He pops pills, watches soaps, and always, always says what's on his mind. He's Dr. Gregory House (Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie, Blackadder
). Producers David Shore, Bryan Singer, Katie Jacobs, and Paul Attanasio haven't rewritten the hospital drama--at heart, it's a cross between St. Elsewhere
, and C.S.I.
--but they've infused a moribund genre with new life and created one of TV's most compelling characters. More than any previous medical procedural, it resembles Attanasios underrated Gideon's Crossing
, but House
is lighter on its feet. As fascinating as he is, the show wouldn't work as well if it were all House all the time (that would be like Sherlock Holmes without Watson or Moriarty). Fortunately, he's joined by an intriguing cast of characters, portrayed by a combination of experienced vets (Omar Epps, Lisa Edelstein, Tony winner Robert Sean Leonard) and new faces (Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer). Aside from the complicated cases they tackle each week, the sparks really fly when House's brilliant, if naïve charges are put to the test--and as the head of a teaching hospital, it's his job to test them (although his tough love approach is constantly landing him in hot water with Edelstein's administrator). From the first episode, House
attracted a talented array of guests, including Robin Tunney ("Pilot"), Joe Morton ("Role Model"), and Patrick Bauchau ("Cursed") as Spencers father. In addition, Chi McBride and Sela Ward appear frequently (with Ward returning for the second season). Viewers who first watched these 22 episodes on Fox will be gratified to note that the music has survived the transition to disc, such as the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," as featured in both the pilot and season finale ("Honeymoon"). The only apparent omission is the credit theme (Massive Attack's "Teardrop") from the pilot. --Kathleen C. Fennessy