While the feature of the show is initially around Patrick Swayze's starring role, I got the chance to preview the first two episodes of the new series, and while Swayze holds his own very well as the show star, it doesn't become the Swayze show.
The plot is instantly intense, thick, and intriguing, but the issue I quickly ran into was that with so many great cop/agent shows out there that have an edge of humor, The Beast takes such a strong dive back into the deep drama end of the pool that it seems overly dramatic many times throughout the episodes.
It seems all the characters and the show in general takes itself too seriously as it was pure drama constantly with no comic relief, which of course seems like it wouldn't fit with the tone of the show, but unfortunately this lends itself to a few laughs anyway as the characters make overly dramatic gestures with their over-dramatic reactions to many occurrences. For instance, even in a heavy FBI drama, I can't imagine why newbie agent Ellis Dove found it necessary to throw down his cereal bowl, smashing it to smithereens after a confusing and frustrating meeting with a fellow FBI agent who "mysteriously" showed up in Dove's apartment.
But the slight dramatic silliness aside, the dark, gritty tone of the show is quite appealing and the city of Chicago makes for the perfect background with its wintery bleakness adding to the chill of the drama and distrust surrounding and engulfing the plot and characters.
While this set-up was very well done and draws the viewers in, there was so much packed into the first episodes that was meant to let us get to know the characters and begin to see the main plot and the subplot that I was left a bit confused about what actually happened in the episodes besides the basic idea of the set-up. That may have been the point they wanted to get across, but it didn't seem entirely clear that there wasn't a whole lot more we were meant to understand and remember from those episodes.
As far as those main and subplot storylines, the intriguing one actually was the subplot that the FBI suspects Barker of going rogue and are therefore trying to convince Dove to help them dig up dirt on Barker to prove that, but overall, the story is solid, Swayze is solid, and Fimmel shows promise as a strong Swayze sidekick. This one is definitely worth checking out for yourself, so tune in tonight on A&E at 10PM to see if The Beast will be one of your midseason favs and if it turns you Swayze crazy all over again!
Check out some promo videos and photos of the show: