Beauty and the Beast | TV review
Given the popularity of supernatural romances in recent years, a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast seems like a no-brainer. Working from the 1987 series of the same name about a female investigator who discovers and falls in love with a lion/man hybrid living in the sewers, this CW adaptation is a mess, horribly executed from start to finish.
Nine years ago Cat Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) saw her mother gunned down by a pair of mysterious men and only survived due to the appearance of a mysterious creature that slaughtered them and left her alive. Everyone attributed what she saw to post-traumatic stress and eventually she stopped believing in her beastly savior, too. Since that time, Cat dropped her plans to attend law school in favor of the police force, rising to the rank of detective in the special crimes unit. While investigating the murder of a woman in a hotel bathroom, traces of physical evidence lead her and her partner (Nina Lisandrello) to a man who reportedly died in Afghanistan years earlier. It turns out that Doctor Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) is very much alive and, after being subjected to a military experiment, his DNA has been altered. This ordeal left him with enhanced reflexes and senses that helped him in battle, but the side effects cause him to turn into an uncontrollable killing machine when he gets an adrenaline rush. Vincent must maintain a low profile to keep the creators of the project from hunting him down and exterminating him, but he just can't help himself from using his enhanced abilities to save people in danger.
There is no part of Beauty and the Beast that works. Half lady-driven Lifetime cop show, half Twilight romance, the two pieces of this show—neither of which are any good—are forcibly jammed together in the hopes that the lead actors will be able charm their way out of the mess. Unfortunately, both Kreuk and Ryan are woefully miscast in horribly written roles. Kreuk is completely incapable of selling herself as a hard-nosed detective, coming off as little more than a kid playing dress-up. Ryan's beast, meanwhile, is an embarrassing cop-out. 25 years ago Ron Perlman donned a wig and and layers of makeup to create a lion-like man in CBS's Beauty and the Beast. This version wears a simple, sexy scar on his cheek and, when he has his rage episodes, he's shrouded in darkness, with glowing eyes conveying his animal nature. Keller's inability to control his anger, bringing out the beast, doesn't make for good drama, it's just disturbing. When he Hulks up and screams at Cat, this looks like the beginning of an abusive relationship, not a heart-warming love story.
Beauty and the Beast airs Thursdays at 8pm on the CW.