“House” is developing sort of a good/bad habit that isn’t particularly conducive to its ratings health.

House-ep701-TwentyVicodin_Sc13_0193[1] The season premieres — when the show has a chance to really work on them — are splendid. Then almost out of necessity, the program settles back into its procedural pattern, allowing viewers like me to drift away until the season ends, and (even better) the next one begins.

An earlier interlude in a mental asylum, guest starring Andre Braugher, was certainly memorable, as is the show’s Oct. 3 return — leading into the second episode of “Terra Nova” — that finds Hugh Laurie’s title character in prison, dealing with the fallout of his imprudent actions in last spring’s closing installments.

House-ep801-20Vicodin_Sc28_0229[1] The episode does a little bit of double duty, introducing Odette Annable as a new addition to the cast. The main thrust, however, is showcasing House using his wits to survive in this threatening new environment, where — in a slightly ironic twist — gaining access to pills could be the secret to saving his life.

Yet as much as I enjoyed this hour and continue to admire Laurie’s performance, I don’t feel much of an incentive to revisit the series anytime soon. It’s not that I don’t like the Sherlock Holmes routine in a medical setting; it’s just that with so many other programs to catch, “House” feels like a nice place to visit, but not an episodic necessity.

What I’m saying, I guess, is that was a fine open, “House.” See you next year.