Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Fill In The Blank

Hard to believe, but in a few weeks there'll be no more Game Of Thrones Silicon Valley and Veep stll be leaving soon as well.  Which means I have some room opening up for new TV shows. (I guess I could read a book or take a walk, but let's be serious.) So I just checked out two programs on AMC--the place that has become the second-best channel for drama after HBO.  The shows are Preacher and Feed The Beast.

Preacher is based on a comic book series.  I'm not surprised, with such extravagant characters and hyper-violence. Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a small-town preacher in West Texas, has a shady past, but he's trying to move beyond it. Meanwhile, a mysterious entity from outer space flies around the globe inserting itself in religious leaders, but then, when they don't work out, exploding those bodies.  Then it enters Custer and he, apparently, can take it (or the entity likes it) and suddenly he's got the power to make people do what he says.  He's not aware of the power at first (I've watched two episodes) so it can cause trouble.  He's also not aware that there are some ruthless guys searching for this entity and anyone whom it inhabits.

Custer still has trouble controlling his violent side, but decides to keep tending to his flock.  Meanwhile, Tulip (Ruth Negga), literally his old partner in crime, has some new escapade planned and insists Custer join in, though he says he's turned a new leaf.

In another twist (which should be considered bad writing, since we've already had our coincidence with the entity coming to West Texas), an Irish vampire (Joseph Gilgun) named Cassidy drops in.  People are always chasing after him, and in his most recent battle he had to jump off a plane, landing nearby.  Soon he's Custer's best friend.

There are also a lot of eccentrics in the town, and a lot of backstory hinted at.  I'm sure we'll learn more as the show goes along (or as readers of Preacher spoil it for us).  Movie partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg developed the show, and directed the first two episodes.

Feed The Beast is about two guys, Tommy Moran (David Schwimmer) and Dion Patras (Jim Sturgess), starting a restaurant in the Bronx, but they're buried under complications (even more serious than living in the Bronx).  They used to work in a fancy restaurant--Dion was the chef and Tommy the sommelier--along with Rie, Tommy's wife.  They planned to open a new place--even bought the space (real estate is still cheap in the Bronx, I guess) but Tommy burned down the restaurant where they worked and was sent up the river.

The place was owned by tough guys who seem to control the Bronx, and in the pilot (titled "Pilot Light") the tough guys get Dion out early so they can catch him, rough him up, and let him know he owes them 600 grand.  Meanwhile, Tommy's got his own problem--Rie died in a hit-and-run accident and he's become a depressed alcoholic. (Dion prefers blow.) Also, Tommy's young son T.J. has stopped talking.  Dion plans to skip town, but the tough guys--headed by the "Tooth Fairy," who pulls your teeth out if you don't pay--warn him if he leaves they'll kill everyone he loves, so he decides to stick around.  He has to convince Tommy to join in, even if he is grieving.

If that's not enough, there's Dion's uncle who runs a whorehouse, there's his lovely lawyer with whom he's having an affair, there's a good-looking woman Tommy meets at grief counseling, there's Tommy's rich and racist dad whom they need to bankroll the restaurant, and there's a cop who's chasing after the Tooth Fairy, putting heat on Dion to deliver evidence.  The whole thing is based on a Danish series and has been developed by Clyde Phillips of Dexter.

Both shows merit further study.  Preacher has gotten fine reviews, and is pretty well done, though it's not the kind of thing I usually go for. I'd prefer something a little more realistic (though if I buy the characters, I'll put up with plenty--two of my favorite shows, after all, have been Lost and Game Of Thrones).

Feed The Beast, on the other hand, has gotten rotten reviews, and is filled with clichés.  But I like the idea of guys opening a restaurant. However, it seems that's not enough, so it's been filled with all sorts of tiresome ideas.  Take the sad son--do I really need to see this character dragging down the action each week (even if the restaurant helps him get better)?  Schwimmer's character is whiney enough without having him constantly worry about his kid.  Much worse is the cop who wants to play Dion.  The mob angle isn't great, but I could live with it.  However, if Dion is a double agent (he gets two fingers broken in separate incidents in the pilot--don't they realize he needs those fingers?) it sounds like he'll be too busy working out those plots to be a chef.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fancy restaurant in the Bronx will not fly. Restaurants are generally not destinations, and rely on foot traffic or easy access. An empty lot in the Bronx won't work, no matter how gentrified they think the area will become.

1:24 AM, June 08, 2016  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Is that specific to New York and similar areas (of course there are no similar areas to NY, but you know what I mean), or does it apply to generic hinterlands?

It seems as if in the hinterlands that's all such places are, is destinations. Where else you gonna go?

There are indeed exceptions; Columbus has an area called the Short North that is phenomenal and functions as you say (and of course all the gain is immediately siphoned off into rent for the facility). I'd love to know the median profitability for the bars and restaurants in this strip.

3:20 AM, June 08, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short North is a whole area where people can hang out. How many popular restaurants are there in the middle of nowhere? In the restaurant biz, even for a fancy place, just being a few blocks away from the action can be deadly.

8:47 AM, June 08, 2016  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Restaurants are always failing...its just a question of how quickly

8:55 AM, June 08, 2016  
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4:30 AM, July 08, 2016  

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