The Beast: The Complete First Season

The Beast: The Complete First Season
No matter what else is written about The Beast, a show about an undercover FBI agent who doesn't play by the rules, it will probably best be remembered as Patrick Swayze's final role. And there's both an upside and a downside to that because while the show is pretty mediocre, Swayze is rather good as Charles Barker, and is easily the best thing about The Beast. In The Beast, Barker is one of those agents who's been around the block several times and gets the job done no matter what. That means he uses controversial methods that might not always be acceptable to his bosses but his results help take the edge off. He's been paired with rookie agent Ellis Dove (played by Travis Fimmel) and very soon Dove finds himself trying to deal with the fact that Internal Affairs wants him to spy on Barker, whom they suspect may have gone rogue. It plays out like a milder version of The Shield, which is obviously a huge influence, although it doesn't quite hit those highs. The problem is that the series takes itself way too seriously. Every line is delivered with such earnestness despite the fact that dialogue really isn't very good. The plots are uninspired and the grittiness that's supposed to make the show stand out from the crowd seems clichéd and rather dull. Yet when Swayze is onscreen, he instantly becomes the focal point and almost manages to elevate the writing to something a lot better. Almost. The 13 episodes represent the entire series, as A&E has cancelled The Beast. It was blamed on Swayze's cancer but to be perfectly honest, it's hard to see where they could have taken this. The darker edge needed to be ramped up dramatically to give it more credibility and make it more engaging yet it couldn't without moving to another network. The extras are pretty inconsequential. There is a short "behind the scenes" feature for each episode, which don't go into much detail, being just a couple of minutes long each. (Sony)