Wednesday, February 23, 2005
A "House" worth checking out.
It's the FOX Tuesday night drama House, M.D.
I first tuned in because I'm a fan of the lead actor who portrays Dr. Gregory House, Hugh Laurie. For those of you not familiar with this fine British actor he's appeared as Bertram 'Bertie' Wilberforce Wooster in the excellent series (adapted from the popular books) Jeeves and Wooster, seen here in the states on Masterpiece Theatre and as Roger Charleston in the film Peter's Friends (both costarring long time collaborator Stephen Fry). But of course, to me anyway, his best performances were in the GREAT comedy series Blackadder!!! (and if you've never seen any of the Blackadder series, then you've missed one of the funniest shows ever made.)
Hugh's Dr. House is an anti-social, brilliant doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. Each week he and his team of hand picked young doctors face a new baffling case to solve. Now that may seem like a "typical" TV drama, and maybe not to dissimilar to NBC's own new medical drama Medical Investigation but that's where you'd be wrong.
What set's this show apart, aside from the cool camera techniques that often take you into the body itself to seek out the cause of the problems, is the character of Dr. House himself. To put it bluntly, he's a bastard son-of-a-bitch! And for an American show, that's rare.
Some of my favorite British shows, the aforementioned Blackadder as well as Fawlty Towers, The Office and Cracker star lead characters that are unlikeable, full of faults and often difficult to watch -- and that's what makes them great! It brings an edge that in the comedies elicit incredible humor and in the dramas a touch of realism that are often nowhere to be seen in American shows.
I'm not a big fan of medical shows ( IMO nothing can ever top the superb St. Elsewhere!) but House, M.D. is not your typical medical show. Each week brings a new mystery that House must solve and while in most shows it's taken for granted that the "hero" will win, I wouldn't be surprised if he may lose every once in a while.
If you've been meaning to check this out or are just looking for something new to watch give House, M.D. a try. But do it quickly!! Remember, this is an American show. With 20+ episodes a season and the likely hood that it'll be renewed, this show could change. Unlike British shows which have the luxury of short seasons and short runs that prevents them from repeating themselves or *horrors* softening the characters, we in America have loooong runs. And just how long Dr. House can stay as insufferable as he is before some focus group tells the network and the show's creators that they need to make him likable makes me feel ill.