Well, simply put Houston is very well zoned by lifesyle/income. What your likes, hobbies, work, family life, etc. are like depends on where you want to live. If you plan to work, depending on your line of work also depends on where you live. So if you're looking for a 9-5p in front of an office, maybe a nice apt in Spring Branch (77043, 77055, 77080) migght suit you its close to everything, major freeways, malls, downtown, and hospitals, (hosp & malls are new swanky facilities). Lots of small reasonable rental homes too. If you're the single executive type the downtown lots, Rice Military, Heights, and Montrose(the more "alternative/bohemian lifestyle friendly of the bunch 77006, 77007, 77008, 77018, 77056, 77098, 77030) would be for you, less commute and good good bike riding area. I don't really recommend he, "out of town" suburbs to people who are new to Houston because our commutes are brutal, you get more for you buck the further you move out, but how much do you really need? Is it worth an extra 30-40hrs of your time a month?
Is Houston a hellhole? I guess like every metropolitan city in the U.S. it has its dark areas, especially where there is no zoning involved, you can have $500-$1mil home in the same vicinity of "Free Move In" type apartment complex. Good luck! But you might already be here!