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Monroe Series 1 on DVD tomorrow

Monroe poster

Written by : published Monday 28th May 2012

Already missing FOX's House? Well, then I have the series for you! Monroe, a British show about a genius, flawed, ego-driven neurosurgeon who goes by the same name as the series, comes to DVD in the United States tomorrow. Six episodes long, a second series has already been commissioned.

Monroe (James Nesbitt, Murphy's Law, Cold Feet) is a complex character. He is described by ITV as "a brilliant and unusual neurosurgeon – a flawed genius who never lets anyone forget his flaws or his genius." It's an accurate description. The man who works on brains is awfully proud of his own, but that doesn't mean that he completely understands it. He clashes with others constantly, not one to abide by the rules everyone else must follow, and has a very hard time being a good father and husband. Surely, someone as smart as Monroe realizes personal relationships are just as important as the work that he does.

Nesbitt brings a fantastic, nuanced talent to the part. In the title role, he really captures what it is that makes the lead character tick, even if it isn't always obvious to himself. A show like Monroe needs a strong actor to head it, and this one has such a man in spades. If nothing else, watch Monroe for the great performance given by Nesbitt.

Humorous and dramatic, with a fair amount of warmth as well, Monroe ventures deeper into the personal lives of those involved than most medical shows. It's clear that a career in such a demanding, competitive field would have an effect at home, as well as at work. Now, we get to see those consequences.

Susan Lynch (From Hell, Bodies) plays Monroe's wife, Anna, while Perry Millward (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) is son Nick. These two really help give a more rounded view of the doctor, showcasing what life is like for his loved ones. Unlike House, whom Monroe will be endlessly compared to, Monroe isn't a loner, exactly. He has a family. Just what kind of family man will someone like this be? Not a good one, of course, but you'll have to watch the DVD to find out the specifics!

Monroe is also surrounded by a slew of others at the hospital, too, played by some very talented actors. Of particular note is Dr. Jenny Bremner (Sarah Parish, Hatfields & McCoys, Mistresses), a heart surgeon that is a frequent subject of discord with Monroe. Not that Bremner has it all together, either. Dr. Daniel Springer (Luke Allen-Gale, The Promise) is a wonderful source of laughs, especially when battling theater nurses or losing patients, literally. Tom Riley (I Want Candy, Lost in Austen), Manjinder Virk (The Arbor), Christina Chong (Johnny English Reborn), Thomas Morrison (Brideshead Revisited), Michelle Asante (London Boulevard), and Liz Hume Dawson (4 O'Clock Club) fill out the cast, each appearing in all six episodes.

Of course, with any doctor, there are going to be patients. It won't be hard to guess that Monroe isn't exactly an easy communicator with the people who need his help. Each episode brings various guest stars across his path, with differing results. Monroe isn't heartless, but he isn't in tune with feelings, either. So the result is a complex interaction, which makes for better entertainment, and feels more realistic. The lead character is not a stereotype, but rather, a great character study of a specific type of man.

Monroe Series 1 is presented on two discs, in 16:9 widescreen ratio, with stereo sound. Considering that the show aired just last year, it's a shame that there isn't more done to pump up the visual and auditory aspects of the series. Is this the way it aired in Britain? If so, it's regrettable. There are also no bonus features, which is a real shame. It's lucky that the episodes are good and not readily available any other way in the States, because that is all the DVD has to go on. Perhaps this isn't unusual for our friends across the pond, but for an American buyer, this release feels stripped down and empty.

Still, as I said, the show is good, so check it out. Monroe Series 1 goes on sale tomorrow from Acorn Media.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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