Featured TV on DVD Review: Beauty and the Beast: Season One
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Beauty and the Beast is a remake of the 1987 series of the same name. That show starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman and while it only lasted two seasons (the third season with Linda Hamilton hardly counts) it developed a very loyal fan base. This remake was not greeted with a lot of critical praise, while its ratings dropped from 2.78 million for the series premiere to just 1.26 million for the season finale. Were the critics right? Were viewers wise to abandon the show?
The show begins in 2003 with Kristin Kreuk as Catherine Chandler. She works at a bar while preparing for her LSAT. She's asked to close the bar, but when she tries to leave, her car won't start, so she calls her mom. However, after her mom gets there, they are approached by two men. Her mother tells her to get in the car, but before she can, the men shoot her mother, so Cat runs into the woods. She doesn't get too far before she trips and smacks her head. It looks like she will be killed, but then something attacks the two men and kills them. She can't tell what it is, because of her concussion, but she thinks it is some kind of beast.
Nine years later, Cat is a detective with the NYPD and while her mother's murder hasn't been solved yet, she's mostly put it past her. However, that changes when there's a new case she and her partner, Tess Vargas, are working on. There's two main clues, a fingerprint and some DNA evidence. The DNA evidence is curious, as it points to mixed species. This is exactly what happened nine years ago with her mother's murder. The finger print belongs to Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan years ago. While trying to find information on Vincent, she tracks down his old roommate, J.T. Forbes, and suspects he's hiding something. She's right, he's hiding Vincent. Vincent underwent a super-soldier program in the military, but there were side effects. When angry, he transformers into a beast... by that I mean he still looks like an underwear model, but has yellow eyes and claws. (I'm being a little unfair here, but it's nothing compared to what Ron Perlman underwent.) He faked his death and is in hiding, because everyone else who underwent the procedure is dead. The company, Muirfield, killed everyone to cover their tracks, and they are willing to kill again to keep their secret. However, they didn't count on Cat and Vincent teaming up to uncover what they covered up.
I went from reviewing one of the best new shows of last season, Nashville, to reviewing one of the worst. Oh boy, this was painful to watch. It has nearly nothing to do with the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, or the Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman show from 1987. The beast is now a super soldier with rage issues, so that makes him a combination of Captain America and The Hulk. These changes would be fine, if a little unnecessary, if the show was well made, but it is not. Nearly every aspect of the show is terrible, from the writing, to the characters, to the acting.
The writing is little more than a collection of clichés. It is particularly bad when it comes to the police procedural stuff that dominates the early episodes. In the second episode, they are investigating the murder of a ballerina. The ballerina's understudy used to be the star, but suffered an injury and took a year off. She didn't just take a year off, but went upstate to do so. As soon as they said she left for a year, I knew she wasn't injured, but got pregnant and left to have the kid. And I was right. The worst sin a police procedural can make is to be predictable. The dialogue is also riddled with clichés and is weak in other areas as well. This hurts the acting, because even the best actors would struggle to deliver some of these lines. I don't think there's enough chemistry between Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, and considering how much emphasis there is on the romance, this is devastating for the show. The Muirfield mystery is better and the further you get into the season, the more compelling the show gets, but it is too little, too late in my opinion.
There are extras spread throughout the six-disc set, but on most discs, there's just deleted scenes. Disc one has an audio commentary track on the first disc, as well as deleted scenes. Disc six has a trio of featurettes, starting with an overview of season one, including the path the show took from concept to shooting. There is also a nine-minute featurette on the fashion in the show. Finally, there is an eleven-minute featurette on the make-up process used to make the beast. There are also nine minutes of outtakes. That's enough extras to be worth picking up, if you are a fan of the show.
As I was watching the first season of Beauty and the Beast, I wanted to stop and instead watch Dark Angel. All the elements from this series is in that older one, but they are all much weaker here. The six-disc DVD has enough extras that it is worth picking up if you are a fan, but I am nowhere near a fan of this show.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-10-04