'Transplant', 'Charity Case', 'Risky Business', 'The Confession', 'Parents', 'Dead and Buried', 'Perils of Paranoia', 'Better Half', 'Runaways', 'Nobody's Fault', 'Chase', 'Man of the House', 'Love Is Blind', 'Blowing the Whistle', 'Gut Check', 'We Need the Eggs', 'Body and Soul', 'The C Word', 'Post Mortem', 'Holding On' and 'Everybody Dies'.
Average Rating for House - Season 1-8 - 5 out of 5
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House - Season 1-8Jane Wallace
What is the secret of House's success?
In a TV landscape that's hardly been light on hospital-based dramas over the past few years, House has consistently stood out as one of the most original, entertaining and popular shows to have made use of the medical profession as a backdrop, and its success has lasted the best part of a decade. With the release of this definitive boxset - containing all eight seasons of the series - we can finally stand back and fully admire a show that has maintained a remarkable level of quality over the years, despite the occasional ups and downs that afflict any long-running TV series.
Now, I've been a big fan of House ever since it started way back in 2004, and I could happily take you through each season of the show individually, and tell you just what makes every one of them so great in their own right. But that'd probably result in a pretty long review, and it probably wouldn't mean much to anyone who's never watched the series before. So, rather than trawl through each and every year's worth of episodes separately, I thought I'd pick out a handful of general elements that really make the show worth watching - and in doing so, I'll hopefully encourage anyone who hasn't discovered the show yet to take the plunge.
So what makes House such a great programme?
IT'S A DETECTIVE SHOW IN DISGUISE: Imagine a series in which a detective and his team of sidekicks are tasked with tracking down a different villain each week, and are confronted with a series of escalating crimes before finally catching up with the bad guy at the last minute. Sounds pretty exciting, right? Well, House is that show - just with doctors as the detectives, and rare diseases as the villains. Yes, the series tends to follow a pretty repetitive formula (with a patient coming in with a mysterious illness, which is initially treated in a way that only causes further complications, before Dr House finally has a moment of clarity and realises what he's got to do to cure the condition), but it's a formula that works.
Crucially, the patients are always interesting characters in their own right - often played by a high-profile guest star - with engaging personal stories to accompany their medical woes. And the various diseases are kept very varied, meaning that you'll never feel like you're watching the same story twice. Plus, with all of the Sherlock Holmes references that the show crams in (House/Holmes, a gifted musician and hopelessly-addicted drug user, lives at 221B Baker Street and solves mysteries through deductive reasoning, with the help of his best friend Wilson/Watson!), it's difficult to escape the fact that this apparent medical drama is secretly a detective show at heart. And a compelling one, at that.
IT'S A SOAP: House is a medical drama first and foremost, and one that revolves around detecting diseases and treating patients. However, just as critical to the show's success has been the supporting cast of characters that populate the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro teaching hospital. Starting off with a small hub of trainee/assistant doctors who help House with his "differential" deductions, the show gradually builds each one of these secondary characters up into three-dimensional personalities who all have their own stories, and who all bring their own individual viewpoints into play over the course of treating their patients. And rather than permanently trapping each of these supporting-cast members in a safe status quo, the show allows each of them to undergo genuine progression, developing each character in their own right as well as building a complex web of inter-pesonal relationships that adds real depth to the dynamics of the show.
And as the years go on, some of these characters rotate in and out of play, often allowing fresh ones to take the spotlight. This is a show that isn't afraid of change: new doctors are introduced in later seasons, whilst the role of House's immediate superior - and love interest - Cuddy is made far more complex and sympathetic, and the show also isn't afraid of making waves by allowing characters to change position in the hospital hierarchy (which is particularly fun during the sections in which former-subordinate Foreman is required to act as House's boss). The label of "soap opera" is often used in a derogatory way, to signify melodrama and cheesy relationship-based writing - but House is the best kind of soap: one that builds up characters that you really care about, and is brave enough to take them to new and challenging places as their personalities evolve. By the end of these eight seasons, you'll really feel like you know and care about these characters intimately, and that's no mean feat given that they're mostly required to play second-fiddle to whatever the disease-of-the-week happens to be in any given episode.
IT'S A SHOW THAT TAKES CHANCES: Once most shows hit their stride, they're content to settle on a winning formula and repeat it endlessly until the series has run its course and viewers are no longer interested. But House is smart enough to take some real chances with its cast and concept, regularly shaking things up and changing the entire dynamic of the show, and frequently posing difficult moral problems to which there are no easy solutions. Several times over the course of these eight seasons, you'll see the show pass a point-of-no-return in terms of a plot twist that seems impossible to reverse or undo, and you'll probably worry that the show can't survive such massive upheaval. But luckily, the writing is so good and the twists and turns feel so natural that these big gambles always pay off.
And as well as being quite daring in terms of the content of an hour-long TV show, House is also a series that's unafraid to take chances with structure. Episodes like the first season's "Three Stories" (which provides some insight into House's own chronic medical condition), the sixth season's "5 to 9" (which focuses on Cuddy's day-to-day life and has the regular cast only show up occasionally) or the seventh season's "Bombshells" (a musical episode, at least partly) serve to shake up the show just at the point at which you're beginning to become overly-familiar with its format and formula. And the series often saves its best and most daring material for the various season finales, such as the brilliant House's Head/Wilson's Heart two-parter that concludes season four, in which a complex flashback structure is coupled with some heartbreaking and unexpected plot developments. The result is one of the strongest stories the show ever pulled off - a title that's perhaps shared with the storyline that concludes season five and opens season six (which I won't even describe here as it would be a major spoiler). Suffice it to say that if you like TV that always plays it safe and never tries to challenge its viewers, House might not be the show for you.
IT STARS THE BEST ANTI-HERO IN TV HISTORY: Well, I had to get around to him eventually! Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest attractions of House is - well, House. The charismatic, compelling and highly-intelligent character that lends the series its name is the show's greatest triumph for one simple reason: any sane person should really hate his guts. Because House is really the nastiest person you can imagine, outside of an outright criminal (although he often strays into that region too). He's cruel to his enemies and even crueller to his colleagues (and even to his one true friend, Wilson, who often bears the brunt of House's temper and pettiness); he's so selfish that he simply doesn't care about the chaos that's caused to others by his Vicodin addiction or frequent dalliances with the law; he's needlessly belligerent, constantly seeking to cause pain and disharmony even when it's completely unnecessary; and he's the ultimate cynic, saddled with a mindset that's exemplified by his "everybody lies" mantra (which, more often than not, sadly turns out to be accurate).
But somehow, despite all of those reprehensible character traits, you find yourself rooting for House throughout the series. Perhaps that's because there's a vicarious thrill in seeing someone be as mean, nasty and downright rude to people as you secretly wish you could be. Perhaps it's because House's brilliant mind and ability to cure even the most complex and unusual diseases makes up for his unpleasantness as a person. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because we occasionally get glimpses of a far more complex, emotionally-damaged and vulnerable person behind House's carefully-constructed facade - and as the series goes on, we gradually come to understand House, even if we never truly like him. For anyone who only knows actor Hugh Laurie as the bumbling Bertie Wooster or the idiotic Prince George from Blackadder, then Dr Gregory House is a revelation, and one that anchors the series solidly, even through its weaker storylines.
Hopefully, over the course of the preceding eight paragraphs, I've given you a flavour of what I think makes House such a great show, and why I think this complete eight-season boxset is such a worthy purchase. I'm sure that fans of the series will already have ordered their copies - but for anyone who's never seen the programme before, I envy you: because you've got eight years of one of the most compelling TV shows ever made to look forward to. Just remember one thing: it's never Lupus.
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