House: Season One

In the shadow of Lost and Desperate Housewives, two other new series emerged last season as genuine successes. Both medical dramas, House and Grey's Anatomy received far less press than those aforementioned series but actually drew similar ratings. The Fox network's House was perhaps the largest surprise. Its dark and intelligent nature seemed more appropriate for HBO than the network that brought us Temptation Island and Joe Millionaire, but somehow the ratings continued to grow, and it became the network's first bona fide dramatic success in a few years (even The O.C. had about half of House's viewership). The first season has just received the inevitable DVD treatment, and watching it makes it quite clear where the success came from. Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a respected diagnostician at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, known equally for his brilliance at fighting disease as he is for his cold and very unfriendly manner. In other words, he is not a character that ER would ever find room for. Each episode a patient arrives with a new, unknown disease that House and his team (including a great Omar Epps as Eric Foreman, which is oddly also the name of the main character on another Fox series, That '70s Show) need to figure out. The lines are sharp, the performances sharper (especially Laurie, who is more than deserving of his recent Emmy nomination), and the plots will keep you guessing. The DVD has the general round of ho-hum extras, including a bunch of featurettes (on the concept of the show and the medical cases, among other things) and a virtual tour of the set. But the show is the main attraction, and the 22 episodes might just find their way in and out of your DVD player in record time. (Universal)