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House, M.D. Season Seven Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Kevin EK

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May 9, 2003
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House, M.D. Season Seven presents the latest season of diagnostic investigations by Dr. House and his team. The formula is really starting to show, but the dialogue continues to snap and the performances are always engaging. The Blu-ray set provides solid picture and sound, and a few extras, including three commentaries, to keep things interesting.



ce4991ed_HouseS7Coverr.jpeg
M.D.



SEASON SEVEN


[COLOR= #303030]Studio[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: Universal[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Original Airing[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: 2010-2011[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Length[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: 23 episodes (16 hours, 47 mins)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Genre[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: Medical Mystery/Drama/Comedy[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]BD Resolution and Codec[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: 1080pm VC-1 (@ an average 30 mbps)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Audio[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 2.9 mbps)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Subtitles[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: English SDH, Spanish[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Rating[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: Unrated (TV-safe injuries, blood, medical procedures and innuendo)[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Release Date[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]: August 30, 2011[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Starring: Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Spencer, and Peter Jacobson, with appearances by Amber Tamblyn[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Creator/Executive Producer: David Shore[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Written by: Various[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Directed by: Various[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Rating:[/COLOR] [COLOR= red]3/5[/COLOR]




[COLOR= #303030]House, M.D. Season Seven[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030]is a five-disc Blu-ray set that holds the full 23 episodes of the show’s most recent season. The basic premise of the series – the medical and diagnostic investigations conducted by the irascible title character and his team – has now truly run its course, more than 6 years into the life of the show. As many other reviewers are also noting, the formula here is really showing its seams, in that we almost always start with a symptom, then a diagnosis, then a more radical symptom, then a new diagnosis with different meds, and so on until Dr. House has a breakthrough and solves the case. When done well, this is an interesting puzzle – when done less well, it begins to feel like what it is – formulaic television. However, the series continues to show strengths in dialogue and characterization, as well as a solid acting ensemble. On several occasions, the stalest of situations are saved by snappy dialogue, or by the strength of Hugh Laurie’s performance in the title role.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The season begins with the payoff of last season’s closing tableau – House (Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) starting a romantic relationship with each other. To be honest, this isn’t as interesting a territory as one might think, although it does lead to a few fun moments – especially in those episodes featuring Candice Bergen as Cuddy’s mother. This arc comes to its conclusion with “Bombshells”, which is ostensibly a typical symptom/diagnosis episode, only laced with a series of increasingly outlandish dream sequences in which House and Cuddy’s relationship is seen through the prisms of various other genres of TV shows and movies. (Best of these is the first – a tribute to sitcoms that has both Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard adopting the arch mannerisms of a “Two and a Half Men”-styled comedy.) Another spine running through the season is the introduction of morally upright med student Martha Masters (Amber Tamblyn, filling the void left by Olivia Wilde during Wilde’s long break for a theatrical film) who clashes with House in interesting ways. When Thirteen (Wilde) finally returns for the last few episodes, her character has been given some emotional heft, as particularly seen in her return segment, “The Dig”. The final episode of the season, “Moving On” finds the series lifting a slapstick plot device from the HBO series Entourage as a trigger for what will be happening to House in the upcoming 8th Season. It should be noted that due to budget cutbacks, Lisa Edelstein will not be returning to the series, so “Moving On” is the final episode with her character. (This was not known until after the season had already been completed, so that information does not affect the episode’s plot.)[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The Blu-ray set includes all of the episodes in 1080p HD picture and DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound, along with audio commentaries on three episodes, several 1080p HD featurettes, and a PIP U-Control feature that provides “A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine”. The Blu-ray set also includes the usual BD-Live and pocket BLU functionality.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]I’m still a fan of this series, but I have to admit it really is showing its age now. That said, there are still some good episodes sprinkled throughout, particularly the ones I have cited above. I would add to those “Selfish” and “Larger Than Life”. Throughout, the strong dialogue still continues to work its magic – particularly when Masters is involved or discussed. (Jesse Spencer is given a priceless line about the entertainment value of Masters’ morality meeting House’s amorality – “…and the bunny meets the blade…”) Fans of the series will want to pick up this season set, even though it isn’t functioning at the level of the earlier years. There are still good extras to be found here, particularly the final commentary, which acknowledges that the first episode of the season was actually refilmed and that the guest cast of the original version was recast into other parts throughout the year. More casual viewers will likely be confused if they start watching the show at this point, and I’d recommend they pick season 4 or earlier as a starting position.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]VIDEO QUALITY[/COLOR]
[COLOR= red]4/5[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]House, M.D. Season Seven[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030]is presented in a 1080p VC-1 transfer that is pretty solid throughout. “Bombshells” is a particularly interesting example of the range of looks for the show, as it combines color filming with black and white photography, and covers a range of filming styles from traditional to outlandish. There’s a satisfying range of flesh tones and colors on display here, even within the limited confines of the hospital setting. And the odd episode, like “Bombshells” or “Moving On”, can provide opportunities for more interesting looks. I believe this to be the final season of the show to use film cameras, so it’s notable for that aspect as well. (House is currently shot with the Alexa HD camera.)[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]AUDIO QUALITY[/COLOR] [COLOR= red]4/5[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]House, M.D. Season Seven[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030]is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that mostly focuses on the front channels, but has a satisfying amount of life in the surrounds, both in terms of music and atmosphere. This aspect is unchanged from the prior seasons.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]DISC BY DISC[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030]:[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]As I regularly do with TV season sets, I think it will work better here to account for what can be found on each disc, in order. To save time, I’ll restate that every episode has a U-Control “A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine” function.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The discs also contain the usual My Scenes bookmarking and BD-Live functionality of all Universal Blu-ray releases. The discs also feature the pocket BLU app.[/COLOR]




[COLOR= #303030]DISC ONE:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Episodes: [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Now What[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – The season opener literally picks up right where last season’s “Help Me” left off, with House and Cuddy falling into a relationship that goes a lot farther than the professional rapport we have seen for five prior seasons.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Selfish[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – This episode brings House and Cuddy back to the hospital to try to figure out how they can work together in their new context. The illness in question for this episode provides one of the more wrenching emotional situations seen this year.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Unwritten[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Massage Therapy[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Unplanned Parenthood[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]This disc also contains: [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine [/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030]– As seen in the prior season sets, this U-Control function is a series of PIP clips that discuss whatever illness, symptoms and medication the doctors are discussing in the scene at hand. It’s actually pretty clinical information, and not as light as the title might lead you to think.[/COLOR]





[COLOR= #303030]DISC TWO:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Episodes:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Office Politics[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – Amber Tamblyn’s character, Martha Masters, is brought onto House’s team as they try to diagnose what illness is killing a right wing campaign manager. [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Pox on Our House[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – The team struggles to figure out if a girl and her father are suffering from a strain of smallpox while the CDC locks them out of the situation.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Small Sacrifices[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Larger Than Life[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – The team tries to diagnose what’s wrong with a man who jumped onto subway tracks to save a stranger from being run over. This episode also features the first appearance by Candice Bergen as Cuddy’s abrasive mother.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]This disc also contains:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Meet Martha Masters[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030](1080p, 7:06) – This brief featurette covers the introduction of Amber Tamblyn and her character to the series. Tamblyn and the rest of the cast are interviewed, and the appropriate clips from various episodes and behind the scenes video are included.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Huddy Dissected[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030](1080p, 8:33) – This brief featurette covers the new wrinkle in House and Cuddy’s relationship this season.[/COLOR]





[COLOR= #303030]DISC THREE:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Episodes:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Carrot or Stick[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Family Practice[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]You Must Remember This[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Two Stories[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Recession Proof[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The disc also contains:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine [/COLOR]





[COLOR= #303030]DISC FOUR:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Episodes:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Bombshells[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030], with commentary by executive producer/director Greg Yaitanes and Lisa Edelstein. This is one of the most significant episodes of the season, even though the medical cases in question are actually quite routine. It’s the multiple flights of fancy that have the characters playing scenes in various modes of television and cinema that make this episode memorable. [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Out of the Chute[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Fall From Grace[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The Dig[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030], with commentary by writers David Hoselton and Sara Hess. This episode marks the return of Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) to the series, and it’s more of a road show than we normally see here. This is another memorable episode for the series.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]This disc also contains:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine [/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Anatomy of an Episode: “Bombshells”[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] (1080p, 23:21) - This is a longer featurette, covering the work done on the various dream sequences for this episode. The cast, writers, and director Greg Yaitanes are interviewed on the set as things unfold. Particular attention is paid to the musical number, which was actually directed by a choreographer who created her own inset movie with the cast.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Thirteen Returns[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] (1080p, 4:45) – This quick featurette focuses on the return of Olivia Wilde to the series, with particular attention to “The Dig” and the emotional revelations contained therein.[/COLOR]




[COLOR= #303030]DISC FIVE:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Episodes:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Last Temptation[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030] – Amber Tamblyn completes her run on the series with this episode, wherein her character’s moral compass is put to an extreme test.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Changes[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The Fix[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]After Hours[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Moving On[/COLOR][COLOR= #303030], with a scene-specific commentary by executive producer/creator David Shore and executive producer/director Greg Yaitanes. The season finale, and final appearance by Lisa Edelstein as Cuddy, centers around an action taken by House that will have ramifications into the next season. This doesn’t mean anything particular about Cuddy, by the way – the decision that led to her departure has nothing to do with the plot of this episode. The finale is framed in a similar manner to last season’s “Help Me”, but it doesn’t have as strong of a backbone running underneath it. The commentary has a fairly quiet tone, particularly when compared to the one on “Help Me”, and was recorded just after Shore and Yaitanes found out that Lisa Edelstein was no longer on the series. Yaitanes notes that the original script for the episode was much more linear, but that he pushed for the framing device we see on the aired version of the episode.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]The disc also contains:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]A Beginner’s Guide to Diagnostic Medicine [/COLOR]





[COLOR= #303030]Subtitles are available in English and Spanish for the episodes and for the special features. As with the prior season sets, standard chapter menus are not exactly included here – instead, each episode is itself a chapter. There are four chapters within each episode, but they are not itemized in a menu – which means you may have to hunt through an episode if you stop the disc and restart it later. Personally, I find this kind of thing a bit annoying, but other viewers may be fine with it. The usual Blu-ray pop-up menus work fine. Regarding the packaging, there’s a another really odd setup here that did not make me a fan. Last year, we had a strange arrangement where you had to pull one bit of plastic down to get the double-stacked discs out. This year, the discs are just double stacked onto the holder, which means it’s a lot more likely the top discs may become scratched. I continue to not understand how the packaging is always a headscratcher.[/COLOR]




[COLOR= #303030]IN THE END…[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]House, M.D. Season Seven[/COLOR] [COLOR= #303030]provides a nice batch of episodes to bring series fans up to date on their collections. The show is beginning to run longer in the tooth, but there are still gems here that make the journey interesting. The high definition picture and sound transfers, coupled with the three commentaries make this an easy package to recommend for fans to purchase. More casual viewers will likely want to start their journey with an earlier season.[/COLOR]




[COLOR= #303030]Kevin Koster[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]September 10, 2011.[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:[/COLOR]



[COLOR= #303030]Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)[/COLOR]


[COLOR= #303030]Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer [/COLOR]
 

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