Beauty and the Beast, Pilot, 1.01 (2012) - A Contemporary, Romantic Fairytale

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fairytales are no longer child’s play. Now, they are evolving into compelling stories that seem to put adults under their own kind of unique spell. Coming off the enormous success of the fantasy lover’s paradise in Once Upon a Time, the “teen network,” CW created a new spin on the Beauty and the Beast storybook that may or may not be worth a look.

Nine years ago, Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) lost her mother. She was killed in what appeared a random act of violence. A burden Cat has carried these many years, blaming herself. When the killers set their sights on Cat that fateful night, a flash emerges from the trees and kills the two men before they can harm Cat. She later describes her savior to police as a “beast.” 

Years later, Catherine is a no-nonsense NYC police detective. Working a new case with her partner (Nina Lisandrello), sends Cat back to that night. Their only clue are the prints of a man who is in the system, but is listed as deceased. Baffled, Cat’s questions lead her to Vincent Keller’s former roommate, J.T (Austin Basis). A physics teacher, he isn't a man open to being questioned about his former roommate.

Trained as a doctor, Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) enlisted in the Marine Corps following 9/11 and the deaths of his two brothers. EvetuallyVincent agreed to be a part of an experiments of super soldiers. When the program spirals out of control, the order is given to kill every one of the participants. The sole survivor is Vincent but he lives in the shadows, perferring to forget. When Cat finds him, she discovers he may have answers about her mother's murder. But what she didn’t expect was to encounter someone who wasn’t a beast but a man...

You all know that I love anything with a fairytale component. When realism and fantasy mix, it’s magical, which is what Once Upon a Time captures so brilliantly. This re-make of the 80’s cult classic doesn’t have the same spark some of its competitors do, but there is a spark. The blend of reality and fairytale that doesn't emerse itself in the “pretend” because writer’s give us a human being for a leading man. (Meaning Vincent isn't a supernatural creature.) 

When considering Vincent's backstory, we have a bit of a Bourne Identity vibe going. Though in this story, this is much more romance focues, and I enjoyed the interaction between them since I wasn’t sure if writers would pair them together or be a series of near misses, leaving a trail for the determined Cat to follow. From my perspective, I am glad it turned out that way.

Pulling inspiration from the dozens of other crime shows that are on air seemed the unspoken rule for ‘Beast’ to capitalize on. There’s a heroine who is desperate to unlock the truth of her mother’s murder, and a brooding hero who only needs someone to care and believe in the goodness in him. Being the feet-firmly-planted-on-the-ground kind of romantic that I am, I loved the sense of romanticism (take note, dear readers of Vincent, looking all broodish and handsome and super heroic crouching on the edge of a rooftop watching over Cat) this show opts for. (Never fear for those of you looking for a heroine who can kick butt, Cat has that covered also when she royally beats up two would-be assassins.) 

Though some will be best left satisfied with the Disney version of this story, this pilot isn’t a bad start to a new show for those of us who enjoy fantasy shows. Though admitly, if I'm being honest, I did thing Beastly had a better spin on what it takes to make this timeless story stand apart.

(Parental review: There is some mild innuendo. We learn that Cat always falls for the “loser” guy and even knowingly dates men who carry/use/deal drugs. Profanity is rare if spoken at all. A woman is shown lying on the ground [no blood] and another is shot multiple times. There is a couple of “frightening” moments when Vincent lets anger get the better of him and once, Cat is nearly run over by a train. The victims husband engaged in multiple affairs. The show is rated TV14.) 

Photos: CW


  1. Unlike Once, this one just doesn't attract my interest at all. :/

  2. I have to say I love fairytale remakes.
    This sounds pretty good and clean.
    Thanks for suggesting it!

  3. **hyperventilates** How did I miss this coming out??? I love fairy-tales, remakes, and Beauty & the Beast! I!! Thank you for letting me know of it's existence!!

  4. Okay so I've seen the animated movie, the 80s tv series AND Beastly and I have to say that other than the animated version I think this one has the potential to be my favorite! It's interesting that the characters in this series and the old series with Linda Hamilton have the same names when it seems like the story is really going to be different. It's interesting that you pointed out the similarities between other shows out today like, Castle. I'm just hoping that it doesn't take 4 seasons for Vincent and Cat to get together. Hahaha.

  5. This is one that I will probably watch at least the pilot. I was really looking forward to the other version that was supposed to come out on ABC but they cancelled it before it began :( saddd. So this one, I was kinda not feeling too thrilled about. But I think I will have to give it a try just because I love the story so much. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised too :)

  6. You know I love almost anything fairy tale related too -- so I gave this one a shot. But I thought it was TERRIBLE -- as in really poorly constructed/scripted/cast/executed, etc. The whole Kristin Kreuk as NYC detective burdened by her mother's death thing felt like a cheap rip-off of Castle, with zero believability. And while I thought it was different having the "beast" be medically instead of physically altered...given this show's source material, that felt like another cop-out. I don't think I could sit through any further episodes.

  7. My parents watched this last night, I want to watch it at some point. It looks okay, although I'm pretty much one of those people who likes the original story the best :P And as this is my favorite fairy tale I would probably be more critical as well. Thanks for the review! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

  8. Great review girl, as always. I saw the first 5 minutes of this show and just wasn't compelled enough to finish the rest of it. Oh well.
    xo TJ

  9. Wow! Thanks so much for all your thoughts and feedback, readers and friends - I enjoy each and every one of your comments! Keep them coming. If anyone else wants to chime in their thoughts about this CW show, please type away.

    Rosie - that's okay. Not everyone will be "into" this show as evidenced you all my great friends comments here (which I enjoy reading!). I think if you aren't intrigued by this, then it probably isn't for you.

    Ella - as do I! Usually I am up for anything fairy-tale themed. For me, they are either a hit ('Once') or miss (10th Kingdom). I enjoyed this pilot a great deal because... well, I am something of a romantic and this show has that down to a science. :-)

    Yeah, the first episode was decently clean. There were a few "adult" implications but there were no "visual" missteps which was a plus.

    Enjoy if you see it, girl!

    Kellie - wow, aren't you excited!? LOL! So was I. :-D

    Though it borrows a bit too much from other crime shows, the pilot was good - hope you enjoy! Let me know what you thought.

    Renee - really!? That is awesome! I definitely see room for improvement but I think if the show is given a chance, it could rise to meet that. *crosses fingers*

    Ha! I don't want Cat and Vincent to be asked to wait 4 seasons to get together either - that is just NOT fair. If it lasts that long, I am hoping writer's will be kinder. Overall, I wished that there had been a bit more originality but it was a solid start. Here's hoping to see more!

    Super glad you dropped by Renee - it's been forever since we've chatted. :-)

    Jeanine - oooh! I know, girl - so was I! I really wanted to see a more "traditional" spin on the story with ABC's pilot but then, perhaps they felt with the success of 'Once,' it wouldn't do well being so similar. Should we petition for the pilot to be a TV film!? That'd be way cool, right. LOL!

    Enjoy if you see the pilot - would love to know your thoughts!

    Ruth - oooh! I am sorry to hear you didn't like it. I'll watch the rest eventually because I think there is a lot of room for improvement. The cast was decent (pretty faces at the least, right!?), the script okay and the settings seemed authentic if not a bit moody at times. Being a bit of a romantic, I really didn't mind though. ;-D

    What did you think of this vs. Beastly? Judging strictly by the pilot (which I believe before one gives final judgment a show deserves 3 to 5 eps.), I think it had a better spin to a timeless tale. Medically altering the hero instead of being a supernatural creature was unique to the genre but still... I thought it was a bit of a "Bourne Identity" vibe and yet, it worked okay.

    Ha, ha! Ironically, I mentioned the whole Castle cliché in my review - albeit subtly. ;-D

    Thanks - as always - for sharing your input, Ruth! I sure appreciate your opinions.

    Sierra - what'd they think of it? For me, I enjoyed it a lot but think there is room for improvement. Going on just the pilot (which I don't use to pass final judgment), I think the motion picture Beastly did it better.

    Yeah, if this is your fave fairy-tale, you are going to be critical - and there is nothing wrong with that. If you like crime dramas, you'd probably like this okay though I don't know that you'd love it...

    TJ - thanks! I appreciate your reading, girl!

    That is okay. I think there are a lot of mixed opinions on this show judging from the pilot episode reaction - its ratings weren't the best either. For me, I was looking to be entertained and I was but from just E1, I thought Beastly and 'Once' are more unique. So far...

  10. Oh yeah! Sign me up for a tv film/movie version of the cancelled pilot. I LOVE this fairy tale story, it's my fav, and long overdue for a more classic version. Beastly had a lot of potential but I just wish they developed it so much more. It was too surface and slightly too much of the teenybop feel to it to suit me. So here's hoping the powers that be will release it again like the Snow Whites :) Pretty please!

  11. I would LOVE seeing the pilot of ABC's re-telling air as a TV film, Jeanine - that would be awesome! If I found a place to petition it, I probably would email the powers that be. LOL! :-)

    Seeing Beastly as too much of a tween movie is very easy to do - I can even admit that it was very immature sometimes. Did you read the novel? That was ten times more immature than the film but I liked some of its unique twists (via the movie) and of course, didn't mind the sappy romantics like the garden. All in all, it was one of my fave modern fairy-tales.

  12. This sounds really good...I need to look into this!

  13. If you like fairy-tale re-tellings and the like, you'd probably enjoy this one, Miss Hatcher. Most especially if you like crime dramas!

    Enjoy if you see it - I'd love to read your impressions of it if you decide to try it. :-)

  14. Nice review Rissi!

    I had heard about this coming out, but yours is the first review I read. Though I do like fairytale retellings and I'm a big Once fan, I think I might give this a miss, at least untill I read a few more reviews of further episodes. I already have so much to watch!

  15. Thanks, Birdienl - I really appreciate you reading this!

    There are mixed reactions to this but I think overall, everyone thinks it could be a great deal better - myself included. Going on just the pilot, 'Once' is much more unique. It's always wise to find/read more opinions and see what you think then - that is always a good bet! I do that most the time anyway unless I am confident/trust in the source.

    Hope you enjoy 'Beauty' if you wind up seeing it. :-)

  16. Rissi, mom said she liked it okay and I don't remember what my dad said. They seemed to like it pretty well though. Oh yes, I'm still not quite sure how much I like Beastly, when comparing it to the story :P Although if I were to use the alternate ending, which I liked much better, I would probably say it was okay and they did a good job modernizing it. I just like the original better. But anyway, I might not enjoy this show so much due to my love of the story. Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

  17. Glad she enjoyed it, Sierra - my dad didn't really watch most of it. :-) I suspect seeing as its based off a fairy-tale, most guys won't care about this over-romanticized 'teen' drama. ;-D

    For me, Beastly was actually good - when making modern adaptations, I think writer's are allowed more leeway for creativity and I thought they delivered. I prefer the book ending to the film and am drawing a blank when it comes to the alternate movie end. I'll have to pop in the DVD and watch it again!


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