FEED THE BEAST, SERIES PREMIERE PLOT SUMMARY:
After an early release from prison, the mob tasks chef Dion Patras (Jim Sturgess) with starting a gourmet restaurant to pay his debt. Unfortunately, convincing his best friend and business partner Tommy (David Schwimmer) to agree is easier said than done.
In the pantheon of strange show ideas, Feed the Beast ranks pretty high. A chef opens a restaurant in a crime-filled part of the Bronx. You have to give AMC credit though; it’s original. Well, mostly, considering it’s based off a Danish series. But how many episodes can you really squeeze out this premise? It would probably work better as a movie, like many TV shows, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be any sort of box office success. Just look at the show. It wasn’t even on my trending bar on Twitter. Instead I saw hashtags about the Miss USA pageant, the NBA Finals, and Game of Thrones. Remember when Hannibal went up against the NBA Finals last year? NBC decided to cancel it. You couldn’t have picked a worst premiere date and time.
To make matters much worse, the show is nothing special. It’s not terrible, but you really have to wonder what made AMC greenlight the show to begin with. The dialogue is so on the nose in a few parts. Often, situations are either boring or bizarre, like when Dion has sex with his lawyer in prison. This occurs in a locked room with no view inside, but don’t you think that this could wait? He’s getting out of a jail. He’ll have time later. I really think the writers just chose to do it this way because it’s unique and sexier.
There are some good aspects to the premiere, the best being the leads, David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess. They have nice chemistry and elevate the material. One moment that stands out is when Tommy pours his heart to a grief management group. His depression and alcoholism after his wife’s death is beyond cliché, but he sells it. I dare say it’s the best acting Schwimmer has done all year, which is high praise considering he was great in The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Another positive, albeit lesser, is the cooking. Maybe it’s just because I’m a layman, but it’s pretty interesting to see what creative dishes Dion comes up with. The show does go a bit overboard though and I imagine it would get old without any substance. (People didn’t watch Hannibal to see Dr. Lecter cook, as beautiful as his creations were). If only this was real life and this was a real restaurant.
Despite my complaints about AMC’s scheduling of this premiere, I don’t think that it would benefit that much more from a different date. It might help a little in the short term, but this show is doomed to be cancelled. Its blend of original content with familiar crime drama fails to captivate, outside good performances by Schwimmer and Sturgess.
Supposedly AMC has ordered 10 episodes for this season, but I imagine it will can the show halfway through or earlier and make the final episodes online only or something.
RATING: 5.5 OUT OF 10 (PASSABLE ENTERTAINMENT)
FEED THE BEAST NORMALLY AIRS TUESDAYS AT 10PM ON AMC
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky