Beauty and the Beast (The CW) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
On October 11th, the first show developed by new The CW president Mark Pedowitz premiered. That is, even though it is the zillionth classic-story-revisited type of show that is on TV right now (ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’, CBS’s ‘Elementary’, and The CW’s own ‘Arrow’, just to name a few). And on top of that, it is ‘loosely based’ upon CBS’s 1987 ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Altogether, that puts a lot of pressure on a new show to prove itself. The typical The CW viewer however can probably not even remember 1987 and the CBS show in particular, which lightens the pressure a little.
In this version, Kristin Kreuk (‘Smallville’) plays Catherine Chandler, or Beauty. She used to work as a waitress to get her through law school. One night, outside of the bar where she worked, a mysterious car approaches and the men in it kill Catherine’s mother. Terrified, Catherine runs into the woods, but the men catch up with her. When they are about to shoot her, she is saved by a stranger who viciously attacks her assailants.
While it is very clear that the stranger is in fact a person, the remains of the assailants clearly indicate that they have been killed by some sort of beast, such as a coyote or a bear. The police and Catherine’s friends and family convince her that the person she saw was a figment of her imagination, induced by the concussion or post-traumatic stress.
In the present day, years later, Catherine Chandler is a successful NYPD detective, who just broke up with her boyfriend, and drives a car that is even less detective-like than ‘Grimm’s Nick Burkhardt does. Catherine’s partner is this annoying Jersey girl, who is also her best friend. This way, the procedural aspect of the show is good to go. However, the male lead (the beast, so you will) still has to be introduced, so he’ll probably crop up in one of Beauty’s cases.
Fingerprints of Vincent Keller, M.D. (Jay Ryan, Australian soap-opera ‘Neighbors’) turn up at a murder scene in a 5-star hotel. Seems like an easy case, don’t you think? Well, the problem is that this Vincent is supposed to be KIA in Afghanistan over 10 years ago. He enlisted for the military after his brother perished in the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.
Fortunately, Keller (who is of course still alive, and who is the ‘beast’ that saved Catherine’s life) still lives with the same roommate he had in 2001, and Catherine and her partner are immediately on to him. A hair of Keller’s is also found at the crime scene, and the lab finds that he has cross-species DNA, but conclude that the sample was contaminated.
Smart as she is, the beautiful young female detective goes unaccompanied to this creepy warehouse where Keller lives with his roommate. Surprisingly, the Beast (on The CW that means a good looking guy with a scar on his cheek) doesn’t even attack her or runs away. Instead, they have a cosy heart-to-heart about what happened to the murdered woman. Catherine also finds out that there is a link between her mother’s death and Keller.
Believing everything Keller has told her, even though he has information that could indicate he is the killer, Catherine keeps Keller’s secret and tells her Jersey partner that there was nothing in the warehouse. At the office of the murdered woman, it turns out that her professional rival already cleared out her desk and took her job. Doesn’t that seem a little fast, and disrespectful towards a colleague who has just been murdered? And on top of that, shouldn’t the police take a look at the office of a murder victim before someone cleans it out, and not after?
Catherine arranges a meeting with the FBI agent that used to handle the case of her mother’s murder concerning the cross-species DNA sample, the same kind that was also found at her mother’s murder scene. For whatever reason, they meet in a deserted metro station, and the FBI agent (if that is what he is), a ‘homeless guy’ and a woman attack Beauty. Once again, the Beast comes to her rescue.
To lure the Beast out of the shadows (or just out of plain stupidity), Catherine almost kills herself by walking on the metro tracks, ‘forcing’ him to save her life yet another time. Amazingly, it is only now that she discovers that the Beast and Keller are in fact one and the same person.
Again, they have a heart-to-heart at the deserted warehouse, this time a little more romantic with candles and slow piano music. Keller tells her what happened to him, why and how he became the Beast, and why he has to stay in hiding. He refuses to tell her any more than that, even when she asks about the night her mother was killed.
Returning to the classic Beauty and the Beast story, Keller reveals that he sees himself as this inhumane monster. However Catherine discovers that deep down inside he is a good guy, and she starts falling in love with him.
I must admit that while I didn’t have any high expectations of this show, it actually seems that The CW is making a turn in the right direction. Some of the things that happened are not all that believable, but the overall story is actually pretty good.
I was afraid that the reason that Keller became the Beast was something weird, such as him being bit by another Beast, or one of his parents being a Beast. But, while it’s not possible in real life, the actual story made some sense.
The case of the week was also quite interesting. Not that it was the most intriguing, but it was at least not a generic the-husband-did-it case. Against my expectations, I quite enjoyed watching ‘Beauty and the Beast’. There’s just one thing that I still can’t get my head around. When an employee is murdered the night before, what company has given their job to someone else the very next day, and even let them clear out the dead person’s desk?
‘Beauty and the Beast’ airs on Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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