Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. Three episodes into the second season.
Suburbs and gated communities are a terribly clichéd subject of satire in American pop culture, and some elements of The Riches suggest that its take on the well-worn material will be a shallow one. The setting, for example, is Eden Falls, Louisiana—almost as hilariously on-the-nose as Icarus, the name of the doomed sun-bound spaceship in Danny Boyle’s creepy Sunshine.
But intriguingly, beguilingly, The Riches goes beyond such cheap gags. The convoluted storyline relies on a number of extraordinary coincidences, but suspending disbelief is worth the effort. This is drama that understands what most of its satiric cousins don’t: the suburbs are fertile ground for satire not because they offer the opportunity to lampoon a certain class of people—that isn’t what The Riches does—but because they offer the opportunity to appraise people in general, the human condition: the substance of our dreams, what we’re willing to sacrifice to achieve them, and whether those dreams make us happy.
I realize that might sound ponderous, but The Riches is anything but because—in a brilliant stroke—the lens through with creator Dmitry Lipkin chooses to examine all that dreaming is a family of grifters, and grifters—deceptive and loyal, meticulous and quick-thinking—are inherently interesting, especially when they’re played by Eddie Izzard, Minnie Driver, and a trio of top-notch young actors.