The CW Breathes New Life Into "Beauty and the Beast"
What do "Charlie’s Angels," "Dallas," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Munsters" and "Wonder Woman" all have in common? They were all hugely popular television shows in the 70s and 80s and they have all had (or in the process of getting) modern reboots. While some have failed others have thrived and now it seems that The CW network will be adding a new remake to its fall roster, this time a modernization of the CBS romantic fantasy drama, "Beauty and the Beast. "
Created by Ron Koslow the original series aired on CBS from 1987-1990 and starred Linda Hamilton ("Terminator") as Catherine Chandler an Assistant District Attorney in New York and Ron Pearlman ("Hellboy") as Vincent, a beast like man living in an intricate world beneath the city. Though lasting only three seasons and Hamilton’s character being killed off at the end of the second season, the show was still wildly popular. As a fan (I use to watch it with my mom) I was really nervous about it being brought back.
In the new series, "Smallville" alumni Kirsten Kreuk has been perfectly cast in the role of Catherine who has become a detective with the NYPD instead of an assistant District Attorney. The perfect beauty, she brings an edge to the role that is a lot more kick-ass than her 1980s counterpart. The series opening is set at a small bar in 2003 when Catherine, who is working as a bartender, can’t get her car to start. Luckily, her mother arrives to save the day but then everything goes horribly wrong when two gunmen show up and start shooting. Though her mother is killed instantly, Catherine manages to escape into some nearby woods. But the men are close behind and when it seems that all is lost for our beautiful heroin, a shadowed figure emerges, tearing the men to shreds. Fast forward nine years and Catherine and her partner Tess (Nina Lisandrello) are investigating the murder of a prolific magazine editor. This leads her to Vincent Keller, who, by all documented accounts, is a dead man.
Played by Jay Ryan, this new incarnation of Vincent is not a beast man but rather a super soldier military experiment gone wrong. That decision in particular sets the tale as a more science fiction based world as opposed to one of fantasy and it actually works. When compared to the network’s popular "Vampire Diaries" and its fellow new series "Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast" is a perfect fit.
As of late, the supernatural market has all but over-saturated the small screen. While shows like "Teen Wolf," "Once Upon a Time," and "Grimm" are huge successes for other networks it was the WB, (which merged with UPN in 2006-2007 to form the CW) that had the supernatural market tapped for young people in the late 90s and early 2000s. Shows like "Angel," "Buffy," "Charmed," and "Smallville" were wildly popular and to this day have continued their cult-like followings into the comic book medium. While "Beauty and the Beast" may be aimed at a slightly older audience, it has the potential to be every bit as captivating as the network’s past success and maybe even more so than the original series.
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