"Like The Office, House, M.D., has been running for eight seasons now. And, like The Office, House, M.D. ceased being relevant and excellent sometime around the end of season three. Despite the perfect—simply perfect—performance of Hugh Laurie as the Sherlock Holmes stand-in Dr. House, a crabby medical genius, House ran out of steam long ago. The problem? House essentially begins every series introducing a series of changes and plot shake-ups, only to close every season returning to the exact same status quo the showrunners seem to believe the audience demands. No matter what happens (House falling in love, House falling out of love, House losing his team, House regaining his team, House trying to change, House refusing to change, etc), the show’s writers force the show to always return to where it started, always hitting the reset button rather than allowing the show to evolve and grow. The final result? House grew stagnant sometime around season three or four, and the past four years have been nothing but replicating the model established by the first four seasons. For a show about a genius, House, M.D. sure seems dedicated to mediocrity."
The author nailed this one almost perfectly! That's what fans have been complaining about most--that House tries to change, gets an opportunity to grow just a little, and then by the next season it's all for nothing, he's right back where he started. Who wants to continue watching a show that essentially hits the reboot button at the beginning of each new season? We know House is a sarcastic, misanthropic son of a bitch but for crap's sake, let's see some growth in character here. We want to see him move forward. I've thought all along that the writers got lazy as time went on. It's so much easier to write House going downhill and getting back into his old habits than writing a tough, challenging storyline about him struggling to change and actually doing it. We know from interviews that Hugh likes a challenge in his role as House and he likes crossing the line and pushing boundaries (after all that's what separates good actors from great actors) but even as an EP for the show he's not the decision-maker. He's made it very clear that his job is to give us the "how" while TPTB give us the "what" so I don't blame him for this at all, Hugh's not the one plotting the direction of the show.
The only thing I disagree with the author on is his view that the show ran out of steam end of Season 3. I loved House having to audition the new team in Season 4, loved the increased banter and games between House and Cuddy and thought the season finale was amazing. I also enjoyed Season 5 and how House began going downhill due to so many things happening in his life. Losing Wilson's friendship, getting it back, House's father dying, finding out for sure that John House was not his biological dad, being taken hostage, acknowledging his feelings for Cuddy, the kiss, Cuddy adopting Rachel, Kutner's suicide...all these things led to the increased use of Vicodin to numb both his physical and emotional pain, which eventually led to the hallucinations that nearly killed Chase, nearly killed a few of House's and wound up with him in a mental institution. I loved Season 6 with House trying to really change. I liked it except for two things: the Lucas-Cuddy arc (I still can't find anyone who liked that arc) and the episode "Black Hole" in which the team used this imaging machine to show actual images of what the patient was thinking. That ep was too sci-fi and unbelievable for me.
Season 7 could have been great, it had some funny and interesting episodes early on but then the TPTB turned Cuddy into a whining bitch instead of the strong woman we've known her to be for years, not to mention during the entire season we saw relationship at the forefront instead of in the background second to the medical mysteries. Longtime fans, even those who were interested in the evolution of a House and Cuddy relationship, knew that having the relationship take center stage in every episode was a recipe for disaster. And finally, the finale, was just so incredibly unbelievable, fans are still shocked and pissed off over it. TPTB had a great thing with House and Cuddy, even when they were just colleagues, and eventually it was ruined for the sake of the "Kaboom!" factor as Greg Yaitanes likes to call it.
I'll venture to guess the majority of fans still watching House are likely doing so because they love watching Hugh Laurie. Sure, there are probably many fans so attached to the show they will watch regardless, but I would go so far to say the majority are loyal because of Hugh. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that, after all the man is simply brilliant. However, one man should not have to carry an entire show.