From the moment Damien Chazelle announced himself with the one two punch of Whiplash and La La Land he immediately became a film maker whose projects would always demand high priority viewing regardless of content or topic. His now forays into streaming TV with this bilingual series centred around a Paris jazz club owner,his daughter as well as the various people around the club at any one time. It’s a music-based Chazelle project so there is reason to get excited but the one major drawback was that from a fandom perspective was that the series was created by Jack Thorne. Thorne is not a terrible writer but his track record is incredibly spotty and unlike Chazelle even if he were to create the greatest piece of media ever made he would still have a certain reputation among fandom as being partially responsible for the disastrous Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (even from the perspective of someone who has seen all five- and three-quarter hours live in London and we’ll admit that the live experience and recreation of the Potter world on stage is downright stunning at times. Critically none of this was due to Thornes co-writing that would embarrass your average fanfiction author. Combine this with rather tepid reviews and expectations will rather muted even coming from a massive Chazelle fan. At least his direction of the opening 2 episodes was likely to be solid. How’s the series overall?
Honestly, it’s a very frustrating mixed bag. For everything this series really excels at there’s a rather large drawback around the corner. It boasts some excellent central performances (especially from Andre Holland and Amandla Stenberg who portray the strained father/daughter dynamic absolutely brilliantly. The series has an incredibly strong sense of atmosphere not just around the club of the title but the streets the give off a well-worn lived in vibe through a combination of good location work, editing and cinematography. He may only direct the opening two episodes but in terms of narrative its prime Chazelle with a perfectionist musician struggling to not only maintain his club but his perfectionist nature getting in the way of those around him especially his daughter. This leads nicely into the first major drawback of this Season.
Eight episodes may not be a huge commitment in the age of streaming but with most hitting a full hour and Chazelles opening episodes clocking in at seventy minutes apiece the pacing feels incredibly sluggish for the amount of plot covered. This series tries to cover up its lack of plot with extended musical sequences that do feel very on brand for a project that is Chazelle adjacent but unfortunately for as effective as the sequences might be within a vacuum in the context of the overall package they come across as extended filler and this is a massive shame considering how well Chazelles work have been able to weave the musical sequences in as part of the overall narrative structure but none of that happens here. It’s incredibly frustrating especially when outside of how they are used within the context of the overall season the musical sequences are objectively well handled.
The season itself has a very odd structure with an overarching plot across the whole thing but large chunks of all the episodes are dedicated to telling a specific character story that may relate to the main plot in some way but in some ways the specific character plots could be their own individual short films. Tales From The Loop on Amazon Prime is excellent at using this structure but here it comes across as massively clunky. After episode three the individual characters aren’t given enough time within the main plot so that the audience will care about them when it comes round to their specific episode.
The Eddy was an incredibly frustrating watch. All the elements of potential greatness are there but This series is a poorly paced mess where the great elements especially the performances redeem what would otherwise be very dull. Feel confident in saying this is the weakes Chazelle affiliated project thus far and given his usually high standards it may stay that way for a very long time.