The generally accepted wisdom is that House thrived for its first three years, but stumbled when much of the original cast - Jesse Spencer, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison - were reduced to supporting roles and supplanted by newcomers - the likes of Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson.
Many argue that, despite the occasional flash of brilliance - the two-part fourth season finale 'House's Head' / 'Wilson's Heart', the sixth year's premiere 'Broken' - the series never quite managed to recapture the quality of those initial seasons.
But, in this writer's opinion, it's a little unfair to lay the blame solely at the feet of the new cast. Olivia Wilde's subsequent Hollywood success suggests that she has plenty of star quality, for one.
The truth is, House is a procedural - most episodes stick to a rigid formula of symptom-diagnosis-symptom-diagnosis-symptom-diagnosis-cure. Some fans have even pointed out the fact that Laurie's lead regularly hits upon the correct diagnosis at the 37-minute mark - the format of an episode is so precise, it's almost scientific.
But without interesting character twists to keep a show afloat, viewers can suffer from procedural fatigue after being fed the same formula again and again. After three seasons, House was already beginning to look tired. It's telling that the best episodes since - including those mentioned above and this week's terrific 'Nobody's Fault' - are the ones that break away from the norm.
And while the actors aren't to blame, it's true that the various new iterations of House's medical team have never quite matched the original trio in terms of character. The cynical but loyal Chase (Spencer) is a far more compelling creation than the dreary Taub (Jacobson), for example.
Hugh Laurie's House is, of course, always entertaining to watch, but since the character's wild behaviour is the show's chief selling point, it places the writers in a quandary - change House and you risk losing what makes the show work, but keep him the same and the show risks becoming stale.
Worse, if House never learns anything, the character could come across as ignorant and uninteresting. Sure, his banter with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) still raises a smile, but in recent episodes, the character has veered dangerously close to self-parody.
Much scorn was heaped on season seven's House / Cuddy (or 'Huddy' if you must) romance, and while it's true that the arc didn't really work, the decision to have the two characters finally get together after six seasons of hints and flirtation was still a bold one. The writers should be congratulated for trying to take the show and its leads somewhere new, even if, in this case, it wasn't a wholly successful venture.
Season eight - which we now know to be the show's last - started off strong with the prison-set 'Twenty Vicodin' and promised something of a shake-up, with a new medical team at House's side and Foreman (Epps) replacing the absent Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) as the title character's boss.
But we were soon back to the usual routine - the aforementioned 'Nobody's Fault' aside, the final season of House has so far been business as usual. With nothing new to offer, it feel likes the right time for House to bow out, with its dignity (mostly) intact.
Despite our reservations about the show's later seasons, we're still hoping that the creative team behind House can pull it together for what could be a very special series finale. The series has had its up and downs, but we'll still be saying goodbye to one of the most unique and memorable lead characters in recent television history.
In truth, we'll probably miss House more than we'll miss House.
Is now the right time for House to end? Share your thoughts below!