Californication follows the trials and tribulations of writer Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny. Hank drinks, does drugs, gets far more women than he should, alienates his friends, and somehow shambles on through life without managing to pick a direction. He should be a terrible character, but in fact he's a delight to watch, mostly because Duchovny produces a career-best performance most episodes.
In the first season, Hank had lost his long-term girlfriend Karen, was unable to write, and had a bad relationship with his teenage daughter Becca. His best friend and agent Charlie Runkle was too far into Hank's charismatic spell to pull him out of it. As this season opens, Karen has come back to him but then moved to New York, he is unable to write, and he is stuck raising Becca alone. Runkle is still his best friend, and is still unable to control him.
The main plotline amid the chaos is that Hank is offered a job as a college professor, which inevitably puts him in range of pretty students and man-eating staff. Amid this he is making a bad job of his long-distance relationship with Karen, and failing to control Becca. The season does a good job of broadening the cast, bringing in the other characters, but one of the main sub plots is the disastrous relationship between Runkle and his wife, which has been going on since season one, and is getting a bit tired. None of the ideas this season really live up to the expectations from seasons one and two, and one episode is by far the worst from any season. There's a lack of focus that makes this the worst of the three seasons.
The real triumph of this show is that Duchovny should probably have been stuck in a typecasting nightmare after playing Mulder, but you don't even think of that role when you see him in Californication. The series lives or dies on his character, and he is the real reason to watch this show.
Overall, this is still an enjoyable season of Californication, and it looks like season four may be a return to form, so it's well-worth carrying on watching.