June 12, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Beauty & The Beast”


BEAUTY & THE BEAST:  Thursday 8PM on CW

BEAUTY & THE BEAST has been demoted about as far as a CW series can go, from its original mid-week, regular season perch to Fridays, and now to summer (after being off the air for 11 months) with a reduced order of 13 episodes.  The speculation is that the only reason it’s still breathing at all is because of its international value to its studio, as well as its inclusion in CW’s overall Netflix deal.  On the creative side, the series was uneven from the start, and a change in showrunner in Season 2 to Brad Kern brought in many bad ideas, including turning Beast Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) into some kind of government assassin, and keeping Vincent and his beauty, NYPD detective Cat Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) apart for most of the season.

With all that, one might have expected more of a reboot from the Season 3 premiere than there turned out to be.  The Season 2 finale had introduced Vincent and Cat to a pair of Homeland Security officers who tried to recruit the couple to help them track down even beastier creatures than Vincent, and tonight’s premiere, which picked up 2 months later and was written by Kern and directed by Jeff Renfroe, seemed to be intended for those who needed convincing that the two would end up joining the cause.  Much of the hour was devoted to weighty discussions about what Vincent and Cat owed society, and whether Vincent could use his Beast powers for mutant-hunting without altogether losing his humanity, and so on.  Of course by the end they had decided to do their duty, and the only real plot development was Vincent’s marriage proposal to Cat.  (She said yes.) This seems likely to lead to a run of procedural-type episodes, with plenty of complications to stand in the way of a joyous wedding, and there will probably be a mythology plot about where all these new super-powered beings are coming from.

The B story featured Vincent’s and Cat’s respective best friends JT (Austin Basis) and Tess (Nina Lisandrello), themselves a couple by the end of Season 2, and concerned JT finally getting over his depression after his near-death injuries at the end of Season 2, thanks to a stern talking-to from Tess.  The nature of JT’s rescue in that finale will be a continuing thread, and the fact that Cat’s sister Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson)–herself engaged–has a fiancee who’s been unseen so far no doubt does not bode well, but all things considered, there was little here to spark the series into more life than it’s had.

Other issues that have dogged Beauty & The Beast continue to be problematic.  Although CW series are generally shot on tight budgets, Beauty has for some reason never managed to hide that fact, and it has a cheap look.  (Its attempts to simulate New York in Canada are notably pathetic.)  The two action sequences tonight were shot in semi-darkness and with very quick cuts in an attempt to disguise that there wasn’t enough strong footage on hand to make the scenes convincing.  The two couples who essentially make up the regular cast have some chemistry together, but the actors never seem challenged.

It’s quite possible that despite the summer move, Beauty & the Beast‘s ratings won’t get significantly worse than they were last year, since there wasn’t much room for further decline.  Its continued survival seems to depend less on those numbers than on the other revenues it brings in, so it’s impossible to predict whether the show will stick around or not.  Its content, though, won’t be attracting many new fans, or even do much to hold on to those it has.

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."