100 Episodes: The last remnant of USA Network’s “blue sky” era, Royal Pains celebrates its 100th episode

In 100 Episodes, The A.V. Club examines the shows that made it to that number, considering both how they advanced and reflected the medium and what contributed to their popularity and/or longevity. This entry covers Royal Pains, which is in the middle of its eighth and final season. The show’s 100th episode airs this week.

Hundreds of thousands of words have been written about how The Sopranos kicked off the modern era of prestige television, but it’s really only in the past year or so that TV fans, critics, and showbiz insiders have begun to reckon with what’s been lost during the latest golden age. Early on, the original programming on cable was largely indistinguishable from what was on network TV, aside from the profanity and nudity, but with The Larry Sanders Show, Oz, and The Sopranos, HBO cultivated an audience for sophistication, violence, and …

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