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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Thriller > Police > Spy > FBI > TV Series > The Beast – The Complete First Season (2009/Sony DVD)

The Beast – The Complete First Season (2009/Sony DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Episodes: B-



While most action TV series have been the same tired, phony formula mess, The Beast (2009) is a big surprise and easily the best show about the FBI since The X-Files and though there is nothing supernatural here, there is great writing, action, plotting, casting and the A&E Network may have just killed it!  What!!!


Yes, despite how good the show was, they could not or would not stick with it, the promotion and buzz is not what the show deserved and it is finished on that network.  After watching the 13 hour-long shows that were produced, I cannot believe this was not a bigger hit.  After too many over-scientific (and often dumb) police procedurals where the police are unrealistically saintly and/or the system they are in is never questioned (sometimes dangerously so), it is nice to see a smart, clever, gritty, realistic kind of show we used to see all the time.


Patrick Swayze lands one of the bets roles of his career and gives it his all as FBI agent Charles Barker, a veteran operator who is radical, unethical and may be going rogue.  Because of this, he has been assigned to work with a newer agent, Ellis Dove (a surprisingly good performance by Travis Fimmel, a one-time model and Tarzan who proves his action star credentials here) who is really there to look in on him and investigate him.  Dove finds out that nothing is as simple as that and each show has a new case, but also the longer subplot arc.  They all work.


The fine writing comes from a group, including William Rotko, who wrote the highly underrated Breach (2007, see our coverage elsewhere on this site) co-created the show with character actor Vincent Angell and they have created a winner that deserves a bigger audience, Emmy recognition and renewal for another season.


Whether A&E changes their mind or not, Sony should defiantly renew the show on their own and do an entire second season or even get crazier and follow up with a big screen feature film with even more action, edge and solid writing.  However, the writers have managed to annihilate the TV grind of writing and any network with a brain should consider picking this up if A&E drops it.  Either way, if you like this kind of show and have not been impressed (give or take the underrated Burn Notice), you’ll want to see The Beast as soon as possible.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has some stylizing that is not bad, but it causes some softness here throughout the episodes, though I wish Sony had issued this on Blu-ray, but if we are lucky, that will happen soon enough.  Good thing the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is aggressive, has a good soundfield, is well-recorded and offers some of the best sound from a TV show yet.  The only extras are previews for other Sony releases and a five-part behind-the-scenes piece of the show.


Given one more season, this could be seen as a potential classic.  I hope it gets that chance and this set is a surprise hit!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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