TV Review: ‘Royal Pains’ Returns With Summer Prescription

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CHICAGOUSA’s “Royal Pains” was one of the most surprising hits of 2009, the #1 new show of the summer season, and it returns even more confident, entertaining, and close-to-perfect with its second season premiere on June 3rd, 2010. It’s highly unlikely that the show will lose any viewers and the buzz around the sophomore season and the release of the first on DVD should actually see numbers increase. Television Rating: 4.0/5.0
Television Rating: 4.0/5.0

Just like “Burn Notice,” its perfectly-partnered night-mate on USA, “Royal Pains” picks up exactly where the last season ended. Hank (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan (Paulo Costanzo) and their concierge doctor company HankMed has gone completely bankrupt after their father stole their savings. How can they keep their business together without any cashflow? And how can they deal with the emotional betrayal of a father who has clearly hurt them before?

Royal Pains
Royal Pains
Photo credit: Williams and Hirakawa/USA

Meanwhile, in the case-of-the-week structure that USA should put a patent on, an infomercial star comes to HankMed with an injury, but it’s clearly a subplot to the A-plot of how to get the gang back together and solving medical mysteries.

Royal Pains
Royal Pains
Photo credit: Patrick Harbron/USA

At the same time, the beautiful Divya (Reshma Shetty) has to deal with an arranged engagement and how Evan responds to it while Jill (Jill Flint) manages a new, tough supervisor (new regular Marcia Gay Harden) at the hospital. The great Campbell Scott also appears as Boris, HankMed’s benefactor and one of its most interesting patients. Henry Winkler will join the show later as a series regular.

Adding a legendary TV veteran like Winkler and an Oscar winner like Harden could only make an already-good show even better. And the season premiere displays a cast and writing staff aware that they are not only on top of the summer TV world but that their throne could get even higher. This is confident, smart writing with clever dialogue, believable characters, gorgeous settings, and perfect pacing.

The performances are uniformly improved as well. Feuerstein takes something more difficult than you might think and makes it look easy. He’s believable and charming without ever feeling like he’s trying to be. Costanzo doesn’t feel like he’s trying as hard to entertain as in season one and Shetty has so much screen presence that it’s not hard to see her becoming a breakout star. I’m still not completely sold on Flint, but she’s certainly not bad.

Royal Pains
Royal Pains
Photo credit: Universal

And that’s the thing about “Royal Pains.” None of it is “bad”. In fact, it’s a good show that looks like it might become great in season two. It’s impossible to say anything about the whole upcoming season after only one episode, but, at least for now, “Royal Pains” is in even better health than last year.

If you missed last year, Universal released the DVD set for season one of “Royal Pains” last week, May 25th, 2010. The twelve episodes are presented in crystal clear 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and, while they should be available on Blu-ray, they look pretty damn good for standard DVD. As for special features, the set includes commentaries with cast and crew, a gag reel, and deleted scenes.

As successful as “Royal Pains” already is — it boasts the title of “the best performing freshman year of a cable series ever” — there’s something about this season premiere and season one release that makes it feel like the show is just building momentum. Get on board or get out of the way.

The second season premiere of ‘Royal Pains,’ airs on USA and stars Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Flint, Reshma Shetty, Campbell Scott, and Marcia Gay Harden. The season premiere airs on June 3rd, 2010 at 9PM CST. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

utley dodger's picture

Good tv show

Royal Pains is a perfect show to watch. Characters are simply great. They are doing good job and make this show worth to watch. Thanks.

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