The Riches Season 1

The Riches Season 1
There’s something very exciting about the wealth of well-known actors making the decision to "slum it” and act on a regular television series. And it isn’t just the usual suspects either, as The Riches so clearly demonstrates. Comedian’s comedian Eddie Izzard is joined by Minnie Driver, as Wayne and Dahlia Malloy, in this tale of a family of grifters who flee their Irish Traveller community and adopt the identity of a wealthy family killed in a car crash on their way to start a new life. So the Malloys (complete with their three children) become the Riches and spend 13 episodes living in their luxurious new home, fooling their neighbours and avoiding the pursuing Travellers. Naturally, there are plenty of shenanigans along the way. Considering the somewhat serious matter, it isn’t a big surprise that The Riches chooses a darkly comedic approach along the lines of Weeds. What makes it so very enjoyable are the performances, especially those by Driver and Izzard. Driver is wonderful as the cough syrup chugging Dahlia, who never quite manages to shake off her white trash background, but Izzard is simply spectacular as the ultimate con man seemingly fooling absolutely everyone with minimal effort. Even when the plots begin to collapse under the weight of weak premises, as they do in the latter half of the season, the main duo keep the entire show afloat. The Riches won high enough ratings in the U.S. on the FX Network (it was shown on Showcase in Canada) that a second season was commissioned, but the writers’ strike has meant that only seven episodes were made. Hopefully they’ll be enough to ensure most of the loose ends are tied up before it inevitably disappears. Now that pretty much every television show is coming out on DVD, the focus is on speed rather than adding worthwhile extras, so The Riches is a little on the bare side. There are commentary tracks on a couple of episodes by Eddie Izzard and the show’s creator Dmitry Lipkin, which are as amusing as you’d expect if you’ve ever heard Izzard’s stand-up. But apart from a gag reel where everyone laughs inappropriately a lot, the only thing of note are a series webisodes with the cast in character talking about some of their favourite cons. (Fox)