I feel about the House season premiere much as I did about the Bones season premiere - it was a lot better than where they left off last season. But, also like Bones, there were lingering problems from the season finale that needed to be dealt with. I never bought that House split from reality, had a breakdown, went crazy...however you wish to refer to it. I will accept that he, perhaps, became addicted to narcotic painkillers. (And I really wish in the five years the series has been on the air, during the various times characters were screaming "Addict!", that someone would have mentioned viable alternatives to what he was taking.) I will also accept House was in need of therapy because, yes, he does 'deal' by closing off parts of himself and deflecting and lashing out at others to cause pain when he feels it himself. The guy is a mess and could, with treatment, be a better man without losing his edge as a doctor. But going Haley Joel Osment and seeing dead people, as well as imaging having sex with Cuddy, came out of nowhere and the episode never directly addressed why his imagination ceased running wild. Since the visions went away during detox, I suppose we can assume the drugs were the cause. But the writers never implicitly tied the two and it really wouldn't make sense since House was addicted for years without hallucinating. So, yeah, I still don't feel House belonged in an institution.
Another issue I had was the supporting cast as well as lack of supporting cast. It should be troublesome to the series regulars that they were MIA for two hours and not really missed. But Andre Braugher and Franka Potente were fabulous in their respective roles. I had concerns about each being wasted, but they were given substantial roles and did well with the material they were given. It was also refreshing to finally have a character (Dr. Nolan) challenge House, to do so for House's own good, and, most significantly, to like the person taking House on. As for Franka/Lydia, she had as much chemistry with Hugh/House as any actress ever has on the show and the relationship was, by and large, a mature one. Any juvenile romantic sparring between House and Cuddy is going to seem even more ridiculous now.
Where I became disappointed with the characters was in the final half hour or so. Dr Nolan, of course, has to turn to the brilliant Dr. House to get confirmation that his father is gone. House, of course, sleeps with yet another married woman who chooses her family over him. And one of the patients, of course, is miraculously cured by House or, more precisely, a music box House retrieves. It was all utterly predictable, which has been one of the series biggest problem the past couple of years. And going by the preview for upcoming episodes, all of House's very important life lessons learned will go out the window as soon as he returns to Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital.
I'll stick with the show, which is something I wasn't sure I could do after the end of last season, but I'm still wary of where things will be going or not going.
I have no deep thoughts on this show. It pretty much picked up where it left off, yet it's clear by Kate's hair (I like the new do, but, please hair and makeup, cut back on the hairspray!) and Castle trying to get back in her good graces, time has passed and he pissed her off. I could figure out before it was stated that the wee bit of tension between the two was the result of Castle investigating her mother's murder, but I wish we had seen the conversation that triggered her to insist he no longer work on cases with her..
I continue to wish the dialog was, well, better. It's horribly stilted and cliched at times and while Nathan can seem to do wonders with it, Stana, not so much. I don't hate her in the role, but she and Anna Torv seem to be in competition for female leads lacking sufficient talent and charisma.
Castle's relationship with Alexis still continues to be the high point of this series for me. It's awesome the writers have chosen to depict such a close, loving relationship between a father and daughter and doing so without making the relationship overly wacky or schmaltzy.