"The Riches - Second Season" DVD Review
May 04, 2009 by Zach Demeter
One of FX’s top rated shows, The Riches lasted a mere two seasons before receiving a cancellation notice from the network. Even stranger is the cancellation came five months after the second season finished airing, causing fans of the show to be not only perplexed by the networks decision but also lament the fact it never received a proper send off. Plans for a movie were rumored, but so far nothing has come to light. One thing is for certain, however: even in cancellation and knowing the series isn’t continuing (for the time begin), the second season of The Riches is highly entertaining.
Combining richly dark humor with gripping family drama and intricate plot twists, the masterful final season of The Riches is as thrillingly original as television gets! Itinerant con artists posing as a wealthy suburban family, The Malloy’s are stealing the American dream, but their elaborate ruse may be stealing their very souls. Facing near-certain detection, the family is torn asunder as Dahlia (Minnie Driver) and the children hit the open road, and embattled patriarch Wayne (Eddie Izzard) remains in Eden Falls, desperately scheming to pull off one last impossible con, so his family can stop running—forever.
I was just as shocked as anyone else when the cancellation notice for this show came down. I didn’t follow the show closely as other FX efforts, but I still kept an eye on it and the show, which premiered strong and, as far as I knew, kept decent ratings (apparently not strong enough). Hearing that the Izzard and Driver driven vehicle stumbled so soon out of the gate (and with only seven episodes in the second season) was a blow to those who enjoyed watching the show as it really wasn’t like anything else on television.
That’s the problem with unique shows nowadays. There’s no easy category to peg them into and as such it never builds up a proper audience. Yet the thing about The Riches was the early success it enjoyed, which you would think would buy it a little more time than it ultimately received. Still, the series take on the modern family and the twist of cons and whatnot mixed into it was really just one of the more entertaining series scenarios I’d ever seen. It was later kind of copied in the TNT series Leverage (though in a much more grander and predictable scale), but the unique family paradigm maintained in The Riches really was never done quite like it was with Izzard and Driver.
What’s so great is the cast of the show is so high-profile (well, the two leads at least) that you wouldn’t immediately think of them as the roles they play in the series. Driver’s first appearance in the series is admittedly shocking and her eventual dispersal with the children in the second season further brings her character to life in a way you just don’t see on other series. It all just feels a lot more vivid and realistic when compared to other “family dramas,” although the crime element of this one certainly is a large factor in that.
It’s truly a shame that his series won’t see a wrap-up in the near future. The second season contained seven fantastic episodes and to not see the series see a finale conclusion of some kind is highly disappointing. Here’s hoping that movie eventually gets made so that there can be some kind of bookmark given, as the way it currently stands has left fans and even the most casual of viewers hanging.
The series really thrives because of the relationships between the main cast and how they interact with those around them. They’re fish out of water, really, and as such it’s a very entertaining take on the family. I’ve said it more than any one person should in one review already, but it really is just a unique and quirky show that doesn’t fit in any real vein of a show that came before it. Hopefully we can compare shows to this one in the future, because as it stands, it’s one of the greats that was ended way before its time. Highly Recommended.
The Riches – The Complete Second Season arrives in a standard two-disc Amaray “Environmental” Case (you know, the one with holes). Menus are simple and easy to navigate, while the video is a great deal better looking than the cable broadcast I was seeing of the series previously, with great colors and wonderful clarity. The included DD5.1 track is also quite enjoyable, but it’s really a front channel driven show so don’t expect much (if any) surround chatter. You’d get the same effect of your receiver matrixing out the track to extra speakers via a 2.0 track, to be honest. Also included are English, Spanish and French subtitles and as a side note the seven episodes are included on two double sided flipper discs…and no, I have no idea why. They could have fit them on two dual-layer discs, but apparently the discs are not only double sided but single layer as well. Quite ridiculous.
Extras for the set include…well, one extra. Eddie Izzard: Revealed (6:07), which is kind of a bittersweet extra as Izzard says he hopes for the series to continue on for many seasons, which is kind of a punch to the face for Fox to include this feature. Not only does it show the star of the series expressing desire for it to continue, but it’s also the only extra on the two discs.
Overall this is a very, very poor release for such a great series, but I doubt we’ll ever get anything better. The first season was pretty packed in terms of extras so to see this second season given such lackluster treatment is nothing short of surprising. Still Recommended, but for those who aren’t fans of the show it may be best to rent this one first, just to see if this is your cup of tea.
The Riches – Season Two is now available on DVD.