Eagleheart Season One
Produced by Conaco, Conan O’Brien’s production company, Eagleheart
joined the Adult Swim line up in 2011 and finally makes it way to
our shores with this release of Season One. Starring Chris Elliot (There’s
something about Mary) as US Marshall Chris Monsanto, Eagleheart
is a slickly produced live action parody of shows like Walker:
Texas Ranger, albeit with much more gore.
his latest partner leapfrogs directly into an aeroplane propeller,
Monsanto finds himself saddled with not one but two replacements:
Beautiful and intelligent Susie (Maria Thayer) and the hirsute -and
possibly mentally disabled - Brett (Brett Gelman). Monsanto’s track
record with his partners is spotty at best and The Chief of the
department, who may or may not be Orson Welles, figures that when the
inevitable occurs and one of the new partners die, Monsanto will only be
half as sad as he usually would be.
admittedly bizarre premise acts as a framing device for the
misadventures the trio find themselves thrust into; there’s little to no
continuity between episodes and each one only runs for around 12
minutes, so the silliness doesn’t overstay its welcome.
plotlines are appropriately goofy, but yet strangely grounded within the
context of their own twisted logic; people moulded out of Cocaine, Evil
Sky-Barons, a guerrilla militia group with a predilection for swinging
and a magical jewel guarded by mountain lions are just some of the weird
directions the plots head in. Despite the absurdity of it all,
Eagleheart has a talented stable of writers that actually make you
believe in all of the ridiculousness; it rarely feels trite or forced.
that being said, there are a few uneven moments, particularly
with the character of Monsanto himself; occasionally he’ll behave out of
character in comparison to what has been previously established, most
noticeably during the first few episodes, but this minor niggle can be
attributed to the growing pains that usually come with the first season
of a show, and by the latter half of the season the writers appear to
have locked down both the character and the overall tone of the show.
Elliot shines as Monsanto, but the true heart of the show lies with
Brett and Susie; their diametrically opposed personalities may be torn
straight from that old ‘The Odd Couple’ writing cliché, but the rapier
sharp wit of the script and the performances from Gelman and Thayer rise
the characters above their generic character templates; indeed, the
episodes that focus more predominately on Monsanto’s partners are among
the most enjoyable.
disc transfer cannot be faulted in any way, easily maintaining Madman’s
high standard. There is an intentional softness to the image that lends
the show a kind of ‘direct-to-cable’ aesthetic, and the audio is crisp
and delivered with the clarity expected of a Dolby 5.1 surround mix.
Master of Da’Skies
Double Your Displeasure
Chris, Susie, Brett, and Malice
in a Wattle
Danger: Mountain Lions
of Chili and a Bowl of Death
Eagleheart comes fully loaded with a raft of extras that are sure to
satisfy even the most ardent fan. There’s a lengthy discussion panel at
the New York Comic-Con (With a sneak peek at Season 2), the usual
deleted scenes and outtakes and twenty, count them, twenty
commentaries... For twelve episodes. For a commentary junkie like myself
this is as good as it gets; one track predominately features the actors
whilst the other has the writers ruminating on the process of getting
the episodes from script to screen. Rounding out the package is a Kill
Reel that collects all of the deaths in the show, promos for each
episode and, by far the most interesting feature, scenes taken from the
original pilot. Initially Eagleheart was going to be a tad meta,
focusing on the antics of washed up actor Ray Vanderhoof and the
tribulations he faces whilst filming the eponymous low budget series.
It’s fascinating to see how the concept for the program has changed so
dramatically since its initial inception and even features an amusing
cameo from the ginger one himself.
Scenes from the Never-Aired Eagleheart Pilot (9:46)
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (21:36)
York Comic-Con 2011 (23:51)
Commentaries with Cast and Crew (20 in total)
is a completely absurd experience, but in all of the right ways. The
writing is, for the most part, above par and the performances are
pitch-perfect. Elliot carries the show effortlessly and the non sequitur
style of humour will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in
Adult Swim’s unique programming. Personally, I find that many of their
live action programs tend to be lacking in comparison to their animated
efforts such as The Venture Brothers and Sealab 2021, but
Eagleheart manages to buck the trend and stand shoulder to
shoulder with the best of them. Highly recommended for those who like
their comedies with a healthy absurd streak.