No one knows why Lone Star failed but I do think there's something to Nellie Andreeva's theory. Dr House spends a great deal of time in obvious physical pain, engendering some measure of sympathy. Lone Star's central character seems tormented by a goofy dad and a conscience -- things an adult can partially control. Important difference.
Maybe? Now that I've watched the latest episode Terriers, I can't be sure. "One of the central pieces of the FX formula that Shawn Ryan helped create with 'The Shield' was the idea of shows with anti-heroes at the center - good guys who are capable of being very, very bad guys." Why are Terriers' anti-heroes so much more appealing than Lone Star's? I think it has something to do with how much suffering an actor can convey without saying anything. A cane helps. A grizzled, weary expression does too.
I don't really want to hate Lone Star. It's just upsetting that, for a show hyped as "outside-the-box programming" and "more nuanced than a soap opera," those first 15 minutes -- look! a cute girl wearing nothin' but a towel! -- were as soapy and cliched as it gets.