Third-episode verdict: Royal Pains

A perfect summer show

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

Over the summer, it seems, if you’re going to watch any network’s programming, USA has it all sown up. While NBC is sticking out bland-to-rubbish content like Merlin and The Listener, and the other networks are content with re-runs, rubbish and reality TV (mix that up as much as you like), USA is quietly sticking out some of its best work. Burn Notice has been topping the ratings for three seasons now and Royal Pains, its new Thursday-night stablemate, is shaping up pretty well, too.

We’re three episodes in, now, and as I said during my review of the really quite good first episode, the show could have gone one of two ways: desperately dull or still entertaining and leisurely – a perfect summer show. Happily, it’s continued in the same vein as before, a kind of cross between Gossip Girl (but without the excesses), House (but without the mean nasty doctors, just the nice ones), MacGyver (but without the mullet or spies) and The Apprentice (but without the strange hairpiece) in which amiable doctor Mark Feuerstein has to work out what the matter is with a bunch rich people (and anyone else he comes across), usually with the aid of whatever he finds lying around, all the while trying to build a new business and romance the local hospital administrator.

And it does it all very well. The relationships are nicely handled, nothing seems too forced, nothing too bad seems to happen, and no matter how rich or how poor characters are, they all seem relatively nice. It’s a feel good show about people feeling well.

If I had to criticise, Dr Hank’s brother is a bit of an arse and deserves a spade to the back of the head, and in an effort to stay away from anything too unpleasant for too long, there’s a little shallowness to the characterisations. But it’s just a nice to show to watch. It would last about five seconds in a winter schedule, but in summer, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better or more apt.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s predication: Should last for a good few seasons, unless the American economy falls into a giant hole in the next year or so. Or at least a bigger giant hole.