|An illustration for Beauty and the Beast |
by Walter Crane
I’d heard it was a reboot of the old Perlman/Hamilton CBS series, which I was a little too young to watch live, but I’ve since seen in reruns. Cheesy 80s as it was, I really dug the show with its shy beast and the magical world below the streets (in which the costumes are somehow inspired by a Ren Faire, but hey, George R.R. Martin was one of the writers, so I suppose that makes sense). If anything, the original series was too sweet for me, with Vincent’s chaste love for Catherine lacking any edge and Catherine’s goody-two-shoes-ness bordering on hyperglycemia. But that’s the 80s for you. Plus, as beautifully done as the makeup was, I’m not so into the “lion” look they gave Vincent or the complete lack of explanation for how that occurred. So I was excited for a modernized re-boot with a chance to remove some of those eye-rollers and make a really cool premise something more solid.
As for the new cast, I remember Kristin Kreuk from the early days of Smallville, which I watched for the first couple seasons. She’s definitely gorgeous enough for the title of “Beauty” and I think she’s a fine actress. Unlike a lot of original BatB series fans, I actually liked the tougher heroine from the third and final season, and I was fine with the CW combining the two female leads that way to make the new Catherine Chandler. Jay Ryan I’d never heard of before, but he fits the CW’s standard for impossibly beautiful actors. As many people have pointed out online, though, that’s the first place where the new series goes wonky, IMO. Beauty and the Beast is traditionally about finding the beauty within somebody despite their external appearance. When the Beast is a hunk, a new theme must be found.
And I’m not sure what CW’s BatB’s new theme is.
|Jay Ryan at Comic-Con |
By Genevieve from Wikimedia Commons.
But then again I have to ask, what is this story about?
Catherine is savvy, tough and already sees Vincent for the man inside instead of viewing him as a hunky yet creepy science project. Vincent is brilliant, heroic, and seems to have his beastly instincts reasonably under control. So where’s the obstacle? The shadowy government plot has some merit, although I’m not sure what the mystery is anymore. They killed Catherine’s mother because she worked on the super-soldier program (which was obvious from the first episode, so I hope that's not considered a spoiler). Is there some other secret I’m missing that Cat and Vince have yet to discover? There was one reference to Vincent falling in love before and that being a Bad Thing, and I can see how adrenaline making him go beast-y could cause problems as things heat up between them. That’s got some Buffy-Angel angst potential, and I keep hoping they’ll go there. But so far they’re as platonic as the original series (one of the few similarities between the two). Without strong conflict in the paranormal/sci-fi aspects of the show, it's just a police procedural with unaccountably attractive cops solving so-so mysteries.
Anyone else watching CW’s Beauty and the Beast? Anybody else figured out what the conflict actually is? I’m not saying the show’s got no potential, but I’m not sure it’s found where it’s going yet. What are your thoughts?