Modern Day 'Beauty & The Beast' Finds Its Footing
Between ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm, is prime time television ready for another fairytale rendition? However saturated we may be, Beauty and the Beast aired on CW to high ratings, maintaining the supernatural trend of late. About 3.2 million watched as the series premiered — surely this was to be somewhat expected given the perfect time slot proceeding after cult favorite Vampire Diaries.
The original series of Beauty and the Beast, dating back to the late 80s, was something more than a television classic. Placing itself in a great fantasy soap category more than anything else, it gained an active fan community with its three season collection. Linda Even, who plays the original Catherine, has now been replaced with Smallville alumnus Kristin Kreuk, while Vincent, once portrayed as a cultured beast by Ron Perlman, is replaced here with an ex-military doctor rendered by Jay Ryan.
So what are we given in this reboot of a classic? A woman (Kreuk) once victimized by her past and faced with the brutal killing of her mother flees to the woods to save her own life, only to be saved by some unknown figure in the dark. Fast forward to present times, she is now a self-assured detective, yet she's never forgotten about the unknown figure that rescued her. Their pasts both seem connected in some way, and we just can’t wait to find out how the plot will turn into something deep and worthy of fandom. As his hair of mixed breed DNA is found on a crime scene victim, they are unwittingly forced to meet. Much more like a hulk than a beast, when enraged his super-strength and heightened senses become uncontrollable, and Catherine experiences this first-hand. Being a doctor, his focus is to find a solution to remedy this military-inflicted ill, all the while trying to keep his cover, although he finds it difficult to do so as one tends to get stir crazy cooped up in an abandoned building all day.
Thus, Catherine’s beastly counterpart is a man in refuge who goes around the streets of New York saving people to preserve not only his sanity but his humanity as well. Supporting characters include his friend and roommate, Evan (Max Brown), whose push to find a cure is incessant. In addition, Tess Vargas (Nina Lisandrello) makes for a great formidable sidekick to Catherine, and Brian White costars as the tough police captain, Joe Bishop.
There were, however, slight qualms from critics toward the Hulk-like quality of the beast, which feature instead of the expected animalistic quality. Though a few minor alterations may have been made for a more relatable television experience, fans who enjoy science fiction, fairytale remakes and those who fondly remember the past show are all given something quite satisfying indeed. We find freshly designed characters, yet they are still dark and tormented, and while this new take is edgier, it still maintains its charms about it. Kreuk and Ryan are a dynamic duo with a great on-screen connection, leaving viewers’ anticipating the time in which their chemistry will fuse. New York-based Beauty and the Beast serves as a gritty police drama, but its romantic bent appeals to the show’s softer humanistic side — much like the portrayed beast.