PRIVATE PRACTICE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Kate Walsh as ADDISON MONTGOMERY
Tim Daly as PETE WILDER
Audra McDonald as NAOMI BENNETTT
Taye Diggs as SAM BENNETT
Amy Brenneman as VIOLET TURNER
Paul Adelstein as COOPER FREEDMAN
KaDee Strickland as CHARLOTTE KING
Chris Lowell as DELL PARKER
Studio: ABC Studios
BY KEVIN CARR
Even though I think that “Grey’s Anatomy” has been going downhill fast over the past two seasons, I will admit that Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh) was my favorite character on that show. You’d think because of this that I would jump up when she was given her own show.
Not true. What made her character so good was that she was smart, sexy and had things together more than everyone else on that show. Against the cavalcade of neurotic, dangerous folk in Seattle Grace Hospital, Addison shined. However, bring her down to L.A. and focus on all of her neuroses, and you ruin the character.
I still like Kate Walsh. I just don’t like seeing the character reduced to a giggling schoolgirl around Tim Daly.
“Private Practice” is a spin-off of “Grey’s Anatomy” that follows Addison to L.A. to start a new life. Instead of working in a high-powered, high-stress hospital, she gets a job at Oceanside Medical, an elite private practice that caters to yuppies and other wealthy idiots.
Along with the new practice comes the new cast. Tim Daly plays her main love interest, making him a handsome and educated devil but one that is utterly boring for being so nice. Naomi and Sam Bennett (Audra McDonald and Taye Diggs) are recently divorced but still working together. Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman) is the psychologist who has her own closet full of baggage and Cooper (Paul Adelstein) is the sexaholic pediatrician with a heart of gold.
What “Private Practice” attempts to do is be another “Grey’s Anatomy,” only without the high-intensity emergency room drama. It’s still a medical drama, and we’re faced with medical challenges every week. However, these problems come to the doctors rather passively, and a lot of the tension and excitement is lost. We’re left with a group of neurotic individuals in the 30s and 40s who simply can’t handle the realities of life.
Bonus features for this short 10-episode season on DVD include a pretty interesting an in-depth documentary about Kate Walsh, a behind-the-scenes featurette, two extended episodes, deleted scenes, outtakes and limited commentaries.
If you’re wrapped up in the soap opera aspect of “Grey’s Anatomy,” you’ll find more of the same in “Private Practice.” However, without the hard-hitting and gritty medical drama sidestories, it is nothing more than a soap opera.