CW's 'Beauty and the Beast' is beastly bad
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It's tough to imagine how anyone could make a more ham-fisted wreck of a remake of 1980s CBS fantasy series "Beauty and the Beast" than The CW's effort, debuting on Pittsburgh's WPCW tonight at 11:30 after the Steelers game.
While the original 1987-90 series starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman had its share of missteps (killing off the beauty among them), at its heart CBS's "Beauty and the Beast" was a creative romantic gem.
The CW's "Beauty" is laughably bad in myriad ways. There's no sense of star-crossed lovers, just a plasticized romance between a Cover Girl and a glum, anger-prone male model.
Of all this remake's missteps, the most obvious is that it sidesteps any issues of attraction between the beauty and the beast by making the beast anything but beastly. He's a prototypical CW male star -- stubble, muscles, brooding eyes -- with a scar on his face. Sure, he's gets enraged when his adrenaline surges but his innate humanness makes him far less dangerous than the leonine character from the 1980s show.
"Beauty and the Beast," which will regularly air at 9 p.m. Thursdays after this week, begins with a flashback that finds Catherine "Cat" Chandler (Kristin Kreuk, "Smallville") under attack by assassins who murder her mother. But Cat is saved by a mysterious figure who pops out of the shadows. Turns out this is Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan), a former U.S. soldier who was used as a human guinea pig in a trial program that altered his DNA in ways that cause him to hulk out when he gets an adrenaline rush.
"I could kill you in less than a second," Vincent warns Cat before shooing her away. "Now, go. Gooooooo!"
Cat only learns about Vincent nine years after the attack that killed her mother while investigating a murder case that leads her to Vincent, who spends his days hiding in a warehouse when he's not patrolling the streets to save crime victims. He saves Cat a second time, after she agrees to meet an FBI agent on a deserted subway platform, a choice that seems as unwise as it is unlikely.
Fisticuffs ensue between Cat and the supposed FBI agent until Vincent springs into action, saving the day.
"You're not a monster, you saved my life -- twice," Cat tells Vincent near the end of the pilot.
This is where a show called "Beauty and the Beast" should be planting its seeds of attraction, but there's little chemistry between the show's lead actors and no sense of romance in this leaden, misbegotten pilot episode.
First Published October 11, 2012 12:00 am