June 3, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Beauty & the Beast”


BEAUTY & THE BEAST:  Thursday 9PM on CW

The opening hour of the fourth and final season of CW’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST was practically meta, what with the characters seeming to spend half the episode complaining about the fact that just when they thought they were finished with it all, here they were back dealing with the same storylines they’d been living for years.  And they were right:  the series could easily have ended with the finale of Season 3, which had Beauty cop Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) and crime-fighting Beast Vincent (Jay Ryan) finally wed, with the government helping to clean up all traces of Vincent’s super-powers.  But despite extremely low ratings even by CW standards, the show was deemed worthy of one last run (reportedly because of its value in overseas and digital distribution).  So here we all were, the viewers along with the characters, watching Vincent at risk of being exposed, and Catherine’s life in danger until her beloved showed up to rescue her, all over again.

The season premiere script, by showrunner Brad Kern, didn’t bother with much of a plot.  There was an evil big game hunter on Vincent’s trail, willing to torture and kill to find out the Beast’s identity so he could earn a $5M bounty, and that was about it.  The only hook for the 12 episodes yet to come was the fact that Vincent and Catherine will eventually need to find out who had put up the bounty.  The characters’ personal lives are fairly well set too, barring new melodramatic complications to come.  Not only are Vincent and Catherine a comfortably bantering set of newlyweds, but their respective BFFs and sidekicks JT (Austin Basis) and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) were last seen getting ready to move in together.  To make things even neater, Catherine’s flighty sister Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson) has been given a new regular cast member, EMT Kyle (Michael Roark), with whom she wasted no time getting into bed.

So many fantasy adventures have hit the air since Beauty & the Beast arrived in 2012 that the show seems even more negligible than it did when it started.  Its characters have never been particularly deep, its production values are paltry even for CW (the newlyweds’ brief “French” honeymoon in the season premiere was particularly sad), and the plotting (under more than one set of showrunners) has sometimes been woeful.  It developed a certain comfort food quality over time, though, especially once the writers realized that Vincent and Catherine were more appealing as rom-com leads than as brooding and miserable, and the actors bring some charm to their roles.  On balance, however, it seems best for all concerned that soon all of us will be able to move on to new things, before the series finds itself going hopelessly around in circles.  (Not that we’ll be entirely free of the underlying tale:  Disney is already advertising its 2017 live action reboot of the animated musical movie.)

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."