Beauty and the Beast ep 1

On the one hand, this is really bad.

Built entirely from tropes ripped from elsewhere, it’s not so much Beauty and the Beast as “Beauty and the Bourne non-Vampire Diaries” and just as hackneyed and predictable as that sounds.

So, on the other hand, so help me, I can’t wait for episode 2.

Kristin Kreuk’s Catherine is indeed beautiful, but Bambi would make a more convincing homicide detective than she does. Like Beckett from Castle, though, she apparently decides to become one when her mother is murdered (in a giant-conspiracy-related cover-up hit, natch.)

Like Elena from Vampire Diaries, however, Cat herself is saved from the same fate as her mum by a mysterious, dangerous, yet almost irresistible man, tormented by the monster within him. Vincent isn’t a vampire – although he might as well be, so much of this pilot episode is a straight lift from either TVD or the lesser-known Moonlight. No, poor Vincent’s a young doctor, experimented on by the military (during their Bourne period). The experiments crossed his DNA with other species – I think, it’s not like anyone watching actually cares – causing him to wig out and go all monster-ish when he gets too angry or excited.

I’m surprised they didn’t just call it The Beast Diaries, and be done with it.

Anyway, worried that he’ll hurt someone innocent or be killed by the same army that made him this way, our misunderstood hero hides away at his best friend’s house, largely avoiding human contact except when it involves him saving women from mortal danger. *swoons*

Er, sorry… obviously, the problem with this – apart from the terrible dialogue and rubbish murder sub-plot – is that it quite spectacularly misses the entire bloody point of Beauty and the Beast as a legend or even as an 80s tv show. The Beast is meant, on the face of it, to be repulsive – till Catherine or Belle or whoever gets to know him and sees past the big furry face, the grave-stone sized teeth and all the, y’know, roaring. She sees the true beauty within him, but it’s supposed to take a bit of time and a bit of work. And in the process, he in turn learns to care for her more than himself and becomes beautiful too. Or something. I may be over-thinking it.

Anyway, the difficulty with this version is that there’s nothing remotely un-gorgeous, let alone repulsive, about Vincent, either inside or out, that Catherine or us need to work past. He’s tall, dark and insanely handsome. He’s vulnerable and shy, but he’s also completely unbeatable in a fight. He strides around rescuing women and destroying anyone who tries to harm them. And he’s the poor, noble victim of a terrible accident which has left him with a single (eminently stroke-able) scar, and an inner demon he fights manfully everyday. For pity’s sake – the man isn’t a Beast, he’s tv’s most eligible bachelor. Where can I get one?!?

Sensibly, though, the show doesn’t bother pretending that he’s not absolute catnip to the intended (female) demographic: Cat has it bad for him pretty much on sight, and the episode has plenty of tender touching and staring and can’t-stay-awaying right from their first meeting. Which is just as well, because the procedural element is terrible and the conspiracy element looks pants too.

So, yes, there’s very little that’s objectively good or interesting about the show – except that Demetri from Spooks is in it, yay Demetri from Spooks! – and I can see why it’s been panned by critics. I’m pretty sure, however, that you can see why I’ll be watching it again. And again. And again – quite possibly till the end of the series. Forbidden, tortured, supernatural-tinged bad romance? You guys, I LIVE for this stuff. I don’t know if I’ll write about it again, but I’ll be tuning in, gawping and probably reading fan fic too. (Yeah, I know. My name is CJ and I need to get a life.)

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