Brief spoilers for the second episode of "The Beast" coming up just as soon as I tell you how I like my coffee...
Based on both the minimal comments last week and the surprisingly low premiere ratings (good reviews or bad, you'd assume at least a little rubbernecking factor), it doesn't seem as if too many people around these parts are interested in "The Beast" talk. And that may be fine: Thursday nights are a traffic jam for me, and I'm still on the fence about the show through these two episodes (which are the ones I got to see in advance).
There were some improvements here from the pilot, namely Larry Gilliard Jr. getting promoted from one of a bunch of guys trying to get Swayze's partner to flip on him into the only guy doing it. No doubt the producers liked what they saw out of Gilliard in the pilot (that or they watched "The Wire" season one) and decided to get more out of him.
But I think the show's still being too vague about what Swayze's allegedly doing and why it's bad. I'm not asking the writers to put all their cards on the table by the end of the second episode, but right now things are so unclear as to be uninteresting, and Swayze's gruffness and Gilliard's piercing stare will only take me so far.
I'm also not in love with doing these relatively self-contained undercover operations. There's often a desire for shows like these to have a procedural plot in each episode to make it easier for new or casual viewers, but what's always interested me about undercover work are the long-term aspects of it: the difficulty of having to live your cover for an extended period, the risk of growing too close to your target, and all the other things that made a show like "Wiseguy" so good. Showing Swayze and Tarzan getting in and out of a cover by the end of each episode not only makes those cases forgettable, but it makes what they do seem less special somehow.
Anyway, I'm in for a few more weeks, and we'll see how much two of the three main performances are going to keep me interested beyond that.
What did everybody (or anybody) else think?