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Last month, Netflix made the complete series of House, M.D. available for your viewing pleasure. So if you were caught up in a really good book between 2004 and 2012 or saw the title and thought this was some sort of DIY home improvement show, now's the chance for you to retroactively find out what the fuss was about, as you stream the adventures of a cranky doctor who solves a nearly unending stream of complicated medical mysteries.
What it's about
Essentially, the show is what would happen if Sherlock Holmes had gone to medical school. By the principle of "things that sound sort of similar are the same thing," Holmes becomes House, and Watson becomes his buddy Wilson. Instead of an inexplicable murder, there will be a patient with inexplicable symptoms, so House can try out a succession of unlikely theories until he solves the case at the last second. This is often accompanied by a thoughtful look, which is meant to indicate that House has done it again, by Jove!
Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a brilliant diagnostician who's also a huge jerk. He eats Vicodin constantly because of a leg injury and also to provide an excuse for some of his more unacceptable behavior. He has a team of minions he berates, and a boss who also gets berated. His best friend is Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), who doesn't get berated quite as much as everyone else. His minions change over the course of the series (because eight years is a long time), but they're all reliably intelligent, though never quite as intelligent as House.
What makes it interesting
It's fun to see the parade of unlikely diseases that House has to grapple with. But the real draw is Hugh Laurie. Before House, he was mostly known as a comic actor in various British television shows, like Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, and A Bit of Fry and Laurie, frequently appearing with Stephen Fry. But when he was cast as Dr. House, he showed a surprising knack for drama — along with an even more surprising American accent — and got nominated for Emmy Awards for six of the show's eight seasons. As played by Laurie, House can be rude and insulting but still charismatic enough that it's easy to see why the other doctors not only put up with him but actually look up to him.
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