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Is there a doctor in the 'House'?

Fans of Fox's incredibly hot drama "House" should be relieved after seeing last night's episode. It was absorbing and crazy all at once - just what you'd expect from the show starring Hugh Laurie.

Well, expect might be a bit too hopeful, because by the end of last season, the once cutting-edge "House" had become formulaic, and dare I say it, predictable.

The formula went something like this: Dr. Gregory House and crew have no idea what's wrong with the patient. They run lots of tests and pump lots of medicines with unintelligible names into patient. Patient gets sicker. House gets grouchier. More tests and meds are ordered. Patient starts bleeding from the eyes or ears or has a cardiac episode. More tests, more meds. Patient is on the brink of death when House solves the medical mystery. Patient lives (usually), though House doesn't seem to care. His rush comes from solving the mystery and tossing more painlkillers down his throat.

That formula worked for two seasons, but by the end of season three, it got dull. Lucky for us,  someone on the show must have realized it.

So far this season looks like its got the old spark back. I mean that literally as well as figuratively, since in last night's episode, House stuck a knife into an electrical socket because he wanted a near-death experience. (He doesn't believe there's anything after death, remember?)

There are new doctors this season and no limit on the ways House tortures them. But while House the character is pushing the envelope even farther, Hugh Laurie the actor is having his many talents challenged in new ways.

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point this season House's old team reunites (what is up with Dr. Cameron's blond hair?), but until then, I hope the writers keep giving us stories that are new and unexpected. (Did you catch the green blood in last night's story?)

Unexpected and messy are what attracted me to House in the first place. And they are what will keep me loyal.

-- Susan LoTempio


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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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