by REBECCA, December 3, 2012
In August, I included the CW’s Beauty and the Beast in a list of new YA(ish) shows that I was excited about:
Beauty and the Beast meets crime procedural (maybe?). Homicide detective, Cat, meets the mysterious man—or beast—who once saved her life. He has been hiding out for ten years, protecting his secret: that when angry he totally Hulks out into a beast. Cat agrees to keep his true identity a secret, and he begins to help her solve cases. And, of course, they become drawn together in ways that I’m sure are mutually delightful and destructive. I know, I know: this show will probably be terrible, but I can’t help but hope that maybe it’ll be kind of like Angel meets The Vampire Diaries meets Jean Cocteau . . . no?
Well, guess what: I WAS WRONG! IT IS NOT TERRIBLE AT ALL!
We’re about mid-way through the first season, but I feel pretty dang confident going ahead and declaring Beauty and the Beast a success. Here are my top five reasons why you should be watching.
1. Kristin Kreuk/Cat! I can’t lie: I love me some CW, but they do tend toward female characters that I don’t like. As a result, I wasn’t really expecting much from Cat. But she’s great. She has awesome qualities that I almost never see in TV aimed at younger audiences: she’s a sensible, sincere, matter-of-fact human being. Yay! She’s not boring at all, but there’s nothing super special about her (except that she’s gorgeous, but this is TV), which is so refreshing. I never watched Smallville, so I had never seen Kristin Kreuk in anything before this, but she’s great. She’s vulnerable and sympathetic, but she’s subtle, thank god, and a totally good actor. Kristin Kreuk, I salute you for managing to be the beautiful romantic lead in a CW show while being neither a bitch nor a dishrag!
2. Government-Engineered Beastliness! The premise of Vincent’s beastliness (and we learn this in episode 1, so I’m not really giving anything away here) is that he was the subject of drug-testing when in the military, in an attempt to engineer the perfect fighting machine. As we know, this NEVER works out. So, Vincent drops off the grid and, occasionally, saves people’s lives—Cat’s, for instance. This is great because it opens up the plot for future seasons. In this season (so far), mostly Vincent manages to stay off the government’s radar, but I imagine that in future seasons Vincent and Cat may end up taking on/running from a major government conspiracy. In his real life, though, Vincent was a doctor, so he is a great combination of nurturing/aggressive, healer/harmer, etc.
Jay Ryan, who plays Vincent, is pretty great, too. For one thing, he’s handsome in a very non-obnoxious way (avec wicked scar!). He has this super-gravelly voice that sounds exactly like the voice someone would have if they were experimented on by the government and had to live in a warehouse and barely talk to anyone. Also, congratulations, Jay Ryan, for your excellent American accent. I am driven to the brink of insanity when movies/shows do a bad job with accents (that’s why there are dialect and accent coaches, people!) and Jay Ryan’s is spot on. Also, I love how his best friend/housemate is a total dweeb, but he is treated like an equal, not like he’s lucky to be friends with handsome doctor man. Because Vincent isn’t handsome doctor man anymore, and he totally knows it. I mean, he’s still handsome. And I guess he’s still a doctor. Wait, he’s still a man . . . I, uh, anyway, you know what I mean.
3. No Passive-Aggressive Behavior! If there is one thing that I hate about people (and believe me, there are many) it’s when they are passive-aggressive. This goes double for TV and movies, because in addition to it annoying me personally, I also think about all the impressionable young flowers out there who will watch it and then potentially act passive-aggressive in the world. But here, in the world of Beauty and the Beast, that doesn’t happen. Are you reading this, Hollywood?! It is totally possible to make a great movie/show where people are able to actually express their needs and opinions without devolving into a puddle of passive-aggression. Take note! It’s a brave new world out there.
4. Ensemble! I love a show with a good ensemble. Although Cat and Vincent are the main game in town, Cat’s partner, Tess, is a badass, sassy player, and her coworker Evan is charming. On Vincent’s team is only his bestie J.T., who is also great—he’s a sweet science professor who totally cares about Vincent enough to shack up with him and keep his secret, even when it’s tricky. I love that J.T. tries to protect Vincent by telling him not to see Cat, and that instead of being jealous or anything, he gets all pissed at Cat for putting their secret in danger. And, the crowning jewel . . . Cat’s sister is played by Nicole Gale Anderson, who played Kelly Parker on my favorite show, Make It Or Break It! (Check out why you should absolutely watch Make It Or Break It HERE.)
5. A Remake That Actually Benefits From Being Remade! What I didn’t realize when I first started watching Beauty and the Beast was that it is a remake of the 1980s Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, in which she plays a district attorney and he plays “a sensitive and cultured lion-man” (thus spake imdb). I have never watched this show, but now I totally will because (yay, Ron Perlman!) Vincent is part of “a secret Utopian society of outcasts living in an underground sanctuary where Vincent is protected and loved.” What with the rash of Hollywood remakes that do not benefit from being recontextualized, this is a remake that totally makes sense. Shifting the story to have a component of the military-pharmacology complex is a great update.
So, are you watching Beauty and the Beast? What do you think? Tell me in the comments!