October 13, 2012

TV: Beauty and the Beast (CW, Thu 9)

CW's new version of Beauty and the Beast is a mess.

The heroine this time is NYPD's Cat Chandler (Kristin Kreuk), who was driven to become a cop after seeing her mother killed by thugs. While investigating the murder of a young woman (because this is TV, and the only people who are ever murdered on TV are beautiful young women), she comes across the DNA of Vincent Keller, a young doctor who was supposedly killed in Afghanistan in 2002.

Vincent (Jay Ryan) is, surprise surprise, the show's "Beast." This being the CW, "Beast" does not mean the lion-faced monster played by Ron Perlman in the 80s version of the show; "Beast" means a strikingly handsome young man with a scar on one cheek. Vincent was part of a Top Seekrit "make a super-soldier" project gone bad, and when his adrenaline levels get too high, he becomes an uncontrollable killing machine. He somehow escaped the government's attempt to kill everyone involved in the program and now lives in hiding in a grungy warehouse with a nerdy roommate (Austin Basis) who is the only one who knows his secret.

So Vincent's backstory is like a mix of The Bourne Identity and The Incredible Hulk, and it turns out that he's been using his berserker tendencies as a vigilante, killing off bad guys (so toss in a little Dexter, too) and saving their intended victims.

Neither Kreuk nor Ryan brings anything to their role beyond striking beauty (admittedly, they do bring lots of that), and the story is a hodgepodge of poorly-worn influences and cheesy cliches. (Vincent was, it turns out, the guy who saved Cat when her mother was killed, and it is strongly suggested that this will be part of some underlying conspiracy at the heart of the show.)

The CW has given the show as good a time slot as they've got, following The Vampire Diaries, but I don't think it's going to help. Beauty and the Beast is a poorly written, poorly acted, tedious bore, and the pleasures of looking at Kreuk and/or Ryan (depending on your preferences) are not enough to keep people watching.

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