Special Features:

Cast

Hugh Laurie

Robert Sean Leonard

Franka Potente

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Andre Braugher

Lisa Edelstein

Omar Epps

Robert Sean Leonard

Jennifer Morrison

Jesse Spencer

Peter Jacobson

Olivia Wilde

Cynthia Watros

Crew
Directors:
Katie Jacobs
Greg Yaitanes
David Straiton
Matt Shakman
Writers:
Russel Friend
Garrett Lerner
David Foster
David Shore
Sara Hess
Liz Friedman
Lawrence Kaplow
Thomas L. Moran
Peter Blake
Music:
Jason Derlatka
Jon Ehrlich
Editors:
Dean Zimmerman
Director of Photography:
Chris Brookshire
Dorian Harris
Stephen Semel
Amy M. Fleming
Producers:
Sara Hess
Marcy G. Kaplan
Executive Producers:
Paul Attanasio
Russel Friend
Katie Jacobs
Hugh Laurie
Garrett Lerner
Thomas L. Moran
David Shore
Bryan Singer
Video:
1080p Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles:
None
Release Date:
27/09/2010
RRP:
£34.99
Distributor:
Universal Pictures

Trailer

The Film
The Disc

All reviews, articles and opinions © David Beckett & Film365. Various images © their respective copyright holders. All Rights Reserved.

If you haven't yet seen the fifth season of House M.D., then this review will contain spoilers so I would stop reading right now and go and buy, rent or borrow that box set and get caught up as the seven season has begun in both the US and UK.  I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum for this season but will assume that most people reading this will have seen most, if not all of the episodes on TV.

 

Season five ended with a death that has a fairly big input on the first half of this season: a bus crash in which Wilson's girlfriend, Amber, suffered fatal injuries.  Furthermore, House was becoming increasingly addicted to Vicodin and having aural and visual hallucinations, seeing and talking to Amber to the point where he imagined a sexual relationship with Cuddy and checked himself into the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital.

 

Disc one contains the double episode which is set in the psychiatric hospital and play as one 90 minute movie rather than separate episodes and there is more than one reference to One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, with House in the McMurphy role.  Using his intelligence and manipulative skills, he does best to wind up and manipulate other patients in order to get his own way before eventually realise that the best course of action is just to go with the flow, confide in the psychiatrist and let him do his job.  There is a terrific guest appearance Franke Potente as the sister-in-law of one of the residents who becomes a love interest for House and just shows what an assured feature film actress she is who's equally at home on a television series.

 

The other two episodes on this disc are absolutely brilliant with 'Epic Fail' integrating a whole load of video game footage into the narrative and 'The Tyrant' starring James Earl Jones as an African dictator seeking medical attention to Princeton Plainsboro.  This episode has far reaching consequences for the rest of the season with Chase having severe difficulties reconciling the 'do no harm' part of the Hippocratic oath with his gut reaction to use his position to prevent genocide by killing his patient.  Even if you haven't seen this, you can guess which way the episode goes.

 

By disc two, House is back and settled in at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital although without a medical license so he is basically there in an advisory capacity, with Foreman in charge of the team.  This arrangement suits House just fine as he is still the de facto boss but has absolutely none of the responsibility.  Chase's murder of Dibala is really the elephant in the room that only he and Foreman properly know about although House, being House, has a fair idea of what happened and Chase's reluctance to say anything that's a massive strain on his marriage to Cameron who basically suspects that he is having an affair.

 

In terms of developing the series and introducing characters, the dynamic between Chase and Cameron leads to both of them quitting the team in order to save their marriage whilst House desperately pursues Taub and Thirteen who try their best to stay away but there was something about the cases that House brings in to Princeton Plainsboro and offers as bait to his two former employees that has the seriously reconsidering their decisions to quit.

 

As seasons go, this one is probably the best since the third as there is far less of the 'team around the whiteboard' sequences, very few of the CG animation to show you what happens inside the body and, with the season involving Foreman, Chase, Cameron, Taub and Thirteen all vying for a spot on House’s team, there are so many fascinating relationships to go on with.  Additionally, you have House and Wilson and House and Cuddy, who has now decided to settle down with Lucas, the PI that House first brought onto the scene a long time ago.

 

It's hard to pick a favourite episode from the 22 in season six but, aside from the first three which is just a tremendous piece of television, I found the most interesting to be the 14th, '5 to 9’, which really shows you what being Dr Lisa Cuddy really entails with early mornings, a sick daughter, an unreliable partner and all of the administrative side of hospital life, particularly medical insurance.  I won't pretend to fully understand exactly what all the numbers and percentages mean and exactly what Cuddy was striving for with the insurance company but I thought it was an extremely interesting and revealing episodes that shows you a great deal about a character who is normally only seen in her office, arguing with House or giving him something to look out with her traditional low-cut tops!

 

Every single actor here shows why they are generally regarded in such high esteem, particularly Lisa Edelstein, who continues to impress, and Hugh Laurie who shows why he has taken over from Kiefer Sutherland as the highest-paid actor on American TV, being paid an estimated $400,000 per episode.

 

There really isn't a low point in this season either and it finishes with such a terrific episode and a great moment in House’s apartment which means the first episode of the seventh season will be virtually unmissable.

The Disc

Extra Features

There is an audio commentary on the episode 'Broken' involving director Katie Jacobs and writers Garret Lerner and Russel Friend which is a very well delivered and revelatory track with plenty of information about the sets, shooting and casting.  As it involves two of the writers and the director, they have plenty to offer about everything from pre-production (including all of the research they did) through to the shooting and where it fits into the season was a whole.

 

There are three featurettes to do with this episode:

 

Before "Broken", a 10 minute short that goes into a great amount of detail showing the preparation from Hugh Laurie and the writer/director for the double episode to open this season with input from director/executive producer Katie Jacobs.  This includes shooting locations and such things as Laurie having his hair cut and growing a longer beard.

 

A New House for House (22:40, HD) just shows how much time and effort went into recreating the psychiatric hospital on the set in Los Angeles rather than filming in the real hospital in New Jersey.  It really was a massive undertaking that illustrates the massive resources that the crew for House M.D. have at their disposal.


New Faces in a New House (8:45, HD) is quite interesting as they go through the various ways in which 'Broken' is different from just about every other episode of House M.D. as, aside from Wilson, there isn't a single regular cast member so they needed to cast about 40 entirely new actors for a different location and a narrative in which there is not going to be a medical mystery.

 

Crazy Cool Episode: Epic Fail (22:29, HD) focuses entirely on the visual effects in the episode 'Epic Fail' in which there is a massive amount of CGI, with a huge amount of the episode basically involving a computer game, and is a fascinating look at one of the more unusual aspects of any episode of the show.

 

On disc three, there are two audio commentaries:

 

'Wilson' has Robert Sean Leonard and writer David Foster M.D. giving their opinions on the episode which is entirely about the oncologist and House's best friend so it is quite interesting to get Leonard's opinion on making an episode of the show.  Surprisingly, there is more dead air than I expected as they seem quite happy to just sit there and watch the show yet it is still an interesting commentary track that sheds information on this episode in particular and the entire show in general.

 

'5 to 9' fittingly has Lisa Edelstein joined by writer Thomas L. Moran and I just wish that people would watch the episode immediately before providing a commentary so that they are familiar with the content and don't really feel like sitting there watching it again as is the case here.  What they do have to say is fairly interesting and well delivered but there is way too much dead air for my liking.

 

On disc four, you have 'A Different POV: Hugh Laurie Directs' (7:22, HD) which concentrates on the episode 'Lockdown' on which Hugh Laurie made his directorial debut and it's quite an interesting behind the scenes look at what it takes to actually prep an episode and work out all of the various logistics about what it takes to direct a 45 minute TV episode.  It's quite interesting to hear the feedback from the actors about what it's like to be directed by one of their peers.

 

Disc five contains one audio commentary on the season's final episode 'Help Me' with director Greg Yaitanes and technical adviser Larry Collins, a member of LA Search and Rescue.  Between them, the two guys barely take a breath and this is one of the most interesting and well delivered commentary is that I've listened to in a very long time; they've clearly said the best until last.

The Picture

This was broadcast on TV in high definition so it makes perfect sense for it to be given a Blu-ray release and TV has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, moving from the typical 4:3 aspect ratio to the 16:9 widescreen format on virtually every channel and now just about every major TV show is also broadcast in high definition.  Although House M.D. isn't the sort of show to really show off the benefits of HD, it does benefit from the added detail with brighter colours during the surgery scenes and an altogether more pleasing picture.

The Sound

Just as the picture isn't necessarily the greatest use of HD, this is still a show that benefits from the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, especially when there are very busy scenes with people moving around, doors opening and closing and, during the final episode, the surround sound used to great effect to really enhance the claustrophobic feel of being trapped under masonry.

 

The use of Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' over the opening credits was a stroke of genius and there are plenty of other pieces of source music throughout the season which showed that someone really listens to a lot of great music and knows exactly where it would fit into an episode.  The show is also very well scored with the music used to great effect to underscore the more emotional scenes and ramp up the tension when someone's life is literally on the line.

Final Thoughts

If you have been watching and buying the previous five seasons of House M.D. then this will be a season that you will add to your collection whether on DVD or Blu-ray and, although the step up to high definition isn't as drastic as with some older feature films, it is still a marked improvement over the previous DVD releases with better AV quality and even something so minor as more episodes on a single disc.

 

This is one of the best seasons so far with a Vicodin-free House proving to be just as effective, sarcastic and misanthropic as the one that was hopped up on painkillers!  As such, his relationships with his employees and co-workers are just as good as they have ever been and when you bring in the great storylines that follow from the end of season five, that you have something that is involving, amusing and utterly brilliant.  I'm just amazed that it hasn't been the recipient of more Emmy awards.

House M.D.: Season Six