Tuesday, November 01, 2005

TV: My Tuesday night quandary has been resolved

Tuesdays aren't as packed as Thursdays, TV-wise, but there has been a frustrating logjam at 8PM: My Name Is Earl and The Office on NBC, Commander in Chief on ABC, and House on Fox. So far this season, I've been watching NBC and ABC, and forsaking Fox, though I've liked the few episodes of House I've seen.

Then I rented the first disc of the first season DVD set of House, and watched the first five (of eight! Four on one side of the disc, four on the reverse) episodes.

Commander in Chief is outta here!

It wasn't even close, frankly. I just needed a solid block of Hugh Laurie's magnificently cantankerous M.D. to realize that House was by far the superior program.

It can be formulaic to the extreme:

1) Patient is admitted
2) House doesn't care
3) Patient exhibits unusual symptom
4) House gets curious
5) House and team brainstorm possible causes and remedies; House is a total dick to them
6) Remedy is chosen
7) Remedy almost kills patient
8) House and his team re-brainstorm; House is a total dick to them
9) Cuddy accuses House of reckless medicine, forgetting the previous 8,000 times he has eventually proven to be right
10) House is a total dick to Cuddy
11) New, radical remedy is chosen
12) See 7
13) House finally meets patient; House is a total dick to them
14) House makes breakthrough, 50% of the time aided by something suggested by a patient during clinic hours, 50% of the time aided by illegal activity
15) Patient gets better
16) House smugly watches General Hospital
17) Lisa Edelstein is hot

Note: 17) applies to any portion of the show.

It's formulaic, but it's carried with ease by a wonderful cast, and superior writing. Laurie is of course the anchor, and he's brilliant, but his supporting cast manages to keep up with him, from the lovely Edelstein, to Omar Epps, to the impossibly beautiful Jennifer Morrison as Dr. Cameron, to, yes, even pretty-boy blond doctor whose name I can't be bothered to look up, even though I've got the IMDb page open in another window.

By contrast, Commander in Chief has decent-to-great acting, some uneven but often very good writing, future sidebar Object of My Affection Ever Carradine... but it just can't match up with House. (Hell, House even featured Ms. Carradine as a new mother in episode #4.) I'll miss Commander in Chief, but not as much as I would miss House.

I skipped most of House's first season due to scheduling conflicts. This season, House has been promoted to the priority show.

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