Set in the gritty but vibrant suburbs of Paris, The Eddy tracks the story of jazz club owner Elliot (André Holland) as he finds himself tangled with dangerous criminals and in a desperate struggle to protect his family, club and band.
The show hosts some very bad characters. Not bad in the sense of evil, because recent years have taught us that evil characters can actually be great characters (looking at you Joffrey Baratheon), but bad in the sense of utterly unlikeable. Elliot is reeling from the death of his son and is attempting to squash his reputation as one of the most talented jazz musicians in New York. The trope of a troubled artist attempting to rebrand and forget his talent is tired.
When Elliot’s adult daughter Julie (Amandla Stenberg) shows up in Paris, the opportunity to inject some life into this stilted script is squandered. Julie seems to be hellbent on ruining the lives of everyone around her, but the audience is not given the opportunity to relate to her before she descends into a flat, irritating character. Suffering through the decisions made by this pair is almost unbearable. For a show that is focused on the power of relationships and the necessity of meaningful connections, The Eddy does a poor job of portraying them.
When not focusing on the intolerable Elliot and Julie, The Eddy attempts to spin stories around the jazz club’s house band. The band is made up of celebrated musicians in their first acting gig. While their musical talents can’t be questioned (they are seriously good), it’s unfortunate they weren’t given a stronger premise or direction to flesh out their characters. Each episode focuses on one of the musicians and while these subplots offer a dynamic and interesting dissection of life in multicultural Paris, they are unfortunately weakly weaved into the main story of the jazz club and eventually lose their hold over the viewer.
Viewers are likely to flock to The Eddy, drawn by La La Land (2016) director Damien Chazelle’s star power, but the real measure will be if they stick around. The lack of story may have people scrolling for alternate binge-worthy shows by the third episode. Jazz fans will likely get a kick out of the songs composed by six-time Grammy Award winner Glen Ballard, but people don’t watch shows to listen to music. They watch shows for the drama, for the immersive narrative, and for the cinematography. The creators decided to sacrifice the story for the music, setting The Eddy to ultimately fail in capturing the imagination of its audience.
All songs were played live on set and recorded while filming.