Take Me To The Pilots ’12: The CW’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

[In case you’ve Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all “These are reviews.” If you’ve read me, you’ve read my reviews and you know this isn’t what they look like.]

Show: “Beauty and the Beast” (The CW)
The Pitch: Unfortunately, the pitch isn’t the problem, so I have nothing to say. They wanted to remake “Beauty and the Beast” for a new generation. I have no problems with that. But the pitch was probably “Let’s do ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ but ours is gonna be more like ‘Beauty and The Hot Guy With Anger Issues.”
Quick Response: Like I said, the pitch wasn’t the problem. The problem with “Beauty and the Beast” is the execution on absolutely every level. But even that, I can forgive. As I often say: Sometimes, pilots just don’t work. It happens. And when a pilot fails as badly as “Beauty and the Beast” fails, you simply don’t send it to series and you don’t air it and you move on. In the pilot process, misses are part of the business. But I look at the “Beauty and the Beast” pilot and there’s no element here that I can imagine future improvements being built around. I can’t latch onto a source of hope. The adaptation of the basic premise is ludicrous and unimaginative: Something about military experiments and cross-species DNA and zzzzz. Kristin Kreuk, while unquestionably fulfilling the basic edict of playing the “beauty” in the title, is otherwise hilariously miscast. You know who won’t laugh when her Catherine bursts through a door yelling, “NYPD. I’ve got a warrant”? Nobody, that’s who. It’s hilarious. And not intentionally so. And the interpretation of The Beast? Possibly even funnier than Kristin Kreuk as a badass Manhattan cop. As played by Jay Ryan — yet another New Zealand actor with strong cheekbones and no clue how to do an American accent — this alleged “beast” is basically unbeastly in every way. He has a scar, but not a scar that would impact his ability to be on the cover of Tiger Beat. Seriously, somebody with a bad haircut would be more aesthetically handicapped than this guy. Sometimes he kinda hulks out, but that’s hilarious, too. The script is nothing but cliches strung together. A character actually walks in on a character believed to be dead and says, “You look pretty good for a dead guy.” Ugh. If you’re a writer in 2012 and you write a line like that without any irony or self-awareness… That’s bad. And because nothing in the pilot really illustrates the story’s core theme — Because The Beast is a ripped hottie, Beauty hardly blinks before she starts getting naughty feelings in his presence — somebody has to actually say, “Sometimes things aren’t as they seem. You can’t tell who the real monsters are.” Does that mean that the hot vigilante hero might ACTUALLY turn out to be a beast, rather than just a misunderstood “Magic Mike” reject with some mutated genes? No. Probably not. The action in the present is cheap-looking and ridiculous. The mythology-driven stuff from Catherine’s past (and Vincent’s past) isn’t involving in the slightest. I don’t know what anybody involved, including usually sturdy director Gary Fleder and all of the top brass at The CW, were thinking here. Except that I do. They’re ignoring the blunder and selling the brand. Yeah. That always works.
Desire To Watch Again: I watch a lot of bad stuff on The CW. I made it through a whole season of “Ringer” and all of the episodes of the new “Melrose Place.” I’m also a faithful enough “The Vampire Diaries” viewer [and Phoebe Tonkin fan] that I stuck around after “TVD” to watch a full season of the generally average “The Secret Circle.” I don’t think I could watch another episode of “Beauty and the Beast.” I guess I’ll give “Beauty and the Beast” a second episode to see if there’s any indication that anybody recognized the need for a massive overhaul, but that’s it.

Take Me To The Pilots ’12: ABC’s ‘666 Park Avenue’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: FOX’s ‘Ben and Kate’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: CBS’ ‘Elementary’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: The CW’s ‘Arrow’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: ABC’s ‘The Neighbors’
Take Me To The Pilots ’12: NBC’s ‘Revolution’
All of last year’s Take Me To The Pilots entries