Pilot Perception: Feed the Beast

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show – today AMC’s Feed the Beast – in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: Feed the Beast, AMC in the U.S. and Canada, Tuesdays at 10/9c

The Pedigree: Based on the Danish series Bankerot, the U.S. version was developed and executive produced by Clyde Phillips (Dexter). Steve Schill (Law & Order: SVU) directed the first episode.

The Cast & How You Know Them: Feed the Beast stars David Schwimmer (Friends) and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), along with Lorenza Izzo (Hemlock Grove), John Doman (Gotham), Michael Gladis (Extant), Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and young newcomer Elijah Jacob.

The Premise: Childhood friends Dion and Tommy finally pursue their dream of starting a restaurant, after being derailed by problems including Dion’s addiction and incarceration and the death of Tommy’s wife. Except they do it with funding from the mob. Clearly nothing can go wrong with this plan.

A Taste:

What Works: The concept here includes a lot of elements I like – long-running, complicated friendships, complex family relationships, food and restaurants, organized crime. And I’ve liked both stars quite a lot in other things. It has a good sense of place, and even the limited food and cooking footage in the first episode left me wanting to see more of that.

What Doesn’t: As I suggested above, this show sounded like exactly my kind of thing on paper . . . but I wound up pretty disappointed by the first episode. It felt pretty flat; the writing was serviceable at best. And it just didn’t offer much that was compelling. I’ll try another episode or two, but this first one left me thoroughly uninterested.

Our Favorite Line: “The way I see it, you either burn it down or you build it up.”

You Might Like This if you like dramas focusing on complicated, long-running interpersonal relationships, organized crime shows, or just if you enjoy a lot of food, restaurant, and wine talk.

If You’re Interested: AMC is rerunning the pilot tonight (Tuesday, June 7th) at 9/8c before the second episode in its normal timeslot of 10/9c. Or catch it on demand.

(Photo courtesy of AMC.)

About Kate

Kate Linnea Welsh is a New Hampshire-based writer and taxonomist. (No, that doesn't involve dead animals.) She keeps us up to date on TV news in her weekly column "Caffeine." She writes about other TV shows, books, and more at her blog and her site Read the Screen. She'd love to talk to you on Twitter: @katelinnea