Goodbye House

“House” is entering its eighth season on FOX in the United States this fall, or more specifically, starting tomorrow with its season premiere. This year, Greg House starts out in prison, ostensibly for running his car through his former girlfriend (and former boss)’s living room wall.

I remember when I first saw the show. As a movie and television aficionado (okay, geek), I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly. In early fall 2004, I got a disc with my weekly copy, popped it into the DVD player and lo and behold: the pilot episode of House. Though I’ve never been a big fan of procedurals, I got right away that this was a medical take on Sherlock Holmes (House/Holmes – Wilson/Watson) and I loved the fact that we had a super-flawed character as a lead.

House was pretty solid for a few years, but after a while it started to forget that its strength came from the weekly medical mysteries, rather than the continuing saga of who is sleeping with who (or to put it another way: House was best when it was Law and Order, not Desperate Housewives). Over the years, its writers have forgotten about this, and House has become a pissed off caricature of himself while the solid supporting cast (Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde and others) have faded away into the single dimension.

After watching this year’s trailers, it seems that little has changed. House will be pissed off, have his “aha” moment and solve some random medical mystery that he just happened to be there for in prison.

This show hasn’t just seen better days; it’s gone from being fresh and raw to something that’s just old, tired and vaguely depressing. Maybe I’ll catch some of the reruns on USA.