×

House

"House" could well be one of those development stories where the operation is successful but the patient still dies. A well-made medical hour with an intriguing star, the show feels somewhat mismatched with Fox's lineup and instantly stale based on its resemblance to NBC's "Medical Investigation," which was clearly grown in the same Petri dish. Despite a strong creative pedigree, there's also cause for skepticism over whether viewers will bond with an ill-tempered doctor who makes a habit of avoiding patients, unless people are more thrilled with their HMOs than polls indicate.

With:
Dr. Gregory House - Hugh Laurie Dr. Lisa Cuddy - Lisa Edelstein Dr. Taylor Foreman - Omar Epps Dr. James Wilson - Robert Sean Leonard Dr. Allison Cameron - Jennifer Morrison Dr. Robert Chase - Jesse Spencer

“House” could well be one of those development stories where the operation is successful but the patient still dies. A well-made medical hour with an intriguing star, the show feels somewhat mismatched with Fox’s lineup and instantly stale based on its resemblance to NBC’s “Medical Investigation,” which was clearly grown in the same Petri dish. Despite a strong creative pedigree, there’s also cause for skepticism over whether viewers will bond with an ill-tempered doctor who makes a habit of avoiding patients, unless people are more thrilled with their HMOs than polls indicate.

British actor Hugh Laurie plays the title character, a brilliant diagnostician who regularly pops pain killers for his crippled leg (he walks with a cane) and shuns patients. Sure, there’s a caring streak, but it’s buried pretty deep, as House prefers the Sherlock Holmes-like sleuthing to ascertain what ails people to comforting or interacting with them.

Hard on his staff and rude to boss (Lisa Edelstein), House’s turn-ons include watching soap operas and concocting elaborate excuses to avoid the clinic connected to the teaching hospital where you’ll otherwise find him.

“House doesn’t believe in pretense … so he just says what he thinks,” one subordinate explains to a new arrival, well played by Omar Epps.

Still, if House himself, as gruffly embodied by Laurie without a trace of his native accent, is a decidedly un-Marcus Welby-type TV doctor, everything else about the show feels utterly familiar — from the officious boss to the attractive, diverse team House assembles to work under him.

In addition, the premiere finds a schoolteacher (Robin Tunney) falling inexplicably ill, and in standard “CSI” fashion we’re treated to computer-generated journeys up her nose, down her throat and into her brain. About the only thing missing from this “Fantastic Voyage” is Raquel Welch in a spacesuit.

Feature director Bryan Singer brings tight pacing to the two episodes made available, with the second focusing on a young man stricken by an equally mysterious disease after a highly athletic round of sex. Yet despite the solid cast, including Epps and Jennifer Morrison as a doctor House says he hired for her looks, this is pretty by-the-numbers storytelling, albeit in a glossy package.

Given that this medical drama replaces the modestly rated “24” it’s doubtful anyone expects Nielsen miracles, and Simon Cowell has demonstrated that the Fox audience will embrace a snotty and insulting perfectionist Tuesday nights. Nevertheless, the show will likely need a bit of good fortune to hang on until “American Idol” returns in January, providing the kind of buoyant lead-in that could actually make “House’s” timeslot a home.

House

Fox, Tues., Nov. 16, 9 P.M.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Heel and Toe Films and Bad Hat Prods. in association with NBC Universal Television Studio. Executive producers, Paul Attanasio, Katie Jacobs, David Shore, Bryan Singer; producer, Gerrit van der Meer; co-producer, Todd London; director, Singer; writer, Shore.

Crew: Camera, Tom Sigel; editors, Elliot Graham, Ray Daniels, Daria Ellerman; music, Chris Hoag; production designer, Mark Hutman; visual effects supervisor, Jim Lima; casting, Amy Lippens. 60 MIN.

With: Dr. Gregory House - Hugh Laurie Dr. Lisa Cuddy - Lisa Edelstein Dr. Taylor Foreman - Omar Epps Dr. James Wilson - Robert Sean Leonard Dr. Allison Cameron - Jennifer Morrison Dr. Robert Chase - Jesse Spencer

More Film

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content