DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Doogie Howser, M.D. - Season Three
Doogie Howser, M.D. - Season Three
Starz / Anchor Bay // Unrated // January 17, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Eric D. Snider | posted January 7, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
THE MOVIE

The late '80s and early '90s were a time for TV teenagers to lose their virginity on Very Special Episodes, but not "Doogie Howser, M.D." No sir, when the Doog lost it in the first episode of the third season, it was without fanfare or preachifying, and Doogie concluded it had been a wise decision. Not coincidentally, I'm sure, Doogie had also just turned 18, making his decision to sleep with Wanda a far less controversial one.

Season 3, from 1991-92, arrives on DVD feeling only as dated as its cheesy-synthesized opening theme and its too-feathery hairstyles. As far as the content goes, it feels as fresh as it did then ... which is to say, probably not that fresh at all.

The 30-minute dramedy about a child prodigy who becomes a doctor at age 16 didn't deal with timely issues or "ripped-from-the-headline" plot devices. Instead, the plots were simple and time-worn, and Season 3 is no exception. Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris) and his best friend Vinnie (Max Casella) get an apartment together then decide they miss home. Doogie disappointed Vinnie by telling him he'll never get any taller. Doogie gets a job at a fast food place just to prove he can do it. Lucy and Ethel could well have handled all of these.

But there are more serious turns, too, or at least some stories that feel a little more important. In the season premiere, Doogie deals once again with his struggle to balance his personal life with his job. Later, he treats a boy who might die if he doesn't get a bone marrow transplant. The show continued this year to mix low-impact comedy with semi-weighty storylines -- 30 minutes of not-too-serious drama combined with not-too-funny comedy, perfect for watching late in the evening when you want to be careful not to upset your digestion.

With Wanda off to college in Chicago this season, Doogie is free to date more widely than he did before, and a few episodes focus on that. In fact, Doogie's doctor duties sometimes take a backseat to other, more general storylines, a move that is questionable at best. If he's not a child prodigy and a brilliant physician, then Doogie is just another baby-faced 18-year-old, and his problems aren't noteworthy. Some shows do fine when they move away from their "gimmick" into more general territory, but "Doogie Howser, M.C." was not one of them.

Luckily, most of the episodes in this season stay on track, focusing on Doogie's work, his genius and his unusual home situation. (His parents are supportive and proud, yet still treat the boy wonder like a regular kid his age.) It is not a brilliant show, either in the comedy or the drama department, but it's a pleasant one. At least it's honest enough to admit what few "serious" shows did at that time: that the only thing teenage boys care about is sex.

THE DVD

All 24 episodes from the 1991-92 season are here on four discs, six episodes per disc. The set includes two thin DVD cases, each case holding two discs. On the back of each case is a list of the episodes on that case's discs, along with plot summaries. (Would it kill them to include original airdates too? I'm just sayin'.)

Annoyingly, there is only one chapter break in each episode, and it's right after the opening credits -- a useful spot for skipping the credit sequence, but not for much else. To find a spot within the episode itself, you have to fast-forward.

VIDEO: The footage only dates from the early '90s -- not quite the digital age yet, but getting there. The transfer to DVD is respectable. The picture has been cleaned up a bit, so the show looks slightly better than it would on Nick at Nite.

AUDIO: A very basic Dolby 2.0. Nothing special, but it's good enough for our purposes..

EXTRAS: As bare-bones, minimal-features sets go, this one is OK.

There are two featurettes. One is "Growing up on the Set," a 12-minute interview with the now-adult Neil Patrick Harris, who talks about the problems of being a child actor. He was the same age as Doogie -- 16 in Season 1, 19 in Season 4 -- and had to adhere to child-labor laws, not to mention the horrors of going through puberty in front of America. (He confirms what was obvious to viewers: He didn't reach even the beginnings of adolescence until he was 15, and he grew about four inches in height between Season 2 and 3.)

It's an enlightening and amusing segment, particularly when Harris talks about the finer points of following (and evading) the child-labor laws, and the accommodations that had to be made for his minor status.

The other featurette is "The Other Dr. Howser," in which James Sikking spends nine minutes reflecting on his role as Doogie Howser's dad. He talks a lot about his relationship with Neil Patrick Harris, and he covers some of the same territory as Harris (i.e., the challenge of filming with stand-ins for Doogie while Harris was with his law-mandated tutor). He speaks fondly of his time on the show, and seems to be sincere about it. Together, they're two nice little features for fans of the show (though deleted scenes would have been nice too, you know?).

IN SUMMARY

The show was never brilliant or particularly compelling, but it was (and is) friendly. Anchor Bay's DVD sets are handsome and compact, and while many shows get away with DVD sets with NO extras, it was nice of these folks do put together a little something. It's recommendable.

Popular Reviews
1. Barry Lyndon
2. My Neighbor Totoro (GKIDS Release)
3. The Beguiled
4. The Ghoul
5. Rawhead Rex
6. Children Of The Corn
7. Dreamgirls: Director's Extended Edition
8. Avanti!
9. The Old Dark House
10. Junior Bonner


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2017 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use