Is There a Doctor in the House

I mentioned in an earlier post my admiration of Hugh Laurie and his performance as Dr. Greg House on the FOX drama House m.d. I consider House to be the best new drama of this past season.

House is a sort of medical Sherlock Holmes, right down to the similarities in their names. Holmes sounding like homes. The similarities don’t stop there. The trusted friends: Holmes has Watson, House has Dr. James Wilson, played by Robert Sean Leonard. Holmes played the violin, House plays the piano. Holmes was addicted to the infamous 7% solution of cocaine, House is addicted to Vicodin.

There is actually more of Dr. Joseph Bell, one of Conan Doyle’s proffesors and an inspiration for Holmes. Bell had a way of deducing things about patients the same way that Dr. House does. As the head of the diagnostic medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
He leads a team of specialists who tackle a new medical mystery every week. If you watch the episodes you start to notice that they become a little formulatic. The enjoyment comes from the interplay between the characters, especially House. Some of the highlights from the first season: House doing mandatory clinic duty, the Three Stories episode that showed how House first got the infarction in his leg that leads to his limp and his dependancy on Vicodin, and his interplay with his staff, especially Dr. Cameron, played by Jennifer Morrison, who has a crush on House.

House also has a arch-nemisis. As Holmes had his Moriarty, House had to contend with Edward Vogler, a billionaire who becomes hospital chairman for a while. Voglar was played by Chi McBride for 5 episodes. He came in and said he was going to run the hospital like a business, but his main objective seemed to be just getting rid of House. When he can’t get a unanimous vote to get rid of House, he bullies the board into getting rid of Dr. Wilson, the one dissenting vote. Finally the board decides to get rid of Voglar and his money instead of House after an impassioned plea by Dr. Cuddy the hospital administrator, played by Lisa Edelstein.

My favorite episode of the past season was Detox, in which Dr. House agrees not to take Vicodin for a week in exchange for no clinic duty for a month. The episode deals with him trying to deal with the withdrawal symptoms while trying to figure out why a patient wont stop bleeding after an accident. He makes it through the week and admits to Cuddy that he is addicted to Vicodin but will not go into treatment because his addiction doesn’t affect the way that he does his job. The end of the episode reveals that Cuddy and Dr. Wilson were behind the deal and shows the look of gratification on House’s face as he takes his first pill in over a week.

House is currently in reruns on FOX at 9 p.m. on Tuesday nights. The first season will be released on DVD on August 30.

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One of the greatest on Television…

I am very big on mysteries. I plan on doing a top 5 detectives on television one day. This column though, is about a longtime favorite of mine, Thomas Sullivan Magnum. Played to perfection by Tom Selleck, the Hawaiin private investigator (not private eye!) was the epitome of coolness in the 80’s. If I were ever to come back as anyone else, I would want to be Magnum P.I. Live on a beachfront house rent free, drive a ferrari, get to wine and dine beautiful women and have great adventures every week. That is the life for me.

I was too young to really enjoy the show when it was originally shown. I caught reruns a decade later on A&E, and that’s all it took. This is one of the few shows never to have “Jumped the Shark” according to the people polled on that website. No cute children or annoying supporting players added, just Magnum, T.C., Rick, and Higgans. Sure there were great guest stars in reccuring roles: Agatha, Carol, Mac, Maggie, Etc…but mostly it was just the guys.

Many fans and critics like this show for the way that it treated Vietnam vets. With the respect that they deserve. Not that there weren’t problems with them after they returned to the U.S., but mainly the treatment was very favorable.

I have many favorite episodes from the shows 8 seasons. I love such episodes as Home from the Sea, Limbo, Little Girl Who, Paper War, and others. It is a little escapist fun for an hour or so. I have a little theory about who Robin Masters really is that I will share with you sometime. Until next time remember, “Time has little to do with Infinity and Jelly Doughnuts”

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Television Roundup Part 3

It’s time to finish the roundup for the May sweeps period and clean out the old inbox.

Everybody Loves Raymond finished up an impressive run with a low key finale that fit right in with the nature of the show. No big fancy send offs or wacky finales. Just quality programming. Ray Romano can go into the fortune telling business. He said take the audience for the Seinfeld finale (80 million), subtract the audience for the Friends finale (50 million) and that was going to be the number to the Raymond finale. He was only 3 million off as 33 million viewers watched the Barone clan ride off into the sunset.

Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left That 70’s Show, at least as full time cast members. Both actors may make quest appearances next season. While the show is not as funny as it was during its heyday, it is still an entertaining way to spend a half hour.

The story for a while there was the season finale of CSI. The big night arrived and I was ready. I was into the story, my heart was racing. My eyes were glued to the set. Nick takes out his gun to shoot the light and…my power goes out. AGGHGHGHGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about being pissed. The power didn’t get restored until 30 minutes after CSI had ended. I get all the breaks.

I semi follow CSI: Miami, and it was nice for Horatio to finally uncover the mystery of what happened to his brother Ray.

I loved the finale of CSI: New York, which is quickly becoming my favorite of the three shows. Gary Sinese really shines in the Role of Mac Taylor, who finally has decided to move on with his personal life since the death of his wife on September 11, 2001. This show kept getting better as the year went on. I think it got better the right way though, by degrees. Not some huge change in the middle of the season that just threw everything out of whack.

Jack Bauer dead? On the road like a fugitive and a man without a country? What a year this has been for 24. The best season I have seen yet. (Note: I have not seen season 1.) The nonstop season that Fox showed is the way to go with a show like this that has cliffhanger endings every week. I cannot wait for next January. I just hope Edger is back along with Chloe. Those two cracked me up. On a less positive note, I have heard that Logan is still going to be president when the season starts.

When 24 starts its 5th season in January, it will have the wonderfully quirky House as its lead in. This show was the bright spot in the past season for me. Hugh Laurie is one of the best actors on television right now, if not the best. His Dr. Gregory House has to be one of the greatest characters ever. My wife doesn’t like his attitude, which I find refreshing. The man is brilliant and he knows it. What’s more, he doesn’t mind telling everyone how brilliant he is. I will have more to write about this wonderful drama later on.

AGGGHGHGHHHH!!!!! Moment number 2: NBC messes up my whole routine and moves the finale of Law & Order: Criminal Intent to a Wednesday night at 10 o’clock. So naturally I miss the finale. I hate it when things like that happen. Bobby Goren is one of my favorite Characters on television. It’s a shame he will only be around for 11 episodes next season, although I understand the reasons why. Unlike some of the other posts I have read on the web, I am willing to give the Chris Noth episodes a chance.

Next Week I will talk about some of my favorite characters on TV.

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Televison Roundup Part 2

Two big shockers in the May sweeps period. The season finales of Gilmore Girls and NCIS. Both shows saved their big moments until the very end. Leaving us TV addicts with a long summer of waiting.

I am a casual viewer of Gilmore Girls. I like to keep up with the storylines but I don’t watch every week. I did surf over to the final three minutes of the finale to see Rory quit school and Lorelei propose to Luke. I didn’t see that one coming. The buzz going around the net is that a lot of people didn’t see that at all, since the episode ran a little longer than an hour. So the WB ran the finale again the next week and I caught the whole thing this time. I can’t wait to see how they resolve all of these issues. I agree with the people over at TV Guide, Lauren Graham deserves an Emmy already!

I stated in my last post that I was not a huge fan of JAG during its run. I am a fan of NCIS however. My mouth hit the floor after Kate was shot through the forehead by Ari. I never thought that Kate was going to be the one that was killed. I thought that McGee was going to be the one that died in the finale. Donald P. Bellisario stated the next day that Sasha Alexander, who plays Kate, came to him and asked to be let out of her contract, stating the grueling schedule and the fact that it was liable to go on for several more years. DPB then went back and rewrote the finale. September cannot come to soon.

Saving Grace Part 1: Boo on CBS for getting rid of Joan of Arcadia. The show had a heart and wasn’t too preachy while getting a message across. When you are the big dog in television, I guess you can do pretty much what you want to.

Saving Grace Part 2: Word came down earlier this week that Law & Order:Trial by Jury may not be as dead as everyone thought. NBC may order 13 more episodes of the Dick Wolfe series for mid-season. Or TNT may pick the show up. If only Wolfe could help Joan.

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Welcome Summer

I hope everyone is having a good month. I still cannot get over the amazing May sweeps period on television. WOW! First, goodbye to the outstanding JAG and Third Watch. I was never a huge fan of either series, only have watched a handful of episodes between the two. I still made time to watch each series finale and both of these shows left us with a classy farewell.

First, JAG. Harm and Mac finally together. And getting married no less. The coinflip was the perfect way to end this show. Too bad the whole thing felt rushed. A two hour finale would have seemed better to me.

Third Watch- This show impresses me every time that I see an episode. To be honest with you I can count the number of episodes that I have seen on one hand and have fingers left over. But I have a feeling that is going to change. We want DVD’s now! I became a fan by accident this past season. I work on Friday nights and I am usually getting ready for work when the show was on. So I never saw it. Then last October I was at my parents house one Friday night. I had recently had three deaths in my family in the span of two weeks, so things weren’t really going my way. I just happened to catch an episode on and not finding anything else that would hold my interest I stayed on NBC.

The episode was called “The Greatest Detectives in the World.” What an hour of television. It did what nothing else had been able to do for a week. It took my mind off of my problems. Molly Price and Aiden Quinn were phenomenal as Detectives Yokas and Miller, and who knew Chris Elliot could play a psycho so well? The con that Faith and Miller pulled in this episode was great. I only hate the fact that I didn’t discover this show until the end of a very good run.

Goodbye to Camelot. Indeed.

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