In 10 Words or Less
Fish-and-chips out of water cop dramedy
It was funny, quirky and well-done. So the only surprise when "Keen Eddie" was cancelled, was that it took seven episodes to get the ax. Quality TV has a short shelf-life. In all, the show had 13 episodes in the can (all of which were seen, out of order, on cable's Bravo channel) when the series came to a halt, and they come together to create an enjoyable finite series. That's rather appropriate for a show about a country where the concept of a limited TV series is very popular.
Detective Eddie Arlette (TV (and military) veteran Mark Valley) is having a tough time, capped by a screwed-up drug bust that was keyed by a bad tip he received from a mysterious woman named Marylyn. Looking to redeem himself, he chases the dealers to England, where he joins forces with a sex addict, the very British Inspector Monty Pippin (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Tomb Raider), to chase the bad guys. He also has to deal with an unexpected roomie, Fiona (Sienna Miller, the upcoming Alfie remake), who should be at college, and is instead crashing in his flat, after dropping out. When all is said and done, Eddie impresses Scotland Yard enough to earn a spot on their staff. And that's when things start getting weird. Armed robbers in Duran Duran masks weird.
Pippin quickly becomes one of the best parts of the show, as he begins to take on some of Eddie's American mannerisms to go with his English personality, while the sexual tension between Fiona and Eddie powers the non-cop portions of the show. Their relationship doesn't feel forces, as they genuinely seem to enjoy dancing on the love/hate line. Of course, you can't forget Eddie's filthy fantasy girl, Miss Moneypenny. There's a very quirky feel to the storylines, and it's easy to draw comparisons to cop parody "Sledge Hammer!" with their similar looking leads and title font-styles. "Keen Eddie" is definitely much more subtle, but the subversive nature of the show makes it just as fun.
Created by The Mexican writer J.H. Wyman and produced by Simon West (Tomb Raider, also director of the first two episodes) , "Keen Eddie" has a very hip style, loaded with lightning-quick editing and camera acrobatics that drew comparisons to writer/director Guy Ritchie's signature style. In truth, the subject matter (humorous British crime) helped cause those comparisons, as "Keen Eddie" has a steadier head on its shoulders and a cleaner approach. It does have an excellent soundtrack, with plenty of Brit music that really helps create the proper London atmosphere. According to the package though, some music has been replaced for the DVDs.
"Keen Eddie" is presented in full-frame, with 13 episodes spread over four discs. The discs are packaged in black ThinPak cases, with episode descriptions on the back of each. All four come in a cardboard slipcase. Sound choices include 5.1 surround and stereo, while the menus are static.
Note: The episodes are presented in their original airdate order, not the production order. The production order is in parentheses.
• Pilot - How it all began (1)
• Horse Heir - When a racehorse is stolen, Eddie and Monty go to work (2)
• Achtung Baby - Eddie protects a lusty German opera singer (3)
• Eddie Loves Baseball - Eddie's in the middle of a soccer controversy (4)
• Sucker Punch - Eddie looks into an underground "fight club" and gets a new roomie (5)
• The Amazing Larry Dunn - A guy with a photographic memory forgets (6)
• Black Like Me - The guys end up with two suspects while trying to crack a jewel theft (7)
• Sticky Fingers - Monty's ID is stolen, and he goes to sex AA (8)
• Inciting Incident - Eddie investigates a nasty feud with a simple origin (9)
• Who Wants to Be in a Club That Would Have Me as a Member? - Eddie befriends a hazing victim (11)
• Citizen Cecil - A gang wearing Duran Duran masks robs a casino and a robber
• Keeping Up Appearances - Eddie inherits a fancy car...and the problems that go along with it (12)
• Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
- While trying to return a wallet, Eddie accidently ends up in the middle of a kidnapping (13)
The episodes look fantastic, with crystal clear transfers and no visible problems. This show relies heavily on its look to make the style work, and this DVD set doesn't fail there. The 5.1 surround audio track is pretty good, with a lot of activity to the sides and rear. This series was truly a creative work, and the sound is no exception. If you're a purist, you can listen to the stero mix that was originally broadcast instead. It does the job, but isn't as involving as the surround track. Check out the first fight scene in "Sucker Punch" to see how good "Keen Eddie's" audio and video presentation is.
Once again, Paramount has ignored a non-"Star Trek"/"South Park" release and delivered this show without a single extra. This is becoming an annoying trend on the studios part. "Keen Eddie" may not be a reknown classic, but "Happy Days" certainly is. Yet, both shows were released bare bones. The cult following for "Keen Eddie" will be very disappointed.
The Bottom Line
With the release of "Keen Eddie," yet another undiscovered gem arrives on DVD, the savior of TV shows that never got their chance on network TV. This show is highly entertaining, smart and simply fun. The time investment necessary to get into these discs is minimal, because after one episode, you'll either be hooked or turned off completely. I'll put my money on hooked. If Paramount would have thrown in some extra features, this one would have scored extremely high, but as it is, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.