'House' is like a breath of fresh air to television screens. It's an intelligent show complete with solid, interesting characters in a sea of bland, predictable and repetitive shows that bombard the airwaves. The show revolves around diagnostician Doctor Gregory House, a bitter and antisocial cynic whose heightened intelligence leaves him with little patience for most people around him. On the surface, he has little interest in patients and instead it is solving the puzzle of their ailment that draws him in but we see many subtle instances which prove he does have a heart for both his patients and his friends. Reeling him in are his best friend Doctor James Wilson, who sees House as fulfilling his need to be needed, and his boss Doctor Lisa Cuddy, one of the few who can give House as good as he dishes out in terms of insults. Training under House as his fellows are Robert Chase, Allison Cameron and Eric Foreman, who all realise what a trial their job (or rather, their boss) can be at times.
Hugh Laurie, in the title role of House, is absolutely perfect. He is able to depict House's startlingly genius IQ that is intertwined with his childishness and sullenness, which, in turn, hide the fact he does care for his patients and those close to him. As such, he turns what could have been an detestable character into one the audience can like. Robert Sean Leonard also delivers a strong performance as Wilson in a manner that shows the character's kindly yet, at times, manipulative nature. The chemistry between Laurie and Leonard is excellent, which is essential in portraying the complex friendship between House and Wilson. Lisa Edelstein, as Cuddy, excels in playing the school marm to the eight-year-old boy House can be without comprising the deeper attributes of the character. Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer and Omar Epps, as House's three fellows, also shine through in displaying the individual traits of their characters and how each interact differently with House.
One of the first things that drew me into the show was the sarcastic humour. Almost everything that comes out of House is humorous, even if it does make the person he is speaking to cry! House is a true anti-hero, inherently a good guy but is willing to do whatever it takes to solve his puzzle regardless of patients' views and colleagues' opinions. The character probably has also done more for disability awareness (House walks with a limp and is in chronic pain after suffering an infarction to his right thigh) than any PC government campaign. Here we have a show that isn't afraid to depict a disabled person acting like an arrogant oaf at times instead of being as some sort of glowing hero and example to us all, as most shows enjoy doing when portraying a character with disabilities.
The show is more like a detective drama along the lines of 'Law and Order' with medicine as opposed to a purely medical show like 'ER'. As such, there is more time dedicated to development of the characters as they go about trying to cure their patient. Everything is portrayed in a darker adult manner and there isn't too much focus on romance (which can ruin a show). Story lines are meaningful and involving, with no softly option taken in showing the realities of life and death. That said, the medical aspects on the show are almost always realistic.
'House' is a highly recommended show for those looking for something put together with intelligence and adult characters who act like adults instead of over-grown adolescent children in high school. Long may it continue!