Monday, July 27, 2009

'House' Season 6 Promo: A New Direction?

During the All-Star Game, Fox ran a provocative promo for the House's sixth season premiere in September.

When we left off last season, Dr. Greg House had been committed to a mental institution. From the looks of this preview, he's still in there when the season begins. "What happens when the doctor becomes the patient," the ad asks. This only begs questions: Will the new season be re-booted and no longer be an explicit, diagnose-the-mystery-disease-of-the-week? How long will it feature an institutionalized House? What would that kind of a show look like and would people still want to watch it?

Despite the formulaic way in which House episodes typically unfold -- patient with a weird/rare case comes in, House & Crew try a treatment, it doesn't work, they learn something about the patient/patient's family, they try something else, it doesn't work but in the nick of time, they (usually House) figure it out and the patient (nine times out of 10) survives -- I've been drawn to the complex characters, not the cases. Having a show built around a caustic medical genius who maintains a friendship with a nice, doormattish kind of guy, supported by a cast of people who love/hate the main character, is the makings of good drama. What happens when you put that central character in an asylum?

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