The first season of AMC's restaurant in the Bronx television show came to a close with an explosive and highly inconclusive ending. These first ten episodes served as set up for a much longer plot but dropped some juicy twists along the way. Much of the show was rather predictable and slow, but this new drama crafted likable characters with two recognizable actors in David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess as the best friends who hope to open the restaurant, that I stuck with it and would tune in again next season.
The restaurant Therio, Greek, or maybe Italian, for beast, is not conveniently located with an address in a crime-ridden area of New York. Sturgess's Dion Patras becomes entrenched with a Polish gangster, the Tooth Fairy (Micahel Gladis) and a crooked cop (Michael Rispoli). Patras is an up and coming chef with incredible talent and his cooking helps him escape more than a few hard scrapes despite promiscuity and a coke habit that leaves him hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Meanwhile, Schwimmer's Tommy Moran drinks and grieves for his lost wife who passed away in a hit-and-run car accident and attempts to care for his mute son TJ (Elijah Jacob). Schwimmer has mastered the hapless loser but still needs to work on his drunk acting. A viewer can't help but feel sorry for the bumbling, yet likable loser as he discovers awful secrets about his wife and best friend and the history of the previous restaurant they once worked in.
All of this drama plays out as they try to stay afloat during a rough opening of the restaurant. The first-time manager Pilar Herrera (Lorenza Izzo) adds more to the cast as she works to cover her multiple lies and juggles affections for both of the leading men. Izzo is a decent young actress but has a long way to go in what could be a fruitful career. All of the cast has decent moments, but often times take inexplicable actions and sometimes fall flat in their performances.
Feed the Beast is not a boundary-pushing show and will hardly hit many top ten lists for the year. With so much television to watch, it's hard to recommend this show unless one is very interested in the restaurant business but not looking to learn much detail into how a successful place is opened. The show has interesting drama points but also suffers from being released during a time when so many shows are using such similar plot trick and turns. This show finds itself at the bottom of what AMC has to offer somewhere between Halt and Catch Fire and Turn: Washington Spies as a summer holdover while they wait for the zombies to rise up again and desperately search for a new ad-man or meth-dealing chemistry teacher from which they original gained dominance in the original series realm.