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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cold Feet - The Pilot and Complete First Series
Cold Feet - The Pilot and Complete First Series
Acorn Media // Unrated // January 25, 2005
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted December 28, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

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.

The DVD

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.

Video

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.

Audio

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.

Extras

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.

Final thoughts

Cold 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 "recommended" rating.

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