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 creates a new spin on the Beauty and the Beast storybook.
Nine years ago, Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) lost her mother. She’s killed in what appears 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 is the prints of a man who’s in the system 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) enlists in the Marine Corps following 9/11. Eventually Vincent agrees to be a part of an experiments of super soldiers. When the program spirals out of control, the order is to kill every one of the participants. The sole survivor is Vincent but he lives in the shadows, preferring 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…
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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 immerse 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 of a romance focus, and I enjoy the interaction between them; especially as I wasn’t sure if writers would pair them together or be a series of near misses, leaving a trail for Cat to follow. From my perspective, I am glad it turns out that way.
Pulling inspiration from the dozens of other crime shows that are on air seems the unspoken rule for Beauty and the Beast pilot to capitalize on. There’s a heroine who’s 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 love the sense of romanticism this has. (Take note, dear readers of Vincent, looking all broody and handsome crouching on the edge of a rooftop watching over Cat.) (For those of you looking for a kick butt heroine, Cat has that covered also when she royally beats up two would-be assassins.)
Though some will be happiest with the Disney version of this story, this pilot isn’t a bad start to a new show. Though admittedly, if I’m being honest, I did thing Beastly had a better grasp on making this timeless story stand out.
Content: 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’s a couple of “frightening” moments when Vincent lets anger get the better of him and once; Cat is nearly hit by a train. The victims husband engaged in multiple affairs. The Beauty and the Beast pilot is TV14.