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Poll: Vote for the Best of House, M.D.

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Well, the bad news is that the House, M.D. winter hiatus will be longer than originally planned (blame network programming). No new episodes until January 25! Two months is a long time for a show to go on break, but I will try to help you all (and myself) fill the time with some special pieces, a couple of “revisited” reviews and a poll or two. So, sit back, relax, grab a cup of egg nog or a latke (preferably homemade) and let’s talk House.

First a little news: I hear tell that Hugh Laurie is slated to direct episode 17, which will air March 22. This is great news because he knows the show and characters as well as anyone. He’s directed before back home in the U.K. (Fortysomething and commercials) and it will be interesting to see House through his eyes.

There are lots of other rumors flying around the Internet about upcoming storylines, which I won’t comment upon here, as this is a spoilerphobe-friendly space. But I’m hoping to arrange a couple of good interviews early in 2010 to give some insight into what’s coming up on the show.
I thought I would start the festivities with a “best of” poll. It’s very hard to come up with a shortlist of nominees for the single best episode in five seasons and a half seasons, so we will do this as a series of polls: one for each season, and then have a run off. I will do “revisited” commentaries on each of the five top episodes with arguments pro and con to be debated.

Voting for the best should be based on writing, acting, directing, furtherance of the main story, compelling guest actors – or whatever you deem “best” means.

I have selected the top five episodes from each season (not necessarily my favorites) based on the results of last month’s survey on my personal blog. I will run the poll for one week, and then the runoff. You will notice that there are no season six episodes listed, and that is intentional. I will add “Broken” to the run off poll as the season six entry, but I didn’t want to do a poll for season six based on only half a season. So dive in, and spread the word! Don’t like my choices? Write in your vote in the comments below.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Lisa Wood

    Hmmmm, I feel stupid for asking this but did I miss the “Ignorance Is Bliss” episode review? It goes from “Teamwork” to “Wilson” perhaps I just can’t see the link? I was looking forward to reading your thoughts on Chase’s reactions that episode.

  • barbara barnett

    I too would have liked to see the moments between House’s breakdown in C’s office and getting Wilson. I also would have loved to see some of the months between House being shot and the first scene of season three. OK…idea for a new article just struck! Scenes we never saw.

  • ann uk

    Here are some scenes we never got to see:

    House explaining his hallucination to Cuddy – given its revelation of his deepest feelings about her, how would she react?

    We never got to eavesdrop on any of House’s sessions with the psychologist at Mayfield.I wonder just how open he was about his father,Stacy, etc.

    And one I would love to see– House meeting his real father.

    Other people may have their own choices.

    Merry Christmas to all my fellow HOUSE addicts.

  • God, the agony of choosing!! As others have said, even in the mediocre episodes there are gem-like moments. The first House I ever saw was “House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart” shown back to back, and I became a serious addict that night. It still amazes me. If I had to go by episodes I’ve rewatched the most before Season Six, I’d have to go with “House Vs. God”, “Birthmarks,” and “Unfaithful.” I love House/Wilson and I love arguments about atheism vs. faith.

  • You are all correct in that there are few bad choices–and choosing six for each season was nearly impossible for me. I will try to deliver on my “revisted reviews” for all the “best” and do a “run off” among 10 or so episodes over this week.

  • simona/Italy

    Hello Barbara, I think that it’s really hard to find an actor so complete like Hugh Laurie, somebody who can move from the serious to the ridiculous, from a dramatic performance to a rich irony, using a mimicry spectacular with a naturally unique. Well …. in every performance he is so true that it seems fake! 🙂
    About the best performance I’m in difficult to choose only one. Certainly Broken, of course, but about your poll I choose:
    Season 1: 3 Stories
    Season 2: House vs. God
    Season 3: Informed Consent
    Season 4: House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart
    Season 5: Both Sides Now

    My best congratulations for your wonderful reviews! (and sorry for my bad english)

  • So hard to choose!

    S1: Chose Three Stories (I think I don’t have to explain why), but there’s no bad (and I mean bad in a House-metric system) episode among this six. Surprised not to find Control among them though.

    S2: Voted for All In (the game, present in every bit of the script!), but again, all those eps are amazing (also Who’s Your Daddy, Hunting, Distractions, and well, almost the whole season). No Reason was disarming.

    S3: Half-Wit (piano episode. episode piano. pianooo). But if I was voting yesterday, it would be Son Of Coma Guy. Tomorrow – Merry Little Christmas. On Wednesdays it’s the Lines In The Sand Day.

    S4: Of course season finale. But Mondays are for Don’t Ever Change.

    S5: Birthmarks full stop.

  • gena

    Any episode that matches Hugh Laurie’s talent with that of Robert Sean Leonard is my favorite! They’re both great actors but together they are outstanding.

  • annie–I thought about separating them, and didn’t because they are really one story. They are both incredibly emotional roller coasters, in my opinion. It’s very hard to separate them. More so than UMS and Both Sides Now, which you can also argue are parts of a whole. But not as much. The episodes I paired are those I felt needed to be taken together.
    It would have been incredibly difficult to choose between them, so I kept them together.
    But you’re right. It would have been interesting.

  • Annie

    I’m curious what would’ve happened if you separated House’s Head and Wilson’s Heart. Which one is better-the more analytical one with one hell of a twist or the emotional rollercoaster that ended in tears?

  • The most intense and touching moments of the show, are all in one episode: “Under my skin” Unforgettable

  • honey274_cuddyx

    It’s really hard but my favorite episode is Finding Judas.I love this episode! I have more so close but…

  • Jackal

    One Day One Room, also

  • queequeg

    Joy, Joy, and Joy again.

  • action kate

    what, no “Airborne”?

  • guest

    One Day One Room

  • ann uk

    Season 1: I love the pilot ,Detox and DNR,but it had to be Three Stories. Brilliant writing by David Shore, brilliant directing by Bryan Singer and a bravura performance by Hugh. Imagine memorising and orchestrating that long , complex lecture!And we learn how House got where he is and how he is ,what he thinks about life and death AND Stacy appears. Any other show would have stretched all that over three episodes.

    Series 2: Again Autopsy is a favourite, but i am not sure I wouldn’t have chosen ” Hunting” for the powerful erotic charge between House and Stacy — House is hunting and it isn’t rats!HOUSE is so good at this – no cliche dialogue, no unconvincig thumping about under the bed clothes, they don’t even kiss, but the magnetism almost melts the screen.

    Series 3:I love “Son of Coma Guy “, but House’s long night of the soul is so moving it has to be ” A Merry Little Christmas ”

    Series 4 “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart ”
    I’m glad you put these together as it would be impossible to choose one.The moment when Wilson asks House to risk his life to save Amber’s is a supreme example of Hugh’s ability to deliver the most powerful emotions without the need of words.

    Series 5 “Birthmarks ” was hard to resist — so funny and so sad at the same time– but the final episode is such a catastrophe for House that one can’t ignore it.

    Thanks for giving me the excuse to recall so many great episodes.I don’t know how I am going to survive the long Houseless weeks , so please come up with some reviews etc. to console me !

  • DebbieJ

    I had no problem choosing my favorites amongst Seasons 1, 3, 4 and 5 but I had such a hard time choosing for Season 2. S2 was such a stellar season! They were all fantastic but I wound up choosing All In.

  • I don’t remember the name of the episode but I loved the one where House comes into the patients room wearing sunglasses, a big boom box on his shoulder and his head bopping to the beat! I laughed so hard it stuck with me to this day. Hugh Laurie is such a gifted actor with great comedy timing.

  • Of course you are right. So many wonderful episodes to choose from. There’s something good in even the mediocre eps. But the cream of the the cream–ahhhh.

  • xinyuActor

    T_T Ohhh BB…the agony of choises…

  • ann uk

    Only one ?! There is always something memorable in even the less good HOUSE episodes and there is always the pleasure of watching Hugh do his mesmerising stuff !
    However will try to make a choice.

  • Wow, it’s so hard to choose one episode as a favourite. Look forward to your re-reviews.