In its second season, the British
comedy/drama series Cold Feet continues to demonstrate its
strengths; this is no "Friends clone," but an
entertaining and surprisingly substantial production with its own
distinct feel. In a nutshell, Cold Feet is about
relationships, but the six main characters give us a broader picture:
we see more than just the Seinfeld/Friends/Coupling
type of "young single people in the dating scene"
relationships. We have two married couples, but the lives of Pete and
Jenny, who just had a baby toward the end of Series
1, are taking quite a different turn than those of David and
Karen, each of whom is faced with an identity crisis of sorts in
Series 2. And then there's the on-again, off-again relationship of
Adam and Rachel, providing a third perspective on the challenges of
love and commitment.
As Series 2 opens, Rachel has
returned from her self-imposed exile to London... but the real
question is, whose baby did she have? Viewers of Series 1 will recall
the cliffhanger ending, leaving Adam (and all the rest of us) in
doubt as to whether she was pregnant with Adam's baby, or that of
"Kris with a K" as Adam sarcastically puts it. Without
revealing any spoilers, it's fair to say that this plot thread does
get resolved in the first episode of Series 2, with effects on all
the characters that will extend through the rest of the season.
There are only six episodes in
Series 2 (the British tend to go for quality over quantity in their
shows), which means that every single one can move the overall story
forward. Each episode focuses on a particular story thread, whether
it's David coming to a new appreciation of fatherhood, Pete making a
big mistake in his relationship with Jenny, or Karen realizing that
she needs to make a change in her life. At the same time, though, all
the other stories are also moving forward and affecting each other,
and there's a direct continuity from one episode to the next. This
connection between episodes certainly gives the show more of a
"hook," as you'll always be interested in finding out where
things go from here.
It's impossible to summarize the
plots of the Cold Feet episodes without having them sound like
soap opera, since the stories deal with the various relationship
problems that they're all having. The episodes themselves don't
(generally) feel like soap opera, though: whether it's the solid
writing, the excellent acting from the whole ensemble, or both, the
result is that these stories feel natural. These aren't glossy,
artificial Hollywood actors moving through improbable romantic
triangles, but regular "blokes" who could very well be your
next-door neighbors or co-workers.
But while one of the merits of Cold
Feet is its realistic characters, on the other hand, one of the
things I really like about Cold Feet is its sense of
creativity and style and its willingness to step outside the box
labeled "realism." The episodes frequently include
"fantasy" segments, daydreams (or nightmares), or scenes
that show us how the characters' perceptions are affected by their
attitudes. It gives a generous dash of charm to the show, and offers
the best humorous moments.
Speaking of humor, one thing that's
noticeably different in Series 2 is the balance of comedy and drama.
While Series 1 felt rather uneven in that regard, starting off
heavily comedic and shifting to heavily dramatic at the end, Series 2
is more consistent in its tone, with the dramatic storylines leavened
with humorous moments and situations throughout. Curiously, though,
there's a distinct similarity in the way Series 1 and Series 2 handle
the final two episodes of the season: in both cases, the dramatic
elements are brought more heavily to the fore, bringing the show to
its closest brush with soap opera, and the humorous elements are
pushed to the background. In Series 2 as in the earlier season, I
found this to be the weakest part of the season; there's just not as
much charm and spark in the last two episodes as in the earlier four.
In particular, the season finale, which has a "New Year's Eve
1999" theme, is by far the weakest of the season: it's unevenly
paced and not particularly compelling.
I'm not too concerned about the
weaker ending of Series 2, though; if the pattern holds true, Series
3 should get right back into the swing of things. What's more
important is that Series 2 of Cold Feet, as a whole, is lots
of fun, and anyone who enjoyed Series 1 will be very pleased with it.
Cold Feet is a three-disc
set, with two 50-minute episodes per disc. Each DVD has its own
keepcase, with the three volumes enclosed in an attractive glossy
paperboard slipcase. The set contains all six episodes from the
show's 1999 season.
Cold Feet appears in its
original widescreen broadcast aspect ratio of 1.85:1; it's
anamorphically enhanced. The image has a generally soft look to it,
with a moderate amount of noise and grain in some scenes, but overall
it looks quite good. Colors are consistently bright and natural, as
are skin tones; contrast is also handled well.
The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack handles the
dialogue well, better than in the DVD transfer of the first season.
The overall sound is clean and clear, with all the actors' voices
sounding natural and easy to understand.
The special features are minimal. A
"behind-the-scenes featurette" looks promising, at 31
minutes long, but it's really just a promotional piece for the start
of Series 2. It also spoils the punchline of a genuinely funny moment
in the final episode, so be warned. Apart from this, we get a photo
gallery and a set of cast filmographies.
The British comedy-drama Cold
Feet offers a fresh, charming, and quite entertaining view on the
lives, loves, and tangled relationships of the ensemble cast. I
actually enjoyed Series 2 a bit more than Series
1, as these episodes have a more consistent tone and maintain the
overall story arc of the season in an entertaining and addictive way.
Cold Feet: Series 2 gets a solid "recommended."