Written by Senora Bicho
The Riches premiered on FX on March 12th, 2007. The first season consisted of 13 episodes and was a ratings success with 3.8 million viewers watching the pilot, which, in the history of FX, was only second to the premiere of The Shield. This was the network’s first Monday night original show and the ratings were more than double that of any other program they ever aired on Mondays. These results prompted FX to announce that it will bring the show back for a second season in the summer of 2008. The show also received critical acclaim for being original and thought provoking.
The series tells the story of the Malloy Family who has all of the normal problems of the average American family, but they are a family of thieves, gypsies who move from one con to the next. Series creator Dmitry Lipkin created the lead role with Eddie Izzard in mind. The first episode starts with Wayne (Izzard) conning the attendees of a high school reunion. His charisma and natural ability to lie are clear from this clever scene. After his successful heist, Wayne is off to pick up his wife, Dahlia (Minnie Driver) who is being paroled from jail after two years. Wayne and Dahlia have three children. Cael is the shy oldest son, Di Di is the typical teenage girl, and Sam is the youngest boy who enjoys dressing like a girl. The reunited family then meets up with the rest of their gypsy community.
The happy reunion doesn’t last long as Di Di is quickly being forced into an arranged marriage. Rather than force his daughter into that situation, Wayne robs Dahlia’s Uncle and takes his family on the road. On their way to the next town, they run into another family of traveling con artists and get into a high speed chase. In the course of the chase, they run the Riches, a wealthy couple, off the road which results in their death. Wayne quickly decides to make the best of the situation and comes up with a plan to assume their lives. The Riches were moving to a new home that they had purchased online which made that part easy. Doug Rich was a lawyer and had an interview set up for a new job. Wayne meets up with the head of another law firm and uses his excellent lying abilities to quickly land a job with a $200,000 annual salary. The family is now all set in a beautiful gated community and seems to have stolen the American dream.
The rest of the season includes all of the problems that any family deals in their day-to-day life along with all of the complications that arise with stepping into the Riches’ shoes. The finale finds Dahlia’s cousin catching up with them looking for the stolen money and one of Doug’s best friends shows looking for answers.
The show has a solid foundation in the amazing cast. Izzard and Driver play off of each other beautifully. Driver received an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. The children are all unique and provide interesting storylines of their own. Even the supporting roles, such as Wayne’s boss and the nosey neighbor, are perfectly cast and entertaining.
The Riches offers an original premise, strong writing, interesting characters, and good performances. Luckily, the show is worth watching, which makes up for the so-called special features. There are two commentary tracks, one for the pilot and one for the season finale, with Izzard and Lipkin which are interesting and informative. The rest of the extras include two featurettes and the dreaded gag reel. “Casting Session” focuses on the process to select the cast and “World Premiere” includes interviews with the stars of the show along with some behind the scenes information. Neither of these offers much of interest.