SAN DIEGO – How do you follow a show about crazy vampire love? The CW thinks they’ve found the answer by getting Beast-ly. This Fall the new detective procedural/fairy tale romance/gritty military conspiracy hybrid “Beauty and the Beast” will take over the plum post-“Vampire Diaries” slot on The CW’s schedule.
Starring “Smallville” alumna Kristin Kreuk and New Zealand born “Terra Nova” recurring player Jay Ryan, the show reimagines the tale as old as time as a modern day story of two star-crossed lovers. Comic-Con attendees got an advance look at the pilot and although there were smatterings of inappropriate laughter and audible groans over some of the cheesier elements in the pilot, there were also cheers for a sequence featuring Kreuk kicking criminal ass in a subway.
A brief panel discussion following the pilot presentation gave the audience five absolutely vital pieces of information:
1) Technically this is a reboot of the late ’80s series starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton, but you may not even notice
“All the romance is still there. It’s a procedural. The character names are the same,” said executive producer Sherri Cooper (“Brothers and Sisters”). But otherwise the show has developed in a totally different direction. No underground communities or hirsute heroes here, just Kreuk as a lady copy and Ryan as a former military man with a prominent facial scar (his beast-y qualities manifest in other ways).
2) Star Jay Ryan can’t wait to get physical
“I think with the pilot it was about ‘less is more’ so we have room to move through the series,” Ryan said before adding he hopes to bring out a harness and figure out how high the Beast can jump and just how powerful the military experiments have made him. “[I want to] get him jumping up walls and have Catherine under one arm.”
3) What makes this different from any other procedural? The characters!
“This procedural show is really a character procedural show and the cases will always be seen through their relationships,” Cooper said, apparently unfamiliar with what every producer of every procedural on television says in every single interview they give. She and fellow producer Jennifer Levin (“Without a Trace”) are also excited to explore the working relationship between Kreuk and her partner (played by Nina Lisandrello): “What we haven’t really seen on TV in awhile is two young female detectives. We want to show the reality of that.”
4) Other “Smallville” stars could pop up in a guest roles
“That’d be great!” Kreuk enthused. “Maybe some of them would do it.” Considering “Beauty” is also executive produced by “Smallville” alums Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders that may be arranged. Noting the versatility of the “Smallville” cast, Souders added, “It would be great to get some of them in for different roles.”
5) While The CW’s “Beauty” actually got a series order, there was a rival “Beauty” pilot in the works at ABC that wasn’t so lucky. Apparently they were also interested in Kreuk. So how did The CW show win?
“We wooed her with cupcakes. Assorted flavors,” said Levin. “I’m easy,” noted Kreuk.
“Beauty and the Beast” premieres Thursday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.