DVD Review “Eagleheart: Season 1”

Directors: Jason Woliner, Eric Appel, Jay Karas
Starring: Chris Elliot, Maria Thayer, Brett Gelman
Distributed by Adult Swim
Running Time: 134 minutes

Season 1: 4 out of 5 stars
Extra: 4 out of 5 stars

“Eagleheart: Season 1” tells the story of bumbling U.S. Marshall Chris Monsanto (Chris Elliot) and his equally incompetent partners Susie Wagner (Maria Thayer) and Brett Mobley (Brett Gelman). Together the three carry out justice in a way that can only be found in a show produced by Conan O’Brien and shown on Adult Swim. Filled with slapstick humor, gore and the occasional parody “Eagleheart: Season 1” delivers.

The cast and crew involved with this show have a real top notch product on their hands. Even though most of the 12 episodes included in season 1 clock in at just under 15 minutes each episode is packed full of pure goodness. Chris Elliot and crew turn in some hysterical performances while the special effects department appears to be at the top of their game providing a number of over the top blood filled explosions. It was hard to pick just a few episodes to focus on for my review as I truly enjoyed them all. I found Brett Gelman to be the unsung hero of the show and even though his lines were somewhat limited the ones he did have were nothing but side splittingly funny. Maria Thayer does a good job as the somewhat confused voice of reason that only further compliments Elliot and Gelman throughout each episode.

The Special Features portion of the DVD had everything you could ask for in a Special Features section. Deleted scenes, commentary tracks and a kill reel are just a few of the things found in this section. My personal favorite was the scenes of the unaired pilot which feature a much different storyline coupled with an appearance from Conan O’Brien. If you are a fan of gore filled comedic police dramas then you will surely want to pick up a copy of “Eagleheart: Season 1”.

Chris Elliott talks about Season 2 of Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart”

Chris Elliott is the star of Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart” playing the role of US Marshall Chris Monsanto. The show is entering its second season on April 12, 2012. Chris is known for his film’s like “Groundhog Dog”, “Scary Movie 2” and “Cabin Boy”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Chris about “Eagleheart” and what we can except from the second season.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you like most about playing US Marshall Chris Monsanto this season?
Chris Elliott: It is bigger, badder and more bloodier than season one.  Also it is more surreal that season one.  It has all these different plot turns and twists, all in 11 minutes.  It feels like a bigger show than last season and I thought that last season felt really big.

MG: Each episode is 11 minutes, how do you enjoy working in that format?
CE: Even though it is only 11 minutes long, it is the hardest show I have ever worked on.  It is so jam packed.  I also have to work with Brett Gelman…so…you know that feel a little long than 11 minutes [laughs].  Maria and Brett are just brilliant.  This season we get to do more plots with the three of us not just me.  The show is more evenly divided…so I have even less work to do [laughs].

MG: The show is so over-the-top and follows no rules, have you ever been told to tone it down on the show?
CE: It been pretty much no-holds barred.  I mean, with any network, Adult Swim will have notes on some scripts but in general we are left alone to do what we do.  That is really to Adult Swim’s credit. This show cannot be done anywhere else and if it was it would be a watered-down cop parody.  This show was always planned to be this fun, surreal almost psychedelic trip.  It really feels like that to me.  So much of the show is depending on editing and how fast it moves.  Sometimes I wished I had a little more time for a moment of acting here or there but we are so short on time you have to sacrifice that for the little bit of story we are telling.  You make up for it though with the laugh that you get with just how fast this thing is moving and that is a best part of it.

MG: Is there room for improv during shooting?
CE: That is a really good question.  We are like to improvising and like playing around…and we do on the set but not usually when the cameras are rolling.  We are usually on a really tight shooting schedule.  Also we know that once these scenes get into the editing room, you can only use the essential things you need to move the story along.  So there really isn’t a lot of room for improvising.  You can change line a little here or there or an alternate joke. In terms of going crazy for a whole scene, the rare times we do get to do that it hardly ever makes it in.

MG: Well there is always room for that material on the DVD releases, right?
CE: Yeah, that’s right.  Exactly, extra content!  Well the good thing is about these writers, Michael Koman, Andrew Weinberg and Jason Woliner, is that everything is funny right on the page.  There is little need to punch anything up.  These guys are really great writers.  They are especially good writing for me since they known I don’t like to learn long lines [laughs].

MG: Are you completed with shooting the season yet?
CE: Season two is done.  We are waiting to hear about season three.  I am sure we will do another season.  Then we will see how old I look after that and well see about a season four.

MG: What is the typical length it takes to shoot each episode?
CE: Well it is hard to pin that down since we shoot a number of episodes all at once. Honestly, it is probably only about two days per episode…maybe three.  In one shooting day, we can be shooting scenes, all out of order, from three different episodes at the same time in one day.  All the scripts are written in advance.  That is the only way we can do it with the budget we have.

MG: I hear we got some pretty sweet guest stars for season two?
CE: We have Ben Stiller this season.  Dean Norris from “Breaking Bad” pops in.  We have Bud Cort from ‘Harold and Maude”.  Lastly we have Conan (‘O Brien), who has a guest appearance as well.

MG: When is “Eagleheart: The Movie” coming out [laughs]?
CE: I will honestly do anything with this creative team, Adult Swim and my co-stars.  I think we all work together really well.  We talked about if we should do a 30 minute “Eagleheart” but it would actually change the show quite a bit.  You would have to slow it down quite a bit, you couldn’t maintain that pace.  So who knows?

MG: Tell us about what we can expect from the DVD release of the first season?
CE: We did commentary on a bunch of the episodes.  There is our comic con appearance footage.  I think there is also a gag reel included as well.  It is just packed with great stuff.

Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart” Interview Series

“Eagleheart” follows US Marshall Chris Monsanto (Chris Elliott) as he fights crime with his two partners: the slow-witted Brett (Brett Gelman) and by-the-book Susie (Maria Thayer) They take on drug smugglers, art thieves, kidnappers, and con artists with bloody violence and gruesome deaths ensuing.

“Eagleheart” begins its second season on April 12, 2012 and will consist of 12 episodes. The first season of “Eagleheart” was also released on DVD on April 3, 2012. From the episodes, I have have seen in season two it is much more over-the-top and funnier than the first season.

Check out our interviews with Brett Gelman, Chris Elliott, Maria Thayer and Michael Gladis. Enjoy and please leave comments and don’t forgot to watch “Eagleheart” Thursday nights at Midnight on Adult Swim.

Brett Gelman

Chris Elliott

Maria Thayer

Michael Gladis


Related Content

Brett Gelman talks about Season 2 of Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart”

Brett Gelman has appeared in a number of films and television shows. More recently Brett has reprised his as role as Brett alongside co-stars Chris Elliot and Maria Thayer in the late night Adult Swim series “Eagleheart” Brett took time out of his busy schedule recently to talk with Media Mikes about season 2 of the show.

Adam Lawton: How is this season of “Eagleheart” going to top the craziness of season 1?
Brett Gelman: There are a lot more head explosions than last season. There is organ cutting going on and a lot more specific violence happening rather than just people exploding or getting shot. The writers picked certain body parts to explode this season. I don’t remember a lot of it because it was so traumatic for me as I am very method. I blocked a lot of it out. (Laughs)

AL: Can you tell us about some of this seasons guest starts?
BG: We have Ben Stiller and Conan O’ Brien doing an episode this season. We have Dean Norris from “Breaking Bad” and Bud Cort all coming on this season as well. I didn’t get a chance to work with Ben or Conan as their footage was shot separately. I have met those guys before and they are heroes of mine. Working with Dean was really great. He is a pro and comes right out of the gate. Bud Cort is a 70’s icon, so that was really great also.

AL: What can you tell us about Brett having a baby this season?
BG: There is two me’s in that episode. I got to act with myself which was really fun. I finally got to work with an actor that was up to my ability. (laughs) It was challenging to work with a stand in and then be the other character. The Bezoar character is the evil version of Brett and in a lot of ways he is way more of a guy than Brett will ever be. Maria and I have a lot more going on this season and it’s more of an ensemble driven show in a way. Chris is still the star but you get the sense that we are a comedy team. It was more fun to do it that way. I was excited when they gave me such a meaty episode.

AL: Do you get to see the scripts prior to shooting?
BG: We get them about a week before. Sometimes we will get major changes right before. For me it doesn’t really matter because my character is so dumb and doesn’t know what’s ever going on. It kind of works for me. (laughs)  It’s kind of like a sparrow with no short term memory. He says something then another thing happens and he forgets it.

AL: Are you allowed to improv on the scripts at all?
BG: There is not a lot of improv as we just don’t have the time. There is so much stuff that needs to be dealt with on the shoots that we are constantly racing against the clock. You are also dealing with an 11 minute show so you can improvise but, really at that point you are just wasting time. The writing is very good and well orchestrated so all the pieces fit well into the puzzle. Everything is so good that often times you don’t need to improvise.

AL: What else can we expect from the Brett character this season?
BG: He will be constantly having hallucinations this season. Things are telling him that no one likes him and he is very insecure. Wanting to be liked by everyone especially Chris’s character really drives Brett this season. There will be a lot more of Brett and Maria which is really exciting.

AL: What other projects can we be looking for you to appear in?
BG: I will be guest staring on an MTV show called “The Inbetweeners” which will be coming out this summer. I will be playing the principle of a high school. The night that “Eagleheart” airs I will be on “The Office” as well. I will be continuing with my “Gel-Mania” Podcast’s and shooting things for Funnyordie.com. Tim Heidecker and I have some plans to do some videos together, so that should be a lot of fun. I am also scheduled to shoot an independent film this summer called “Lemons” as well. I am pretty excited for that.

Maria Thayer talks about Season 2 of Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart”

Maria Thayer stars alongside Chris Elliot and Brett Gelman in the Adult Swim series “Eagleheart”. Media Mikes talked with Maria recently about the upcoming season of show and what it’s like working with such a funny cast.

Adam Lawton: What can we expect from you character Susie this season?
Maria Thayer: I think a lot more. Some really terrible things happen to Susie this season. It’s exciting! Susie is a little less uptight I think this season. She is still the sane one when being compared to Chris or Brett. I only had one fight scene last year but I have a lot more this time. I participated whole heartedly in the violence. There is one episode where I turn into a monster. That was pretty fun. I also have a relationship with a Bezoar in another episode.

AL: Did you notice any differences in the shooting this season as compared to last season?
MT: We didn’t have a lot of time last season and we really did not have a lot of time this season. It is always so fast. I think unless you are working with Clint Eastwood or someone like that  you will always feel like you didn’t have enough time. A lot of times we were shooting 5 different scenes from 5 different episodes all in one day. Sometimes it would take a second or two to remember what was happening. There are always a lot of things going on. I don’t know how the directors did it.

AL: Did you get to work with any of this season’s guest stars?
MT: I didn’t get to work with Conan O’Brian this time however I have worked with him previously. He is actually how I met two of the executive producers. When I was first in New York I did sketches on Conan. It’s funny as 10 years later I am still working with those guys. I worked with Dean Norris and he was really great. I love his other work as well.

AL: How does working on “Eagleheart” compare to working on film like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”?
MT: Everything is different. Because of the time crunch on this show and the smaller operation you get closer to everybody. We only have two writers so everyone contributes. Even though Chris, Brett and I are only together for about 10 weeks for shooting we become like a family, a dysfunctional family. I am really excited for people to be able to see the new episodes.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
MT: I have started doing a web series with Funny or Die. I have never done something on my own before so I have been blowing other things off in order to be able to do this project. The series is based around Pilot season here in Los Angeles. Janeane Garofalo is going to be in one of the episodes. The episodes are going to be me going to various auditions.