The Riches: Season One – DVD Review


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / 2007 / 628 Minutes / Unrated
Street Date: January 8, 2008
List Price: $49.98 [Buy it at Amazon.com]

Creator:
Dmitry Lipkin

Cast:

Eddie Izzard ………. Wayne Malloy
Minnie Driver ………. Dahlia Malloy
Shannon Woodward ………. Di Di Malloy
Noel Fisher ………. Cael Malloy
Aidan Mitchell ………. Sam Malloy
Todd Stashwick ………. Dale
Gregg Henry ………. Hugh Panetta

The Show

Who would have thought that a pair of English actors would be so successful at playing an American couple that heads an American family that is in search of the “American dream”? To make things even more mind-boggling, these two English actors come from two completely different backgrounds. One is a cross-dressing comedian with limited acting experience, while the other is an experienced dramatic actress. Yes, Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver would seem like the “oddest” of all “odd couples”, but somehow they were brought together for the FX satirical drama, The Riches.

This show features Izzard and Driver as Wayne and Dahlia Malloy. The Malloys have three children: Cael (Noel Fisher), Di Di (Shannon Woodward), and Sam (Aidan Mitchell). They are American gypsy “Travellers” of Irish descent who also happen to be con artists and thieves. As the series begins Dahlia has just been paroled from prison. During her two-year sentence, she has developed various drug addictions. In her absence, Wayne and the children have been continuing to act as con artists across the US. After a brief reunion with their Traveller clan, the family flees to avoid an arranged marriage for Di Di. Wayne steals a large amount of money from the clan’s hoard of cash, and the family runs off. After getting into an altercation and RV chase with another Traveller family, the Malloys are involved in a car accident that kills a very wealthy couple named The Riches. Choosing not to return to their clan camp, they instead attempt to pursue a “better” life as they adopt the Riches’ identity in an affluent gated community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and live as “buffers”, which is what they like to call law abiding people.

The acting is superb in this series. Eddie Izzard really surprises in his role as just a regular American guy with his own family just trying to live the “American dream”. He does bring a lot of comedy into the role, but he can play the dramatic part of the character equally good as well. Minnie Driver has perfected her Southern accent herself, and the chemistry she has with Izzard is undeniable. Shannon Woodward, Noel Fisher, and Aidan Mitchell are all excellent in their roles as the three extremely different Malloy children. It’s really even hard to find a supporting cast member that doesn’t work in their roles. From top to bottom, the characters on The Riches are multi-layered and most importantly flawed, which makes them human and relatable.

Some would argue that this show is not that original. It does tend to borrow a few ideas from various shows including The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Weeds, The Sopranos, and even the short-lived Runaway. However, the world of con artists that is presented here is so intriguing that it will make you feel like this is a fresh idea for a television series. In every episode in the first season, the Malloy family is performing some kind of con to further conceal their true identities from the “buffers” they live, work, and go to school with. All the while, members of the “Traveller” clan they left behind attempt to track down The Malloys to get a part of their new-found “riches”.

This drama does more than just entertain you. It also makes you laugh, but more importantly, it makes you think as well. This show is almost like an anthropological look at “suburbia”, albeit a cynical one. It may seem like The Riches forces The Malloy family to be likable by making everyone around them worse people than they are. But really that is reality. No one is perfect and looks can often times be conceiving. The same is true for the Malloys and The Riches in general. It’s hard not to root for them.

The Riches is a dark, sophisticated series that deserves all of the praise it gets. It features some surprising performances from the most unlikely actors picked to play these parts. Yet the entire cast makes their roles their own and really helps this show become unique and engaging. There is comedy to be found in this series but it is always offset by sadness that is not far behind. In the end, everyone pretends to be something they are not at some point in their life. The Riches just strive to be better at it than you and they succeed despite being flawed themselves.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – Pilot
Through a set of unusual circumstances, the Malloy family assumes the identities of a wealthy family, the Riches, only to find that a glamorous life entails more than they expected.

Episode 2 – Believe the Lie
Wayne has to find a way to pay for the family’s new lifestyle. Dale is still after the Malloys.

Episode 3 – Operation Education
Wayne begins work at his new job at the law firm, where his first assignment is to fire the current head of the department. Meanwhile, Dahlia insists on registering the kids at a rich private school despite the fact that there are currently no openings. Finally, Dale uses his influence over Tammy, Cael’s girlfriend, to track down the Malloys.

Disc Two:

Episode 4 – Been There, Done That
The real Doug Rich’s ex-wife jeopardizes the Malloys’ cover when she comes after “Doug” for missed alimony payments. Meanwhile, Di Di falls for a buffer, and Cael finds a way to capitalize on his unusual skills at school. Also, Dahlia’s pill addiction continues to worsen and now threatens to tear the family apart.

Episode 5 – The Big Floss
Wayne must deal with legal arcana in an eminent-domain case and Dahlia gets a job for which she is equally qualified: a dental hygienist. Ginny catches up to the Malloys, which means Dale is probably not far behind.

Episode 6 – Reckless Gardening
The Malloys must deal with Ken from the Traveler camp, when he shows up intending to marry Di Di. His presence leads to a family crisis. At Panco, Hugh wants Dahlia to be his personal assistant. He won’t let Wayne settle for Hartley Underwood, who’s suing the company. Meanwhile, Dale makes his move back at camp.

Episode 7 – Virgin Territory
Stunned by the news of Earl’s death, a grieving Dahlia and her family head back to camp, where Dale looks to settle old scores with Wayne, while Ginny schemes to tie the knot between Di Di and Ken.

Disc Three:

Episode 8 – X Marks the Spot
When Hugh suspects that Wayne and Dahlia stole money from the office bank, the Malloys must resort to doing what they do best: the con.

Episode 9 – Cinderella
The family finds itself in awkward situations when Wayne is offered a partnership at Panco only if he throws a dinner party that meets Hugh’s approval. Meanwhile, a former cellmate of Dahlia’s on the search for a job wants to be the family’s maid.

Episode 10 – This is Your Brain on Drugs
Wayne suspects that Dahlia still has a drug addiction and takes meth himself as a way of showing her how much the fact that she is on drugs hurts. Meanwhile, when things at Panco go crazy, it is up to Dahlia to keep everything and everyone together. Finally, Dale shows up at Edenfalls and befriends the family’s neighbor, Hartley.

Episode 11 – Anything Hugh Can Do, I Can Do Better
When Hugh goes missing, it is up to Wayne to take over at Panco and discover what it’s really like to be the boss. Meanwhile, Dahlia tries to bond with Di Di, only to discover that their relationship has only taken more steps in the wrong direction. Finally, Dale confesses his intentions to Hartley.

Disc Four:

Episode 12 – It’s A Wonderful Lie
The Malloys must hide their true secret extra carefully when Doug’s friend Pete stops by for a visit, Hugh returns with a new wife from Las Vegas, and Hartley warms up to Dale and shows him how to blend in.

Episode 13 – Waiting For Dogot
In the first season finale, the Malloys find themselves in difficult situations as more visitors continue to arrive, neighbors pry, and Dale aims for a piece of the action. The family finds itself making some difficult decisions.

The Video:

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. They decided to upgrade this season to widescreen format, which is a good move. No real problems at all here.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. No problems with the sound either.

The Extras:

Audio Commentary
There are two full-length audio commentaries featuring Eddie Izzard (actor) and Dmitry Lipkin (creator). They comment on both the “Pilot” episode and the “Waiting For Dogot” episode, which is the season finale. There is a good balance between being informative and entertaining in these commentaries thanks to Eddie Izzard being involved in them.

FOX Movie Channel Presents “Casting Session”
This featurette runs for 9 minutes and the cast and crew discuss the show. Basically this is your “behind-the-scenes” featurette with the focus being on how the show was cast.

FOX Movie Channel Presents “World Premiere”
This featurette runs for 5 minutes and we get to hear from the core cast of the Malloy family as they get interviewed during the “world premiere” of the show. Basically, this are like short red-carpet interviews as the cast talk about the show.

Gag Reel
This is your classic gag reel that runs 12 minutes long. All of the bloopers and mistakes from the first season can be found here.

Webisodes
There are seven of this short episodes that originally appeared on the FX website. They run around 2 minutes each and all of them feature Eddie Izzard, Shannon Woodward, and Noel Fisher as their respective characters. They basically describe a con in each webisode. So if you want to learn how to “lie, cheat, and steal” here is where you need to go. All of them are interesting and family dynamic between the three actors are shown in all its glory here.

THE INSIDE PULSE

If you haven’t seen this show yet, you have to at least rent this. It may not seem that original on the surface, but once you delve deeper into the series you will find that are many layers to the characters and stories presented in the first season of The Riches. The acting is top-notch and this show is really another show in a long line of recent shows that not only entertains you, but makes you think as well. Highly recommended.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Riches: Season One
CONTENT

9
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
SUPPLEMENTS

6
REPLAY VALUE

9
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)