Tag Archives: Beauty and the Beast

Fall 2012 Review: Beauty and the Beast

28 Nov

Beauty and the Beast is the CW’s loose revival of the 1987 series of the same name starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman.  I know little beyond the basic premise of the original series, so we’ll ignore it from now on except to note how unlikely of a revival it is, and that Hamilton and Perlman actually went on to have really solid careers, so kudos to them.

Kristin Kreuk known for her performances as Lana Lang in CW’s Smallville (CW takes care of its own) and as Street Fighter icon Chun-Li (in, well, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) plays Catherine Chandler.  In the opening scene, set in 2003, Chandler, outside the bar where she works, witnesses her mom’s murder at the hands of a couple of mysterious men who try to kill her too until she’s saved by a man-beast. Everyone else (police, relative, friends) thinks she’s made up the man-beast when she describes him after the fact.

In the current day, as the sounds of M83’s Midnight City blare, Chandler is a New York City homicide detective with a partner with a super thick Noo Yawk accent.  Being a detective is clearly her life.  We know this because, possibly due to her workaholic tendencies, her douchebag dude leaves her for another woman in the first scene (we know he’s a douche because he broke up with her by text, and because the Noo Yawk partner calls him a douche at least twice).  Chandler and her partner are investigating the death of a hip NYC fashion editor on the rise, and discover DNA on her body which comes from a dead former member of the military.  Their investigation into him takes them to a seemingly abandoned warehouse where a biochem professor who was an old roommate of the dead military man Vincent Keller resides.  They are suspicious but find nothing.

Later, Chandler finds further reason to check back at the warehouse, and runs into the dead man, realizing that he’s the very same beast-person who saved her when her mom was killed (I actually don’t remember when she realizes this – she has three or four heart to hearts with him.  Sometime before the end of the episode though).  She also finds out that he’s some sort of man-beast hybrid who was a product of some super duper secret government military experiments.  He pleads with her to keep his not being dead a secret, and she complies, convinced that he tried to save the girl rather than kill her.

She tries to investigate her mother’s death further and ends up meeting an FBI agent who worked on the case in a subway station to pick his brain for more info.  In an insane scene, he ends up attacking her and she defends herself against him and two other agents, because there’s apparently NO OTHER PEOPLE ON THE SUBWAY PLATFORM.  Also, meeting on the subway platform would be the worst place ever to meet because you’d have no cell service if you couldn’t find each other.  Anyway, she knocks down the one guy but another throws her on the tracks, where she’s saved by Keller, who does a bunch of shadowy manimal killing.

Nobody seems to take any more time to talk about how she was mysteriously attacked by an FBI agent and two others on the NYC Subway track  and almost run over by a train, even though this seems like it would be a huge deal, but her partner does remark that she didn’t know Chandler took the F train, even though the station was clearly the 1-2-3 Canal Street station – Continuity, people!

Anyway, blah, blah, blah, they solve the procedural murder, and while Keller originally tries to get her to stop looking into stuff because of secret conspiracy danger, eventually they realize they just may need each other’s help after all.

Going forward, presumably, it’s part cop procedural, with Chandler being assisted by her partner, fellow cops, and Keller to solve a murder of the week while also steadily investigating the shadowy government conspiracies that resulted in Keller’s transformation and the murder of Chandler’s mother.

I didn’t really enjoy the show.  For the concept to be successful, the show should have been a lot more fun to watch.  I have no problem with any particular actor, but the show just seemed relatively lifeless.  Arrow, the other new CW show, could have easily been similar in character to Beauty and the Beast; both shows heavily feature conspiracies, and both have types of masked superheros in Green Arrow and the Beast.  However, I enjoyed Arrow much more; Beauty and the Beast was overly serious and heavy and not very rewarding.  The characters didn’t seem particularly interesting and the Beast was a little bit too brooding initially for my taste.  I was much more interested in finding out what Green Arrow’s mom was up to after finishing that pilot than the conspiracy theory in Beauty and the Beast, and the murder of the week could have been taken out of any procedural on TV.

I could watch it again; it was far more mundane and generic than unbearable, but I have no particularly reason to.  The only aspect that seems potentially interesting (the characters and writing didn’t stand out) is a nice juicy complex conspiracy plot, but there’s probably a fairly low possibility of that anyway.

Will I watch it again?  Nope.  It wasn’t awful, but I think that’s enough for me to say.  It met the watchable standard, but not really anything else above that threshold.

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Fall 2012 Preview and Predictions: The CW

24 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

It’s easy to forget that the CW still exists.  It does, though, and it, like last year, has three new fall shows, and like last year I doubt more than one will survive.  Let’s see, though.

Emily Owens, M.D. – 10/16

Owens is a first-year intern at some hospital in Denver where she realizes that both her medical school crush and her rival from high school both work. It’s like high school all over again, but in a hospital, which sounds about perfect for the CW. They really, really play up the just-like-high-school angle on the CW about page, and Owens looks pretty frazzled in the promotional poster (note: wikipedia has been sadly lacking in information about CW’s new shows so I’ve been spending more time than usual on cw.com).  Also noteworthy, series star Mamie Gummer is the daughter of Meryl Streep.

Verdict:  Renewal – the most generic sounding of the three CW shows, but, first of all, it sounds right up CW’s alley, and second of all, it’s most analogous to the CW show that eventually made the cut last year, Hart of Dixie.  In a complicated and mostly unnecessary analogy, Emily Owens is equivalent to Hart of Dixie, a show about a doctor which is mostly good spirited and has personal drama, Arrow is Secret Circle (this is the worst comparison), a show about people with abilities and possible conspiracies involves those people’s parents, and Beauty and the Beast is Ringer, a more hard-boiled action thriller.  Anyway, the entire analogy only serves the minor point of explaining why I’m choosing Emily Owens to be renewed over the other two CW shows.

Arrow – 10/10

Having raked in cash from ten seasons of Smallville, the CW tries to duplicate that success with a show about a less popular member of the Justice League, Green Arrow. Green Arrow is a bow and arrow slinging hero who in this incarnation is far more analogous to Batman than  Superman. He’s a billionaire playboy (CW’s words) who disappeared at sea for five years, and after finally returning has developed his Green Arrow alias, a vigilante persona, while being chased by a policeman.  Also, there may be sinister motives behind is disappearance at sea.

Verdict:  14+  It’s a superhero show, and superheroes are still pretty in, so it has that going for it.  It doesn’t look all that good though, and Green Arrow, while I’m personally a fan, is definitely a couple of rungs below Superman and Batman as far as comic book heroes go.    CW, since the ratings are even lower than NBC, is mostly a crapshoot, but I’ll say they give it the season and then give it the boot.

Beauty and the Beast – 10/11

An extremely random quasi-remake of the CBS ’80s series of the same name, Beauty and the Beast starts erstwhile Lana Lang from CW series Smallville Kristen Kreuk as, uh, the beauty, Catherine Chandler, a homicide detective (CW’s show page describes her as “smart, no nonsense” and “strong and confident”). When she was a teen, her mom was killed in front of her, and she was only saved by a mysterious human creature, which you may correctly guess, is the titular beast. Chandler has a partner and a boss but becomes unmoored when she discovers that a murderer that they’re tracking is a dude who has been off the official radar for years, presumed dead, and turns out to be what saved her from being murdered. He also turns Hulk-like into a beast sometimes for some reason. By the way, these CW about pages are just a treasure trove of tropes (say that three times fast), for example, describing her boss as “tough but fair” and describing her relationship with the friendly M.E., as “a fun, flirtatious relationship that could easily turn into something deeper – if Cat would let that happen.”  Maybe she will!

Verdict:  14+  I have no fucking idea.  It sounds highly forgettable, which leads me to not pick renewal, but I’m guessing that CW will be slow, like last year to cut bait on its shows, preferring to wait until the end of the season, even when the result is nearly inevitable.  It’s just a guess.