‘Royal Pains’: a winter escape to the Hamptons

So far, we haven’t had much of a winter in the Northeast, but it’s still nice to dream of summers at the beach via the USA series “Royal Pains,” which restarts tonight at 10.

The Hamptons-based show has been a small but significant hit for the basic cable channel since 2009, reflected in Penguin’s decision to publish a spin-off novel series.

The third book in the series, “Royal Pains: Sick Rich,” has just been released through Penguin’s Obsidian paperback mystery division.

The novels are the work of the fine writer D.P. Lyle, who has won and been nominated for a number of mystery fiction awards for such medical and forensics thrillers as “Stress Fracture” and “Devil’s Playground.”

“Royal Pains” is a tasty mix of soap opera and medical drama, but without the heavy-handed theatrics of such network doctors-and-nurses melodramas as “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The USA show is no more than froth, but the Hamptons locations give it a real boost (unlike another ABC show “Revenge” which fakes its upscale Long Island settings in North Carolina). It’s fun to spend an hour fantasizing about being rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams.

Mark Feuerstein stars as Hank Lawson who operates an upscale medical concierge business with his brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo). The show earns points for not making a big deal out of the way the Lawsons enjoy the plush lifestyle that comes from tending to the ailments of the super-rich.

Feuerstein has that relaxed style and low-key charisma that marks a real TV star (traits he shares with Nathan Fillion of “Castle”). Once a memorable supporting player in films like “The Muse” (where he was very funny as Albert Brooks’ agent), the actor has found a TV role that fits him like a glove.

“Royal Pains” has a serial structure with plotlines running through several episodes, but the stories are light and breezy and easy to pick up or drop depending on whether or not you are home on Wednesday evenings.