Take three couples, each at a different stage in their relationship.
Add a dash of comedy, a generous helping of serious drama, and a
handful of the ordinary ups and downs of life, and you get Cold
Feet. That is, the British comedy television series by that
name: one that has won quite a few comedy awards in its native
country, and offers an entertaining experience for viewers on the
western side of "the pond" as well.
The pilot episode introduces us to the six protagonists, whose mutual
friendships mean that they're always involved in each others' lives,
for better and for worse. Adam and Rachel have just started dating
(and are having some misgivings about a "serious relationship");
Pete and Jenny are married and hoping for a baby (with a lot of
anxiety about impending parenthood); and David and Karen have a young
son (and trouble reconciling the demands of work and family life).
Each of the episodes develops one or two story lines involving all
the characters, and while the individual stories are fairly
self-contained, there's also complete continuity from one episode to
the next. The stories are more interesting since there's no "reset
button" at the end, and the episodes can refer back to events
from earlier in the season as well. And even though the season
includes only seven episodes, we see quite a bit of character
development from beginning to end. (That, after all, is one of the
benefits of "concentrated" shows with few episodes: there's
none of the padding that we so often get in shows with 22 or more
episodes per season.)
The balance of comedy and drama in Cold Feet varies quite a
bit from episode to episode. Some are almost entirely comic, like the
pilot, or the episode in which all three couples start drawing the
wrong conclusions about their sex lives. Others focus more on the
dramatic side, making Cold Feet have a somewhat soap-opera
feel at times. For the most part, the episodes interweave the two,
with humorous moments included in stories that also work quite well
on the serious level, such as the fifth episode in which the "girls"
and "guys" each decide to have a night out to jazz up their
social lives... and it doesn't go exactly as planned. Since there's
no laugh track, the show is free to pace itself (and its comic
moments) any way it wants, rather than trying to aim for a certain
level of laughs in each episode. The result is that the humor works
quite well and never feels forced.
The overall style of Cold Feet is quite lively, with the
scenes often edited to cut back and forth rapidly between the
different story threads, or between two sets of characters having
different reactions about the same topic. There are various fun
tricks with the camera as well, whether it's inventive camera angles,
freeze-frames, or slow-motion; they're used enough to make things
interesting but not so much as to go overboard. Incidentally, it's
interesting to note in Cold Feet (which premiered in 1998)
many of the techniques that would later appear in Coupling
(2000) in a more exaggerated and comic manner.
The British seem to have a knack for casting believable "ordinary"
people in their shows, and Cold Feet is yet another great
example. The characters are supposed to be regular thirtysomething
people trying to get on with their lives, people we might know or
work with... and they actually look like regular people, not models
or film stars flown in for the day to pretend they're ordinary
people. All six members of the main cast turn in solid performances
in both the comic and dramatic parts of the show... and while this
clearly wasn't applicable for the original British audiences, for
this U.S. reviewer, their accents sound just plain delightful.
Cold Feet is a three-disc set, which does seem like a lot of
space for only seven 50-minute episodes. The first disc contains
three episodes, and the next two discs have two episodes each. The
three discs are packaged in individual keepcases that fit into a
glossy paperboard slipcase. The pilot and all six first-season
episodes are presented here.
Cold Feet ends up just a notch above average in terms of video
quality. On the positive side of the balance sheet, we get an
anamorphic widescreen presentation (preserving the show's original
1.85:1 aspect ratio), a natural-looking color palette, and decent
contrast. On the negative side, though, we get noise: a lot of it.
The image is very soft and tends to be grainy. Taken as a whole, the
two sides balance out to the positive.
The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack for Cold Feet is sub-par in the pilot
episode, with a rather muffled quality to it, but in the rest of the
first-season episodes the sound quality improves to come in slightly
above average. The soundtrack still has a rather flat feel to it at
times, but it's acceptably clean and clear.
There's not a whole lot here. A nine-minute set of "Couples
Vignettes" feels more like a promotional piece for the series
than an actual special feature; we get short segments of the
characters talking about their relationships to the camera, intercut
with clips from the episodes. There's also a photo gallery and a set
of cast filmographies.
Feet: Season 1 is an entertaining British comedy/drama that
focuses on the reasonably realistic lives of three couples at
different stages in their relationships. I'll give it a solid