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Review: 'Beauty And The Beast' Only Skin Deep

Beauty And The Beast

A new reimagining of the drama that ran on CBS from 1987 until 1990, The CW's Beauty And The Beast has none of the charm and even less of the imagination. Not that the original series was a television masterpiece, but it had Ron Perlman bringing real emotion and gravitas to the role of the beastly Vincent. The titular Beast of this particular tale is basically a hybrid of Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. Enlisting after his brother was killed in the Twin Tower attacks on September 11, 2001, Vincent Keller MD (yep, he's a doctor now, naturally) was part of a test program receiving injections from the United States Army, turning him and his comrades into supersoldiers. Unfortunately, the only drawback was that when their adrenaline kicked in, they turned into uncontrollable monsters, so the government shut down the program and ordered the test subjects eradicated.

Jay Ryan
So instead of being a hideous freak of nature, this Vincent looks like a male underwear model with a light scar on his cheek. This is the CW, after all. When he transforms, he looks more like a vampire from the WB's Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but that is only for a few fleeting moments. The rest of the time, he looks like he belongs on the cover of Teen Beat magazine (is that even a real thing?), which makes his brooding about not being "human" all the more ridiculous. The network claims that they made the change because this character's story is about his inner scars. Give me a break. Realizing that an ugly or deformed male lead would reduce the marketability of the show, the producers knew they had to pretty him up if they wanted a slice of that sweet Twilight pie.

Jay Ryan and Kristin Kreuk
The rest of the show is a mish-mash of romantic soap and police procedural, because this version's Catherine Chandler is a budding detective who joined the force after watching her mother gunned down. Just in case you weren't sure which audience this show is trying to attract, she's the kind of detective who uses her police lights and siren to park illegally so she can stop off for a quick chat with the guy she's seeing. When she discovers he has dumped her via a text message she didn't get *and* he has a date with him, Catherine abuses her authority by flashing her badge and alerting security that he has marijuana on him. We also meet her partner at the station, a sassy minority partner of black and/or hispanic descent who is always ready to be sassy in any situation with a sassy one-liner or sassy body language.

Nina Lisandrello and Kristin Kreuk
In the role of Catherine Chandler, Kristin Kreuk is easily the one redeeming feature of this new series. Not only is she adorable, but she gives a very convincing performance and kicks some ass in the fight scenes. If you can accept the idea of a wafer-thin woman beating the hell out of two larger men and another woman, the fight scenes are actually shot well and provided some action to break up the monotony. There's also a mysterious back story involving her mother's murder and shadowy authority figures who are tracking her that should satisfy those viewers who enjoy an underlying mythology.

Kristin Kreuk
With its shallow emphasis on the superficial and its derivative nature, Beauty And The Beast is a perfect fit on the CW alongside Vampire Diaries. While I will personally never watch another episode, there's a good chance that this series reboot will find its intended audience. There's enough mystery and forbidden romance to hook the young female demographic, and just enough action and superhero tropes presented for their boyfriends to watch it with them. The biggest upside for me was that I found out I get WGN Chicago in my cable package, which I did not know until I searched for this show. Aside from an admirable attempt by Kristin Kreuk to carry the show on her slender shoulders, Beauty And The Beast is just another soulless remake.

FINAL GRADE: C-


Details
Person:
- Jay Ryan
- Kristin Kreuk
- Nina Lisandrello
- Max Brown
Show:
- Beauty and the Beast (2012)
Network:
- CW

Written by: Chrononaut
Oct 13th, 2012, 4:49 am

Anonymous

Message Posted On Nov 24th, 2012, 2:28 am
Interesting comments. IMHO, (as a reviewer and comics geek), taking away the rose coloured glasses of time, this version of B&B is much sharper and more interesting than the original. The series has started to develop well over the six episodes I have seen, and I look forward to a few interesting surprises. As for Arrow, I can only hope it continues with the momentum it seems to have started with. Its a great adaptation of the original, and like Smallville before it, doesn't seem to be afraid to make some changes. This guy makes the Batman look like a pussy, and for that reason alone I would give it a great thumbs up. However, the building back story is just as interesting as the Arrows present day actions.
just an old geeky girl

Message Posted On Nov 14th, 2012, 1:59 pm
hmm, I always take critics with a grain of salt - they seem to think they are much higher thinkers then anyone else and that they know what is and isn't good - well that isn't always the case since it is just their own personal likes and dislikes which we all have. I personally don't like the 'Vampire' ad-nausea that is going on in both the theater and TV worlds - can't wait for Twilight to be over and done with (and I use to be a HUGE vampire fan until all this killed it like a stake through the heart). BUT I find I really do enjoy these two new shows "Arrow" and "Beauty and the Beast". I use to watch the old version of B&B when I was a kid and loved it - tried to watch it again recently and laughed at its weirdness and over the top romanticism - Ron Perlman's Vincent makes such a cute kitty - and they hugged right in the very first episode - I want a hug. I like the change, I love the new Beast and Catherine's stronger butt-kicking character. The episodes are a little weak in dialogue but I think they will improve as the characters develop but all in all it is my top favorite. The Arrow is fabulous and I am thrilled there's a new hero show - I grew up reading The Green Arrow and find this show to be a great adaptation - I love the character and the action - every episode has been thrilling to watch. I hope both these shows stick around for a lot more than a season or two - I myself would be heartbroken if they got cancelled cause people decide that the critics were right and never gave these shows the chance they deserve.
lordkinbote

Level 2 (48%)
Points: 0.1
Since: 25/Feb/08
Message Posted On Nov 8th, 2012, 4:29 pm

Ugh.  This review confirmed my exact fears from just seeing the posters.  My one problem is the comparison to The Vampire Diaries.  That actually is a good show and though there were obvious comparisons to the Twilight series when it first came out (and still for those who haven't watched it), it's more interesting, full and complex than Twilight by a factor of about 20.  I don't think I could get past them calling tihs guy a "beast" enough to get through one episode of it.  I would've watched it, if it had a real beast 'cause I do like Kristin Kreuk.  Maybe if it was called something else so I wouldn't relate it to the original story or the earlier TV show.  Couldn't get past the 90's "La Femme Nikita" for similar reasons.  If they hadn't have called it that, I may have liked it, but I couldn't get past that they were screwing up the whole point of one of my favorite movies.  She IS a KILLER!  Not someone who's WRONGLY ACCUSED!!  The whole movie is about redemption!  Sheesh!  The new "Nikita" TV show makes much more sense and is more a continuation of the movie.  But, I digress.

And "Arrow" actually IS really good.  It's hard to get past Justin Hartley's version since he's kinda the first live-action version, but this guy is actually pretty good and he looks to do a lot of his own stunts, which is pretty amazing.  I liked Hartley's version of "Aquaman" much better also in the unaired pilot of the same name than the guy they had on Smallville as "A.C."

Truth be told, perhaps both this show and "Arrow" need to be viewed over more than one episode to get how good they might be.  One episode might not be enough to judge how well a show is going to be.  I might give this Beauty and the Beast a shot based on the previous commentor's view of it and comparions to "Grimm," and I'd suggest they give "Arrow" a few eps.  Although I did like it from the get-go.  If you think "Arrow" is much worse than "The Cape" (which was entertaining but HIGHLY cheesy), then I might have to take your opinion with a grain of salt.

Anonymous

Message Posted On Oct 13th, 2012, 8:37 pm
if you think arrow is campy then you dont know the meaning of the word, try watching the batman tv series from the 60´s thats campy! although i do prefer justin hartley´s version of green arrow in smallville much more true to the comics, but then again nothing beats Smallville!
Anonymous

Message Posted On Oct 13th, 2012, 4:58 pm
It's just crazy stupid how critics in droves praise campy Arrow (worst lead acting) and down realistic Beauty and the Beast. Arrow worse (much worse) than even The Cape. I guess it's just groupthink - small number of influential media said that Arrow not without floss but good, but Beauty and the Beast's Kristin Kreuk is unbelievable as police detective. And after that this just spreading. Actually, B&B reminds me of Grimm. Not superficial similarities, but whole concept of fusing procedural with underground world that supernatural on it's surface, but if you digg deeper you understand that it's still human ocupied world and same social laws happen here between participants. But participants much more weird and powerful. Basically it's sci-fi, not fantasy.
rtruell

Level 1 (36%)
Since: 17/Apr/12
Message Posted On Oct 13th, 2012, 7:35 am

"cover of Teen Beat magazine (is that even a real thing?"

 

It used to be.  Don't know if it's still in print though.

 

"We also meet her partner at the station, a sassy minority partner of black and/or hispanic descent who is always ready to be sassy in any situation with a sassy one-liner or sassy body language."

 

So....you're saying she's sassy?  :-)

 

"The biggest upside for me was that I found out I get WGN Chicago in my cable package, which I did not know until I searched for this show"

 

LOL!  Well, at least you know now that you can time-shift The CW :-)

 

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