Deborah Ayorinde leads a great ensemble as Riches delivers a family-driven drama that keeps you invested.
We review the Prime Video series Riches season 1, which does not contain spoilers.
We have an original series from Prime Video that focuses on a super-successful family that sees some massive dominos fall when the passing of the man at the top starts a trickle-down effect throughout the family in Riches. Does the series stand out, or will it be another show that fails to catch our attention? Let’s dive in.
Early in the series, we meet Stephen Richards, the head of the table, riding a high with his company. Then, we meet Nina, who just closed the biggest deal in the company she worked for in history and is getting ready to become the head of the company. As Nina prepares to celebrate the big news, she gets a phone call from Stephen, who she quickly hangs up on moments later. Shortly after, we see Stephen get ill and fall to the ground. At the hospital, the family starts to arrive, but we find out that he has passed away.
After much convincing from her brother Simon, Nina and he head to their father’s funeral. At the reading of Stephen’s will, he hands down money to each of his kids and to his wife he leaves his house. However, when it comes time for his company shares, Nina and Simon receive every single share of the company. His current wife goes OFF, along with the rest of the family, while Nina and Simon are floored by what just transpired. I mean, it makes sense, considering Nina is in the middle of running a successful business stateside. Of course, this set up the dynamics for what was ahead for the series.
The entire series plays as one big chess match with Claudia, who tries to challenge the will while Nina and Simon try to put together the pieces of their father’s untimely death. One of the things about a chess match on a show is that it must make you invest in the characters and their motives. You have one side of the fence that is used to living this luxurious life, and now that Nina is in the fold, she is making them scramble to do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t lose that life. I loved the dynamic here because the desperate nature brought out some incredible performances.
Our lead is Deborah Ayorinde, who delivers a star-turning performance in the role of Nina. While on top of her game, like most people, Nina was a layered and complex character who suffered from a past with unsolved resolutions. Ayorinde does a great job of handling each of these layers with conviction. In addition, she had some intense dialogue-driven moments that floor you throughout the series. I was blown away by this performance.
While the series doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to a series based on greed, it does have some strong twists and turns that keep things interesting. I loved how the writers showed their cards early on but still played with your mind throughout. One of the other brilliant things they did was have a great comedic undertone. You have a very intense series that needed some light moments, and they provided that.
Overall, led by an electric performance by Deborah Ayorinde, Riches is a strong family-driven show that is an easy binge. I was pretty impressed by every layer of this show because this genre isn’t something new, but they fought the cliches to do just enough to stand apart. I highly recommend this show as it is one of my favorites of 2022.
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