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Doogie Howser, MD: Season One (May 14/05)

Given that Doogie Howser, MD marked the first and only time power producers David E. Kelley and Steven Bochco have teamed up to create a series, it's not terribly surprising that the show has since gone on to become a minor classic. Following the exploits of a teenaged doctor, Doogie Howser, MD somehow manages to blend an ER-type medical show with a Degrassi Junior High-type coming-of-age drama.

Of course, the series would have failed instantly if it weren't for the impressive and consistently engaging lead performance from Neil Patrick Harris. As the title character, a brilliant teenager who became a doctor before he could even drive, Harris does a nice job of blending Doogie's obvious intelligence with the sort of bewilderment one expects from a teen, something that's obvious right from the very first episode (while in the midst of his driving test, Doogie is forced to pull over and help a random bystander).

Similarly, the show is packed with supporting characters that feel authentic - from Doogie's wise-cracking best pal Vinnie Delpino (Max Casella) to his stern yet compassionate father (played by James Sikking). The most notable figure in Doogie's life, though, is his girlfriend Wanda (Lisa Dean Ryan). Their relationship figures fairly prominently in the show's first season, and there's even an entire episode in which the pair are pressured to sleep together.

Though the emphasis generally remains on Doogie and his personal life, the series also features at least one intriguing medical case per episode - ensuring that fans who aren't terribly interested in Doogie's various relationships will still have something worth tuning in for.

 

About the DVD: Doogie Howser, MD arrives on DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment, with all 26-episodes from the show's first season included. Bonus features are limited to separate interviews with Bochco and Harris (both run around 16-minutes) and an 8-page journal with liner notes.
© David Nusair