Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season Two

Though it only ran for four seasons on ABC, Doogie Howser remains a fixture when it comes to '90s nostalgia. The ridiculous nickname of the prodigy teenage doctor may have a lot to do with its firm lodging in our memories, but as the second season proves, this dramatic comedy, for the most part, was a solid one. Now in his third year as a resident doctor, Dr. Douglas Howser (Neil Patrick Harris), aka Doogie, continues to find being a genius, physician and, most difficult of all, teenager a trying life. From the season premiere where Doogie conjures up a Frankenstein dream to realise his difficulty to enjoy his teen-hood to the finale where he struggles to take Wanda to the prom, the second season is filled with challenges Doogie can't always solve with his huge noggin. His surrounding family and friends, most notably his father (played by talented Hill Street Blues vet James B. Sikking) and his deplorable best friend Vinnie (Max Casella), provide ample laughs and wise support that often steal the show from the Doogster. There are immediate signs of maturity in not only the show's writing but also in the appearance of Harris, who was clearly still experiencing puberty and growth spurts at the time. The clarity of his maturing works wonders for the show's growth in the two seasons, and it's great to see how it quickly became the "Doogie and Vinnie Show," as Casella is clearly the comic relief and is always consistent in providing laughs that even by today's standards are the results of provocative situations. However, as enjoyable as the show is, it does suffer from a tendency to solve problems lickity split with quick turnaround solutions that can get nauseating. The fashion as well can get ugly, most evident in "Ask Dr. Doogie," where a music channel gives the doctor a show in order to preach to the alcohol-binging, drug-taking, lovemaking youth in what is now a completely dated and tacky style. (And the use of a Wilson Phillips song at the pizza place as well as in Harold and Kumar's funniest scene seems like too much of a coincidence to not believe that Harris is the easy listening trio's biggest fan). The two special features are separate interviews with Harris and Casella. The former is trivial and a difficult view, as "Doogie" says how great it was to work with [fill in the blank]. Casella, on the other hand, is worth the watch; with a 'stache and a deeper voice, his memories are frank and enlightening. Admitting he wanted to have sex with co-star Kathryn Lang all throughout the show's run, he candidly reveals how the show is "a little embarrassing" now, as well as his off-camera relationship with his on-camera girlfriend, Lucy Boryer. (Anchor Bay)