With some of my favorite or not so favorite shows going on winter hiatus, I’m in a bit of the doldrums. Not all outcomes are equal. Instead of kvetching to my friends and fellow bloggers via Google Chat, I decided to write a blog post about it. My first lament is none other than the new TV series from CW: Beauty and The Beast. This show was definitely on my highly anticipated/must watch shows list. I completely fangirled (is that even a word?) out when the casting was underway. I absolutely adored Kristin Kreuk (in fan-fiction circles affectionately known as “Clana” aka Clark and Lana) from her Smallville days. When Jay Ryan was cast as The Beast, I didn’t have an opinion either way. He was an unknown actor to me, but I always had faith in CW’s casting teams. The only thing that I hoped for was a grand story and an epic romance. Basically everything that Beauty and The Beast is supposed to encompass. I wanted this show to hit on every emotion and to hold me captivated, but alas it’s an epic disaster. Seriously, it pains me to even write this post. After watching the first nine episodes, I don’t think I can continue to follow this show. Not even under duress. I have to clean up my Season Pass feature on my TiVo and this show is at the top of the list to get the boot. There is really nothing charming about the show, not to mention it’s being killed episode after episode by displaying the tragic non-chemistry between the two main characters – Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and The Beast is light on substance and has quickly turned into the “case of the week” show. Much like Smallville was “freak of the week” in the early days of the show for Chloe’s Wall of Weird. Then thankfully the character development and depth took hold.
Chemistry: Let’s be honest – this is an absolute must when a show is relying on the connection that the two characters are supposed to have. What’s more stunning is that CW has finally failed to get it right. My professional/business friends and I always joke that the brains behind CW’s branding and marketing of its shows is the beautifully talented people that they launch, and also the type of vehicles (as in projects) they choose to back. CW captures a large percentage of the demographics and they always seem to be on the right curve ahead of the other networks. As of late though, one has to wonder. Just think back to the “other” dreadful show that they launched last year – The Secret Circle. Just a nightmare from the very beginning, hence its cancellation. The Secret Circle was really unwatchable, quite ghastly. But I digress – back to the chemistry bit. Anybody that is a fan of the CW network knows that it built its image/empire on the back of Smallville, which paved the way for Supernatural, Vampire Diaries (some Twilight help – mostly True Blood), etc. I won’t jump as far back as the networks WB days with Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, but it’s true. Smallville performed phenomenally for the network and it was a ground breaking show for network TV. For a long time there was nothing else like it on TV. Still one of my all-time favorite shows. So when you know the type of chemistry that Kristin Kreuk shared with Tom Welling and how they delivered episode after episode for 6+ years, you simply can’t settle for what doesn’t even pass the skip-a-heartbeat test on Beauty and The Beast. I mean Clark and Lana left you breathless and heartbroken and crying in the same scene. Clark and Lana left your heart racing and pulse pounding. As a viewer, I desperately wanted them to be together and happy, even knowing he would ultimately end up with Lois (damn that Superman mythos to hell). I was invested in these characters and their trials and tribulations. Their love, secrets and all-around dangerous situation really came through. I wish I felt something even remotely close to that for Catherine (Beauty) and Vincent (The Beast). I can’t even get my heart to flutter for these two. For those fans of BtVS and Angel, you know it wasn’t a hard sell to believe in their love and star-crossed/damned/forbidden lovers situation. David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar ignited into flames when they were in scenes together. It didn’t matter if they were fighting (each other or big-bads), making-out, patrolling or having a heart-to-heart or yet another breakup. You felt their connection. Angel and Buffy were epic, much like Clark and Lana, Elena/Damon/Stefan. Viewers should never be able to doubt the so called “love interest” aspect. Part of this problem for Beauty and The Beast goes to the bad writing on the show. Also, the show runner has to know that when viewers can’t connect with the main characters and establish feelings for them – IT’S OVER!!!
Writing: The writing on Smallville/Arrow/Vampire Diaries/Supernatural is superb and complex and on Beauty and The Beast it’s subpar and silly. Mostly it’s the premise of the show that presents so many challenges for the writers. At least in my opinion. This post is getting dangerously long, but suffice it to say that the show does not have enough depth (in character or story) or goal/conflict/motivation for the characters to keep it going for a long run. I can’t imagine getting more than one season out of it because it’s only mildly interesting. With the “organization” identified and some of the players known, it’s become quite trite.
Acting: I like many viewers still have a hard time believing Kristin Kreuk in this role as a 5″ something (short) kick-ass “young” detective that weighs like 100 pounds (diminutive stature) soaking wet is really going to be able to take on 2 or 3 guys at a time all the while doing combat training moves. NYPD wish they were trained killers like Nikita. She hasn’t been able to sell me in this “ruff n tumble” role. Also, the supporting cast just isn’t that interesting.
The Beast: What can I say? Too much I’m afraid. He’s not very beastly. He’s more like the Hulk, only not as cool. His “abilities” are pretty lame as far as genetic engineering goes and really not on full display thus far. The directors/producers use a lot of quick cuts and off screen “action”. I get that this is probably due to budget restrictions, but come on. If you can’t do it up right, then don’t do it at all. I’d be more afraid of a baby vamp or a werewolf in training than The Beast. I’m just not convinced that he’s as menacing as we are told. Basically, the writers need to SHOW – not tell me. The transformation to The Beast is really pathetic visually. I’m truly underwhelmed by The Beast.
In conclusion, I’m so done with this show. I gave it the old college try, but it’s seriously lacking on so many fronts. I’d rather spend my TV time watching old campy episodes of Miami Vice or my favorite episodes from Angel or The Wire.
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