Okay, quick plot synopsis: Disgraced-but-talented doctor, on the skids, saves someone's life in an emergency, attracting the attention and patronage of a clientele that has need for private and discrete medical attention.

Which is it, "Royal Pains" with Mark Feuerstein or the 1997 David Duchovny film Playing God?

"Royal Pains" seems like someone tried to put a "feel-good" twist on Playing God, as well as building a cast of loveable and quirky characters who could stand up to weeks of medical crises, emotional sturm und drang, and various schemes by that irrepressible Paulo Costanzo (last seen on "Friends" spin-off "Joey").

I'm not going to say I didn't like it. It had some promise for a diverting summer series. It also has some promise to be a carnival of cliché that batters our heads around like a frozen wiffle bat. It walked this fine line between bad camp and good dramedy, and I really have to credit that to the writers, because just about everyone in it except Feuerstein was playing it a bit over the top. But Feuerstein's generally subdued tones just made the scenery chewing by his co-stars all that much more obvious.

Sadly, my DVR cut off the last 15 minutes of the 90-minute pilot (thanks Verizon!), but even if there is some amazing saving grace in that last 15 minutes (which I'll catch on Saturday if the DVR behaves itself), I don't think it's going to be enough to save the show. I'm going to give it one more episode next week, but if it doesn't impress me, I'll likely abandon it.

On a separate note, though I never watched "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (mostly because it was on Fox and I grow ever more philosophically opposed to patronizing anything owned by Rupert Murdoch), I really enjoyed show-runner Josh Friedman's blog post about being on a cancellation bubble when it pops.

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4 Responses to “Quickie Review: Royal Pains”
  1. Krey says:

    Your DVR didn't screw up, the show's premiere was a bizarre 75 minutes long leaving us hanging as Hank moves into the former Doctor's guest house. I was upset because it threw off my primitive Comcast DVRs ability to record the Burn Notice second run since it was a 12:15-1:15 deal. (I couldn't record the first run since I can only record one show at a time and my system was occupied by my room mates love of Comedy Centrals crap. Tosh.0 was pretty terrible, in case you didn't guess.)

    • Greg Bulmash says:

      Don't worry. USA will play "Burn Notice" over and over and over again. When we were watching that premiere and Brian Van Holt showed up, I pointed to him and said "that's Butchie from 'John from Cincinnatti'." She promptly got up and left. I won't say much about the plot, but it feels like they're trying to get edgier.

  2. darci says:

    I thought the pilot was some great fun. Granted, it had some flaws (the beginning took too long, could’ve been condensed) but for a first run, I think it’s promising. I like the ‘lightness’ of this show. With so much reality tv, it’s good to have a show that is just sort of a drama/comedy fantasy and can push a storyline across without having to force laugh out loud physical comedy moments or ultra serious drama.

    I also loved that they used the song “Ain’t No Love in the Club” by Wylde Bunch when Hank and Evan arrive at Boris’ castle - it’s my current favorite dance track and I was pleasantly surprised to hear it.

  3. Winnie says:

    My guy told me about "Royal Pains" and then I finally started catching promos a few weeks ago, so we sat down to watch it. It was fun to watch, but I wasn't blown away by any means. I was excited that "the guy from 'Road Trip'" got more work! Then I saw the actor playing the main character/Doctor when Red turned on "What Women Want" the next day - small world...

    It's nice to know you're checking it out, because I don't know anyone else who watches it. My favorite USA show = "Psych" (not saying it's the best - it's just my favorite).

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