Pilot: “Feed the Beast”

The hardest thing about a pilot is that you’re more likely than not, going to get a less than exciting episode. It’s the first one to the series, so there are certain marks that need to be hit. One hopes though that there’s some actual creativity used in order to achieve this, or the start of the series could very well be the end.

The new Lionsgate Television series “Feed the Beast”, isn’t as exciting as I was expecting, except maybe where the food is concerned.

This drama stars David Schwimmer (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” “Episodes”), Jim Sturgess (“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken”, “Stonehearst Asylum”), Lorenza Izzo (“Holidays” “Knock, Knock”), Michael Gladis (“Elementary”, “The Librarians”), John Doman (“Gotham”, “Madam Secretary), Christine Adams (“Real Husbands of Hollywood”, “Castle”), and Elijah Jacob.

The series was developed by Clyde Phillips (“Nurse Jackie”, “Dexter”). It is based on the Danish series Bankerot.

The series debuted on June 5, 2016 on AMC.

As it turns out, jumping into a little known show may not be the best way to go. I’d only heard of this because I was catching up on “Fear the Walking Dead”, but even then I hadn’t fully looked into it. I’d allowed the TV spots to do the work. So, in some ways, I was excited enough,, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now that the pilot has come and gone, I’m not sure if I hate myself or am just a bit disappointed in the final product. Hell, in some ways, I’m not even sure if those emotions are the best to have right now. Maybe it’s all a bit premature. I do know I’ll need to watch a few more episodes to see if I want to stick with it.

Okay, so, unlike with this episode, which I went into a bit too excited, I must admit, I’m going to do my best and not makes this as painful as the experience of watching it. I think that’s doable. Granted, and this is the good and bad part, there isn’t much to say. Hell, there isn’t much to hope for either.

I will say, which doesn’t surprise me, that this series is keeping the character driven aspect, which made so many other shows on this network successes, alive! Some of the best shows I’ve seen, even after they’ve left the air, have been character driven dramas. This show seems to have that going, and because of it, this also became a very long hour and 10 minutes. You got so much from it, mainly through badly executed exposition, but that’s also to be expected. It is a pilot after all. However, even with all that, I still couldn’t fully come around to giving two shits about the two lead characters. If I couldn’t even do that, you can forget about being at all interested in the supporting characters, many of whom will no doubt be seen throughout the rest of the season.

That being said, a bit of what makes this show attractive, which is what the network was clearly hoping for, are stars Sturgess and Schwimmer. Sturgess is by far more interesting, but that’s because he’s actually an incredibly charismatic person. You can quickly see this, even though his character is a drug addicted ex-con, who has a lot of enemies. Schwimmer’s character lost his wife, and he and his kid are trying to get through a life that is still upside down. Not to be insensitive to his character or those who actually lose people in this tragic manner, but nothing about Schwimmer’s character was enough to get me to care. Everything about him came off as obnoxious and tiresome, not to mention, very original or even executed in an interesting fashion. Sturgess’ character suffered from this too, but I can forgive him as he’s charismatic. Mind you, that being said, if the next nine episodes don’t pick up considerably, that won’t be at all enough for me to watch the next season.

The biggest upside, which is a slight plus, or should be, but isn’t, is the food. It takes center stage as it really is the best thing about this overall episode. Well, unless you’re hungry and then you’ll probably just be thinking of food. I was, and I’d already eaten dinner by the time the episode came on. The shots of the food that Sturgess’ character creates were well cut and looked amazing! I almost thought I was watching “MasterChef”! Then the food making would stop and the drama of this somewhat boring show wold resume. When I missed about 10 minutes of content, I still oddly knew what was going on, or felt I did and was able to connect the dots. That’s not the worst part. I was okay missing them and din’t feel the need to rewind and catch them. In some ways, this is good as it shows this series will be an easy one to follow. At the same time, if you can’t interest me in even those 10 minutes, let alone to stay put for a little over an hour, you’re clearly doing something wrong. I do know that if I fall behind, I won’t have this overwhelming need to catch up.

In most cases, a dull and clunky pilot episode can be excused, but in some, it’s a major hurdle. If one can’t sit though a pilot, and find anything all that worthy of their time, there’s less of a chance that watching the series will be a good idea. Sometimes it could just be that it’s a pilot, and more time will need to be spent with the show. Other times, possibly like this one, it’s quite simply because the episode and series are bad. No amount of time is ever going to help with that, or improve the quality of the show.

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