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Series Created by Shonda Rhimes
Starring: Taye Diggs, Kate Walsh, Audra McDonald, Tim Daly

First things first: I am not a fan of Grey’s Anatomy. So, would I care about the spin off series, Private Practice? Private Practice: The Complete First Season was recently released on DVD by Buena Vista Home Video.

The Season

Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) leaves “Grey’s Anatomy behind and heads to Santa Monica, California to work at the Oceanside Wellness Center as an OB/GYN. If she thinks that she is leaving drama behind, she is just changing the scenery.

Upon arriving there, she discovers that life long friends and now, ex-husband and wife Dr. Naomi Bennett, the clinic’s fertility specialist (Audra Mc Donald) and Dr. Sam Bennett, the resident internist (Taye Diggs) are only connect professionally now and have divorced. So, things could get a bit tense right away for Addison.

Add into the clinic’s personality mix Dr. Cooper Freedman (Paul Adlestein). He is a pediatrician by day but at night, he likes to peruse the internets for women to date and likes the kinkier side of life. While, Dr. Pete Wilder (Tim Daly) is a completely different type of doctor than what Addison is used to working along side. Wilder has a medical degree, but chooses as his line of work holistic treatments and acupuncture.

Rounding out the clinic’s staff is Dr. Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), the psychiatrist and the receptionist that is training to be a midwife and is a surfer as well (Chris Lowell).

So, faithful readers, you can easily see the set ups for lots of hooking up, melodrama, tears, laughter and more. Cooper and Violet flirt, the receptionist makes a joke, then Dr. Wilder and Dr. Montgomery flirt, maybe a couple of the doctors disagree, then a patient comes in with a case that touches everyone’s heart or through a difficult situation, the doctors reconnect with what made them want to care for humanity in the beginning.

There must be a lot of downtime in the practice because they have a lot of time to hang out in coffeehouses, stores and cafĂ©’s. It is a good thing that the people of Santa Monica have such robust immune systems and overall good health because if they were sicklier, there wouldn’t be so much time for these doctors to be so self absorbed and so socially busy.

There were only 9 episodes for the first season. In my opinion, that is more than enough.

Overall, while the cast is likable enough, Private Practice just isn’t my type of show. I am not into the soap opera aspect of this show and it’s predecessor Grey’s Anatomy.

I just don’t care for melodramatic story lines that you would find in a daytime soap presented in a hospital/medical setting and on after the sun sets at night. But, I know I am in the majority as this show, E.R, and Grey’s Anatomy do not lack for viewers at night.

So, if you like this sort of thing, you are going to enjoy it. For me, it didn’t change my mind.


The Video

Private Practice: The Complete First Season is presented in widescreen. The colors are vibrant and the level of detail is impressive. Typical of of standard def TV transfers there is some grain but it never gets overly annoying.


The Audio

Private Practice: The Complete First Season is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The dialogue is crystal clear and mixed well with the soundtrack. This is a “talkie” so even with that top end THX mix there wouldn’t be much to hear other than people talking. There are optional French and Spanish subtitles.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

Private Practice: The Complete First Season is presented in a slim amaray cases inclosed in a cardboard slipcover.

Some nice bonus features await your discovery on this release. Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect chronicles the early years of this actor and her struggles to make it in the business. Alternative Ensemble explores the casting of the show and why Private Practice is as special to the cast as it is.

There are also blooper reels, commentaries and six deleted scenes. With the commentaries, every one from the show’s creator Shonda Rhimes, to the cast to producers are brought in to discuss the minutia of the show.

Rounding out the bonus features offered is a full color fold out map of Santa Monica and the locations that the characters frequent.

Again, I am not a big fan of the show. But, if this type of show is your cup of tea, you are going to love this bonus features.


Overall ( Not an Average) 5/10

The Review
The Series 4/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10