Created by: Sherri Cooper and Jenifer Levin
Network: The CW
Cast: Kristin Kreuk (1), Jay Ryan (2), Max Brown (3), Austin Basis, Nina Lisandrello, Brian White (4), Sendhil Ramamurthy (5), and Nicole Anderson (6)
I love fairytales. I always have. I grew up watching Disney movies so I love fairytales and the concept of happily ever after. Now last year, I had Beastly to sink my teeth into with regards to the trend of modernising fairytales. A lot of people hated it; but for me I kinda liked it. So when I first heard about a television series for Beauty And The Beast, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait till it was on air.
Now as I said in an earlier post on The New Normal, I usually give a television series 5 episodes of chances. This new version of Beauty And The Beast is currently 3 episodes in. If you didn’t know there was a 1987 CBS series also called Beauty And The Beast with the beauty played by Terminator lead actress Linda Hamilton and the beast played by Ron Perlman aka Hellboy in the Hellboy movies series. Sorry I digress.
Now we all know Beauty And The Beast is a love story. The Beast is mean and ugly with a kind soul somewhere deep down while the Beauty is, well, beautiful but also a not as fragile as you think kind of damsel-in-distress. With just 3 episodes to the series, the romance bit is still in the slow cooker, heating up but it ain’t ready yet. And why should it? With movies it’s all about cutting down time, with television series it’s a marathon.
I didn’t watch the original series, so I can’t say if the newer updated series is better or worse. As such, I am looking at the series in on its own in today’s context. Instead of a beast that looks half man half beast, the new “beast” Vincent Keller looks pretty normal when he’s calm and composed which makes it easier to understand why the female protagonist could fall in love with a “beast” but takes away the central concept that love conquers all and that looks are just skin deep. But let’s look at it this way, in our modern and cynical times, would you actually believe that a beautiful woman can love a beastly looking half man half animal.
Go ahead. Scream at me for being cynical or unfair in saying that ugly people cannot be loved. But I’m not talking about ugly people here; I’m talking about a half human half animal hybrid. Most people don’t believe in unicorns, or fairies, or centaurs. Sure we watch it in the movies and can suspend our logical minds and believe the fantasy components, but if you want to make it real, like it could actually happen, the “beast” would need a serious makeover and update. So CW’s Vincent Keller is their new and improved believable beast. And it works. We are talking about realistic New York City crime cases so the audience must be able to believe that the beast could actually walk among us on our streets.
Now the “beauty”; Kristin Kreuk is pretty, can I buy the fact that she’s a tough New York City detective who kicks ass even though she’s drop dead gorgeous? Yeah I can. It helps that she is actually trained in karate; helps her fighting scenes look credible. Now I like that they made the “beauty” a tough cookie like Catherine Chandler. She fights back; she has a mind of her own, yet you see her soft and vulnerable side as well.
Chemistry is very important. You have to believe that sparks could fly between your two leads. The casting director would have done a good job if the audience believes the two romantic leads can fall in love with one another. He or she would have done a phenomenal job if the audience wants the reel lovers to become real lovers. At the moment, the two leads played by Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, whom I think are doing a great job, have a pretty sizzling hot thing going on onscreen.
I am a sucker for romance so I examine every look, every action, and every line between two romantic leads to see if there’s a budding romance lurking behind those scenes. Well, they have it. Vincent Keller and Catherine Chandler nailed it in my opinion.
I also have a thing for procedural dramas especially crime related dramas. I mean I love CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: NY, Flashpoint, Bones, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Lie To Me and Hawaii Five-0. There’s something about solving crimes that gets me excited. I like to play guess the killer throughout the television hour. In regards to the crimes Catherine solves each week, I think they could put a little more effort into them but its decent enough I guess.
For a television series, besides great leads, you need to have a good supporting cast. It takes every cast member to make a series great. I can’t say I love ALL the supporting cast members. Currently of all the supporting cast members, my favourite male is TJ, Vincent’s roommate and friend. And my favourite female supporting cast member is, strangely enough, Catherine’s sister, not her partner. I think TJ has the best and funniest lines so far in the series and I think he’s got great comedic timing.
So far so good for the new series Beauty And The Beast methinks. I’d like to see more so hopefully it gets picked up for a full season. Currently, added scripts have been ordered for the show, so the jury’s still out about whether this series will stay for good or go.
As with any pilot, there’s a world to set and there are bound to be a lot of exposition and explanations. I think the pilot sets the tone of the series quite well and as mentioned earlier, I love the dynamics between the “beauty” and the “beast” and when you throw in a comedic buddy in the form of Austin Basis’s TJ Forbes I think it’s a series worth giving a shot. In fact, one of my favourite scenes between these three is near the end when JT thinks he’s managed to keep Vincent a secret when his buddy and roommate has already exposed himself to Catherine.
JT: Hi? H-Hi!? Did I miss something? Or…?
Vincent: JT you mind?
(1) Kristen Kreuk has acted in the television movie Snow White (2001) and films like Eurotrip (2004), and Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li (2009). She has also acted in television series Edgemont (2001-2005), and played Lana Lang in Smallville (2001-2009).
(2) Jay Ryan has guest starred in television series like Young Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Legend Of The Seeker, and Terra Nova. He played Jack Scully in the Australian television soap Neighbours (2002-2005) and in the New Zealand dramedy Go Girls (2009-2012).
(3) Max Brown was a series regular on the television series The Tudors (2008-2010), and Spooks (2010-2011).
The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Beauty And The Beast deserves a chance to see the season play out, at least for 13 episodes. I’d love to see more of Vincent and Catherine’s growing attraction for each other and how JT handles it. As for the procedural stuff, well, keep working on it guys. Although I do admit it’s a tad hard to put equal focus on both the “beauty” and “beast” storyline with the Muirfield storyline, on top of her day job solving crimes. I think the acting is decent and the sizzling onscreen chemistry between Jay Ryan’s Vincent and Kristin Kreuk’s Catherine is what keeps me drawn to the show. Though, I’d say the breakout star is actually Austin Basis’ JT Forbes.
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