There is a bittersweetness to the end of a good television season, when all of your favorite shows go off the air for the summer with cliffhangers run amok. Thankfully in recent years cable networks have picked up the slack by programming fresh summer series for those who need a night in. The USA network in particular has quite the slate, including Royal Pains, which is returning with its fourth season on June 4th. For those who missed end of season three, a mini-season that aired in January, then you can catch the DVD release, which comes out on May 29th.
Season three finds Hank (Mark Feurstein) and the rest of his HankMed team wrapping up their summer in the Hamptons. As with previous seasons there is the normal patient of the week story in each episode, but for this block of episodes the writers added an overarching story throughout the season as Hank tries to treat his friend Jack O'Malley (Tom Cavanagh), a Golf Pro who is diagnosed with lupus. This storyline brought together all of the characters together, in what was otherwise a rather fragmented season. Other storylines revolved around Evan (Paolo Costanzo) planning his upcoming wedding, Diviya (Reshma Shetty) handling the fallout of her wedding that was called off during the first half of season three, and Jill (Jill Flint) getting out of Hamptons Heritage hospital to work with an aid organization.
Strengths of the series is its quick wit, strong cast, and solid writing. It's also interesting to see a show set in the Hamptons that is actually shot there. The production team does fudge a bit, substituting certain locations, that are said to be in the Hamptons, from towns throughout Long Island. The most obvious being Hank's home, the Oheka Castle, which is located in Huntington, NY. Yet, it takes a bit of a keen observer to really tell the difference. Some may quibble about how the show is a bit formulaic in its approach (patients of the week may have different "premises" but generally the same story arc), but its still reliably enjoyable.
This is a show that can easily be watched and enjoyed by the whole family. If you don't want to wait for the inevitable reruns, certainly check out the DVD and catchup in time for the season premiere. This set is particularly strong and moving due to Cavanagh's storyline, and quite a few standout episodes.