Tuesday, August 02, 2016

TV Tuesday: Feed the Beast

I recently finished watching season 3 of The Fosters (one of my faves) and season 2 of The Mysteries of Laura, so I was at loose ends for a show to watch on my own, on the rare occasions I am alone! I ran through my list of shows to try (ever-growing) and remembered Feed the Beast, starring David Schwimmer, which started in June. I've watched four episodes now and am enjoying it.

Schwimmer, of Friends Fame, plays Tommy Moran, father of an adorable 10-year old boy named T.J. Tommy's wife and T.J.'s mother died recently in a car crash, and both father and son are suffering. Tommy is clearly depressed and drinking too much, and T.J. hasn't spoken since his mother's death. Meanwhile, Tommy's old friend, Dion (played by Jim Sturgess), gets let out of prison early. Before he's even released (while changing his clothes), Dion has already done coke and had sex with his lawyer, so you know this guy is bad news.

Tommy, his wife, Rie, and Dion had planned to open their own restaurant in the Bronx. Dion is an excellent chef who cooked for the guards in prison (they hated to see him leave), and Tommy is world-class sommelier (wine expert). Rie had drawn up designs for their restaurant, but with her death, Tommy gave up on his dream. He and T.J. are living in the old warehouse they had planned to restore for the restaurant. Dion finds Tommy when he gets out of prison and immediately begins to convince him to resurrect their dreams.

What Tommy doesn't know is that Dion owes a mobster $600,000 and is being threatened to pay or else. The mobster, Patrick Wolchek (played by Michael Gladis, a familiar face from Mad Men), also threatens to hurt Tommy and T.J. if Dion doesn't pay up. So, although Dion does want to bring their dreams to life and open his own restaurant, he doesn't tell Tommy that the need to earn a lot of money quickly is life-threateningly urgent. Desperate for start-up capital, Dion convinces Tommy to ask his estranged father, played by John Doman from The Wire, to invest in their restaurant. That raises a whole new set pf problems, since Tommy's father is a horrible bigot, and T.J. is multi-racial.

So, you can see, right from the first episodes, that there is a lot going on in the show. There is also grief counseling for Tommy, a possible future romantic interest, bullying at school for T.J., and Dion's drug problem. It's a complex, intricate web of challenges and secrets. I had never seen David Schwimmer do anything but comedy before, but this is a serious drama, tackling issues of death, being a single parent, starting a new business, family....and yeah, and the Mob.

I'm enjoying the show so far and am interested to see where it goes. The main characters are in peril right from episode 1 (whether they all know it or not), so there is some suspense in addition to drama. You know that Dion's lies and secrets will eventually get the main characters in serious trouble, but you are still rooting for things to work out, especially where Tommy and T.J. are concerned. I also love delicious food and cooking, so I'm finding that aspect interesting as well, as they plan their restaurant.

Feed the Beast is an AMC show still currently airing its first season - tonight is the season finale. All episodes are available On Demand (until 10/1/2016) and free on the AMC website. It is also available on Amazon Prime for $1.99 an episode or $17.99 for the season (link below).

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