I've technically seen season one (and two, and possibly three) of House before, having had an intense but short-lived fling with the show post exams in first year of university, but I remember very little almost a decade later. Interestingly, some of the main plot points that I do recall occur pretty early on, and the main story arc was completely absent. If it wasn't for the fact that subsequent events in later seasons are clearly memorable, I'd almost think I missed the second half of this season!
This time around that won't be a problem, as the second half of the season is weirdly, well, basic. Overall I'm glad I've revisited this particular iteration of the Holmesian mystery, but season one is a strange beast that never quite hits the flow. I was struck that the first episode felt like House; so often, American TV shows have pilots that just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, presenting characters that are often hollow shells or utterly different compared to what they become. Not so here, where each character and their various dynamics all felt incredibly familiar and fleshed out. It really helps launch you into the story and just leapfrogs a lot of the teething pains that similar shows go through.
That familiarity and rapidity continue throughout the first dozen or so episodes, until Vogler turns up. He's a weird character: a philanthropist millionaire who insists on running the hospital like a business, which seems counterproductive to his aims. He wants to solve cancer, dementia, and the other big nastys, but seemingly hates outside-the-box thinking and risk taking. In the world of 2020, with characters like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos running around, this feels strangely dull and unbelievable. Equally, as a non-American, I can't talk about the realism of a private buy out of a hospital like that, but if it is accurate than just wow that country is screwed up. Luckily, the Vogler plot line gets rounded off by the end of the season, because it isn't particularly interesting and feels more like a soap opera than a medical drama.
Which is a double shame, because slap-bang in the middle of that saga is the Three Stories episode where House has to teach a class about diagnostics. It's a beautifully surreal plot that constantly leaves you unsure of timelines and subtly toys with TV tropes, the fourth wall, and other normalcies in a way that a show like House rarely manages. It's fantastic already, but by the time you realise that one of those titular three stories is about House himself, it becomes a poignant insight into his character that really fleshes him out. It's exceptional TV and a fantastic hint at what the show could become.
Otherwise, I'm not sure about the high-tech medical CGI - it definitely hasn't aged well, and it adds little to the plot - but once you get used to it (and the producers realise how best to use it) it becomes manageable. Of course no amount of quibbles could ever overshadow the absolutely excellent performance by Hugh Laurie, leaving you with a solid, highly enjoyable show with interesting characters, some nice remixing of the Watson/Holmes narrative, excellent acting all around, and some really clever ideas.