Review: House 5×1

House and Wilson

In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox

He’s back: BritainAmerica’s grumpiest doctor. And he’s over-staffed. What’s going to happen?

For anyone worried that the new season of House was going to be different, don’t worry – it’s just the same as before. For anyone worried that the new season of House was going to be the same, don’t worry – it’s different from before.

Because everyone’s back: Cameron, Chase, House, Wilson, Foreman, Cuddy, and, erm, 13, Kumar and short guy. Starting to look a little crowded now, isn’t it?

So that’s where we start: who’s gotta go, what are the results of last season’s final episodes, and how are we going to fit everybody into the stories, particularly since we spent last season wondering where our favourites had got to and why they’d been displaced by the new crowd?

No spoilers, of course, but at least one member of the House fraternity is annoyed with House and is thinking it’s time to move on – which is what normally happens, of course. Meanwhile, the writers are (pleasingly) doing their level best to give just about everyone (except short guy) something to do. Chase is there being an arse; Cameron’s there caring; Cuddy’s trying to come up with ways to fox House; and Foreman’s just sort of sitting there, trying to be sage-like but failing.

Mostly, though, everyone appears to be a bit closer to House on the intellect level this season, and satisfying useful plot functions, which is satisfying after years of House trampling on everyone. There’s a bit of fleshing out of 13 and Wilson and the season appears to be heading in the direction of “Just how toxic is House and what does he actually want and need?” And at least we avoid one of House’s epiphanies this time round.

But if you’re expecting a massive change in direction, prepare to be disappointed – equally, if you were getting a bit tired of the formula, prepare to be disappointed. If you’ve never seen it, it’s probably a bit involved for you to jump in right now, but not so massively involved you couldn’t pick things up if you really wanted to.

Here’s a YouTube promo:

  • I love House but I actually feel asleep watching the season 5 premiere. Not least because I find Wilson’s level of grieving over someone he dated for a couple of weeks annoyingly exaggerated (though I know it’s not the writer’s fault after the strike cut the season to 2/3 length, it’s still irritating).
    And 13, Short Guy and Kumar just aren’t as interesting as Chase, Foreman and Cameron.
    Jury’s out, but this could be the year that House stops being must-watch TV round our way.

  • AndyB

    I think House is running into what I always think of as the ‘Moonlighting issue’ – do they dare actually have some real character development, and run the risk of ruining the very thing that made the show so successful, or do they stick to the same old schtick and run the risk of the long-term audience getting tired of nothing ever actually being resolved?

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