The Bear is ambitious, anxiety-inducing and mesmerising – and it’s definitely not for everyone. But for people who love dark and quirky shows, this one might be for you.

It follows the life of top restaurateur Carmy (think young Michelin star-type guy) who is taking over his late brother’s sandwich shop in downtown Chicago.

The show flaunts a star-studded cast, along with some promising newcomers. Shameless star Jeremy Allen White leads the show as the gritty, tortured chef. This role isn’t far off White’s edgy portrayal of that show’s Lip Gallagher, whose endear him to the audience.

Starring beside him is Jon Bernthal – known for roles in The Walking Dead and The Punisher, who makes a more subtle, yet charming impact in The Bear. He plays Carmy’s late brother, Mike, and appears in cameos throughout the show.

The show does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are in the kitchen with them – invested and stressed. Almost like Carmy is going to look at you through the screen and ask you how the sauce is going.

This show could have easily turned into a frenzied mess – but the chaotic nature of it, mimicking the chaotic pivots of Carmy’s life is at times brilliant. Each directorial choice was made on purpose – and you can tell. The cinematography feels closer to a feature film than a TV series, with constant panning shots, motifs and third-wall breaks.

As things get heated in the kitchen, tempers flare and voices are raised, director Christopher Storer makes the audience feel as if they are experiencing it in real time – because it’s all one shot. One such sequence mid-series lasts for 18 minutes.

It all makes you feel like you are running out of time, and it’s not necessarily for people who love to binge-watch their TV.

At times, the content can be dark – but it’s also raw, gritty and funny. It represents how grief can manifest in everyday life, and quickly send you spiralling.

Newcomer Ayo Edebiri’s performance of Sydney (the sous chef) is extremely convincing – she’s young and naïve but also headstrong and passionate – which makes her equal parts liekable and annoying. She’s independent and says it how it is, and viewers come to appreciate her level head amongst the chaos.

The Bear‘s excellent ensemble cast includes Ebon Moss-Bachrach (playing Carmy’s hood ‘cousin’), easily the show’s most infuriating character. He’s loud, chaotic, and disrespectful. He has a disdain for anything that resembles order or authority… but he’s also grieving, trying to hold onto his best friend. Although difficult to watch at times, the show does a great job of reminding you that he’s human and viewers will be (purposely) frustrated by the amount of rage and contrasting sympathy he evokes.

At the show’s heart, though, is Carmy’s relationship with his inherited kitchen family, and the time it takes to build bonds between the characters.

The Bear is one of the latest productions from FX Productions’ discography and has been renewed for a second season. The company has made television hits such as Sons of Anarchy and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

FX’s The Bear is available to stream on Disney+ Star.

Main image supplied by Disney.