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TV Series Review

If you ever have an urge to conduct unethical genetic experiments in your spare time (say, during some lazy afternoon you decide to splice animal DNA to your little brother's in the hopes of getting him to howl at the moon), take a lesson from Beauty & the Beast's Vincent Keller: It all seems like good fun until someone gets hurt.

Vincent was once just like you and me. According to this CW sci-fier, he worked as a doctor for a while before hopping into the Army. Sure, he had problems. But his eyes never glowed gold. His face never distorted into a mass of veiny fearsomeness. And he certainly never turned into a terrifying man-beast in times of crisis.

That was before some morally impaired scientists started messing around with Vincent's genetic coding, treating his strands of DNA like yarn at a colorblind knitters' convention. Working for a government-funded laboratory called Muirfield, the scientists (who obviously read way too many superhero comics growing up) worked feverishly to encourage genetic mutations in their subjects, hoping, naturally, to create some sort of supersoldier. (Because, as we all learned in 9th-grade science, artificial genetic mutations always turn out so well.)

He's Roughly the Size of a Barge

Vincent and his cronies did actually become stronger, faster and more keenly aware of their environments than ever before. Alas, they also tended to turn into out-of-control manimals when they got angry or frightened or hurt. (Dodgeball games at the Muirfield facilities must've been something.)

It was determined that there's a big difference between the ideal supersoldier and a feral man-beast. So the folks in charge decided to terminate the program … and most of its participants. Vincent somehow escaped the slaughter, but life has not been easy in the years since. Someone's always out to get him—to kill him outright or, perhaps if they're subtle, simply frame him for murder. As such, he runs into a goodly amount of trouble with the law, too. And, well, it's gotta be hard for him to quell the urge to scratch behind his ear with his foot.

So what's there left for him but to pass the time by doing good deeds in the big city? He has a few folks with whom he can confide his special nature. And he also has a wife, a pretty detective named Catherine (Cat for short) who loves him just the way he is. Together they tromp through life, righting wrongs, sneaking in the shadows and smooching whenever the mood strikes.

Tale as Old as Time?

Clearly, CW's Beauty & the Beast bears little resemblance to the animated Disney classic, what with no singing teapots to lighten things up. This often violent reimagining features elements culled from The Incredible Hulk, The Bourn Identity and the worst episodes of The X-Files to create a distinctly unmagical show. So unmagical, in fact, that David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle called it an "overheated, badly written, wretchedly acted and unconvincing drama."

Maybe it's not quite as awful as it could be, though. Vincent, after all, is deep down a gentle, thoughtful soul, and if the kissing he and Cat do leads to sex, well, at least they're married. The language can be strong, but not wholly bestial. Violence is a regular participant, but it's rarely accompanied by the raw gore you see on many other shows.

But that's the kind of faint praise that would need some serious genetic modification before it became something to really howl about.


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Episode Reviews

Beauty & the Best: Aug. 11, 2016 "Means to an End"
Beauty-and-the-Beast: 6-9-2014
Beauty-and-the-Beast: 4-25-2013



Readability Age Range



Kristin Kreuk as Catherine Chandler; Jay Ryan as Vincent Keller; Austin Basis as J.T. Forbes; Nina Lisandrello as Tess Vargas; Brian White as Joe Bishop; Sendhil Ramamurthy as Gabe Lowen






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On Video

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Paul Asay

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