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TV Reviews

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Cast
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
Channel
CW
Reviewer
Paul Asay
Beauty & the Beast

Beauty & the Beast

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. Because 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.)

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. Muirfield is still trying to hunt him down. Law enforcement thinks he's a killer. 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 girlfriend, 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.

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 Borne 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? Especially when one considers the types of shows it cozies up to on the CW: Vincent, after all, is deep down a gentle, thoughtful soul, and the kissing he and Cat do leads to sex, well, not quite as many times as such things do on The Vampire Diaries.

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

Episode Reviews

"Cat and Mouse"

Vincent, accused of a murder he didn't commit, has broken out of prison and is now on the lam. But FBI agents have kidnapped Cat in the hopes that she can get in touch with her fearsome boyfriend for them. They want to use him to help them break out an agent of theirs being held in the United Nations. If they're successful, the FBI promises that Vincent will be exonerated.

Cat smashes a guy in the face with a chair, then kicks another man. She battles two terrorists in a hallway. Vincent rips off a door, and the two of them dive from a skyscraper window into water below. (They're being shot at.) Friend J.T. is found sleeping on his couch with a bottle of Scotch in front of him. (He's given aspirin to get him going again.) People lie and mislead authorities. Authorities ignore evidence. Cat and Vincent lock lips and get all passionate-y. Characters say "h‑‑‑," "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "d‑‑n" a time or two each. God's name is misused once or twice.

"Playing With Fire"

Assistant district attorney Gabriel Lowen wakes up in bed with a woman. (We see her bare shoulders above the sheet.) In a later scene, the two kiss, and Gabe unbuttons her shirt, stripping it off to reveal a mysterious scar on her back. Cat and Vincent also smooch a couple of times.

A mortally wounded man staggers into a police station, his shirt stained red and his mouth filled with blood. (We later hear that he was shot five times.) Vincent and Cat fight a cadre of Muirfield commandos: One combatant is used as a shield and is shot several times by a friend. (He appears to wear body armor.) Cat shoots another in the hand, disarming him. She and Vincent punch and kick the fight out of several more. Tess renders a man unconscious with a chokehold. Vincent and his friend J.T. discover a dead body covered with rats in an alleyway; J.T. throws up (offscreen). We hear about how people have been killed or harmed. Explosions and fires endanger lives.

Several people lie and mislead—even those whom they love. They say "d‑‑n" (once), "h‑‑‑" (twice) and misuse God's name (thrice).

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