Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beauty and the Beast


Beauty and the Beast Nothing More Than a Little Furball

By Steve Herte 

Beauty and the Beast (CW Television Network, 2012) – D: Gary Fleder. Starring Kristin Kreuk, Jay Ryan, and Austin Basis

In the words of the J. Geils Band song “My blood runs cold, my memory has just been sold…” I recently tuned in to the newest version of the classic tale on WPIX television (Channel 11 here in New York) thinking it would be a re-run of the 1987-1990 series. What a surprise – and what a disappointment! Thinking I was once again going to see the story of a strong, silent and sensitive Lion/Man, Vincent (played by Ron Perlman) and the incredibly beautiful Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton), I saw instead the marginally-talented Jay Ryan and the moderately-lovely Kristin Kreuk playing the roles in what looks like a spin-off of Vampire Diaries.

Instead of living with a man he calls “Father” (Roy Dotrice) in the mysterious underground world beneath New York City, Vincent now lives with J. T. Forbes (Austin Basis) – who appears closer to being an extra for The Big Bang Theory than a father figure - in a warehouse-sized loft. That might have been fine, except for reason unknown, the special effects are played down. In this day and age of CGI, there is good reason for Vincent to transform into a more “beastly” character, but he only does so when strong emotions like anger are stirred up. So the character is more like a wolf – but not quite so – with the same problem as The Hulk (but not as dramatic).

I can only hope that future episodes develop the characters into something closer to the sterling examples provided by the original actors and that the series becomes as popular as a result. However, I’m not encouraged by what I saw, for those are big shoes to fill, and I don’t know if the writers and the cast are anywhere near up to it.  It seems to be aimed at pre-teenage girls, and the plot is what could mercifully be described as “moronic.” But I can always hope, I guess.

By the way, for you trivia buffs and fans of the original series, you might be interested to know that the 1987 series has the unique honor of producing “The Most Stolen MTA Subway Poster,” a photo of Ron and Linda with the wind melding her flowing hair with his mane. I thought about removing it myself, but I just didn’t have the nerve. Besides, with my luck I could just see my face on the pages of the next day’s New York Post and Daily News with the headline “Man Nabbed Trying to Steal Subway Poster.” Wouldn’t that have gone down well at work! 

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