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The Complete Series
Running Time: 577 minutes
Starring: Mark Valley, Sienna Miller, Colin Salmon, Julian Rhind-Tutt
Retail Price: $39.99
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, Episode Selection, Chapter Stops (5 chapters per episode), Four-Disc Set
Released: September 7th, 2004
Another show to be filed under brilliant but cancelled: "Keen Eddie" debuted on Fox in June of 2003, where it was burned off as yet another summer series (it was probably meant as a midseason replacement but didn't get the go-ahead). Despite some strong notices from critics, the show only ran for seven episodes (the remaining six were shown on cable's Bravo, which still shows the series from time to time). But this is Fox we're talking about (which loves to kill their best shows - "Andy Richter Controls The Universe" and "Wonderfalls," anyone?), and summer is never a good time for television (let alone new series). I don't even need to say that "Keen Eddie" never had a chance.
The series was a standard fish-out-of-water tale, but with a few twists: the show followed Eddie Arlette (Mark Valley), a New York City narcotics detective after screwing up a drug bust which resulted in a huge shipment of drugs to get into Europe. Humiliated but determined, Eddie is sent to London to help fix what he screwed up. While there, he soon gets a warm reception from those at Scotland Yard, particuarly Johnson (Colin Salmon) and his partner Monty (Julian Rhind-Tutt). Eddie does so well with his unusual ways that he gets offered a permanent job with Scotland Yard, and goes around London trying to solve crimes. On the more personal front though, Eddie has to room with his landlady's daughter, the lovely Fiona (Sienna Miller) - which does create a few interesting scenarios. It's easy to see though that in London, Eddie is quite keen.
"Keen Eddie" isn't a show for everyone, but if you love shows that cross many genres and are quirky in nature (i.e. such as ones mass audiences don't usually appreciate), then this one is for you. Created by J.H. Wyman (who wrote the flawed but unique film "The Mexican") and shepherded by director Simon West (who directed the pilot and executive produced the series), this is a show with a very original voice and still stands out entirely. "Quirky" may be a word used to describe some out-of-the-ordinary television shows, and while I try to resist saying it sometimes, by all means "Keen Eddie" is quirky in the best possible ways. This is a show that was well balanced, but different: episodes tended to focus on individual crime stories, but they also explored and developed the characters remarkably well so that the viewer could really invest in them. The series also had a great visual style with lots of flashes, sped-up shots hard quick cuts and at times non-linear storytelling (plenty of long flashbacks). Best of all was the series' humor - it was perfect. Other than some culture clash, the show featured some great lines and plenty of oddball comedic moments that were intertwined perfectly into the series. This show really was irrevrant and blended multiple genres well.
The show also featured a fantastic ensemble of actors, all who had the right chemistry and unique talents which ended up meshing quite well. Mark Valley was certainly amazing as Eddie - Valley captured his outstanding instincts and brashness well. The thing with the character of Eddie was that he was unorthodox, and Valley really played that up, all with a certain charisma. Hopefully we'll see more of Valley in the future (he's currently cast on ABC's "The Practice" spin-off "Boston Legal"). Sienna Miller was introduced to the world with this show, and other than her comely looks, she's a pretty great actress who fits her role well and certainly had some great chemistry with Valley. The supporting cast, namely Colin Salmon and Julian Rhind-Tutt, were also excellent as Eddie's more up-tight superiors across the Atlantic.
If you never heard of this series or missed it during its original run, then it's well worth finding on DVD (too bad some of the songs on the show have been replaced for the DVD due to rights issues, but the only real absence I noticed was that song from The Madness played during the pilot). All thirteen episodes are here (presented in the order of how they aired and not their original production order - bah), which is certainly nice but I really wish this show would have lasted longer. A future cult series? I wouldn't be surprised.
All of the episodes are presented in 1.33:1 full screen and look quite good. The show used a lot of filters and an assortment of hues, but the transfers are more than up to the task of keeping up with the changes and presenting them well. Colors are very well saturated, as they're pretty vibrant but don't bleed. Detail looks very good, black levels are strong and fleshtones are top notch. The episodes are a little sharp, but what I found a little distracting was how the episodes looked slightly grain. The episode prints are pretty clean though, with only a nick or blemish popping up here and there during the episodes (nothing distracting though). Great transfers overall.
To my delight, all the episodes of "Keen Eddie" are presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and let me say for a television show, these are pretty great tracks. The music fills up the speakers nicely and helps center in the show's atmosphere, while dialogue is very crisp and quite clear. There are plenty of great surround effects to which are discrete and make good use of the front and rear channels (the show features it's fair share of cop action, so expect to hear a few good things when it comes to some fighting, chases and circumstances along those lines). Subwoofer use isn't groundbreaking, but the show does make some good use of it. None of the sound elements overpower each other either, making for some very balanced tracks. Very good stuff here, and other than the episodes, these tracks are a nice surprise that make the set stand out a little bit. English closed captions are also included as well as English stereo tracks.
Nothing at all. Argh.
I'm thrilled that "Keen Eddie" has been released on DVD (minus some of the original tunes, however) - this was yet another fantastic show Fox killed. The episodes look and sound excellent, but it's still a disappointment there are no supplements. Those unfamiliar with the show should give it a rent, otherwise fans of the series should go out and buy this right away.