The Nature of the Beast.
Very, very, very, very loosely inspired by the cult TV show in the ’80s, this version of Beauty and Beast revisits the unnatural love shared between a slight-figured attractive woman and a burly alpha male prone to physical confrontation and poor dental habits. Put through the CW sausage grinder ensures that all kernels of potential coolness are stripped clean, leaving a flimsy, airbrushed ball of nonsense.
Here’s the story: years ago Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk, Legend of Chun Li), witnessed her parents get rescued by a mysterious half-man/half-animal thing. Little did she know that beast would take a keen interest in her as she grew up and eventually become a detective for the local crime-fighting outfit in the unnamed Canadian city where all of this is shot.
Eventually, Cat meets up with The Beast, a homeboy named Vincent (Jay Ryan, Terra Nova) and learns his terrifying secret: a former Army grunt, he signed up for some genetic engineering to become a super solider that inadvertently turned him into a crazy beastman when he got enrage.
Despite this, Cat fell in love with this hunky dreamboat and the two began a tortured romance. In between angst-ridden confessions of love and the occasional hairball, the two embark on routine police procedural adventures.
Season 2 picks up on the previous run’s cliffhanger, where Vincent was abducted by mysterious forces. We begin with his return, but he can’t remember anything and starts beasting out more than normal. Worse, his relationship with Cat deteriorates and she strikes up a fling with her douchey co-worker. That doesn’t stop Vincent and Cat from going on arson investigations or running interference on other “Beasts” who are out there looking to cause trouble.
I have a reasonably high tolerance for CW shows. The Flash and Supernatural are part of an exclusive club of series that I bother following anymore. But I am not immune the network’s failings and this is right up there. How Beauty and the Beast has managed to earn another season order have scoring sub 1.0 ratings consistently is confounding. It is an aggressively mediocre, insipid affair, which manages to make an outlandish, ridiculous concept utterly boring thanks to a healthy infusion of clichéd, milquetoast storytelling.
First off, there is zero reason to call this “Beauty and the Beast,” other than to capitalize on the title’s existing pop culture cachet. Granted, Kreuk is indeed beautiful, but Vincent looks like a cast-off from a Menudo tribute band. He only dabbles in ugliness when he beasts out, but even that retains some studliness; beasts in this world look more like brooding Brad Pitt vampires than bipedal yak-men.
Regardless, it’s all lost in the swirl of low-octane show-running. As smoldering as our titular leads may be, they’re a pair of stiffs. Cat is boring and Vincent is dull (they do deserve each other!). The primary story in this season is a predictable big-bad type of thing, culminating is a severely underwhelming showdown. I will say, however, the show’s coda, hinting at some sort of needs for the duo to fight malevolent super-scientists was mildly interesting.
The DVDs deliver standard-issue 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and 5.1 transfers, supplemented by a handful of special features: a season in review bit, a making-of episode featurette, a set tour, gag reel and deleted scenes.
Basically it’s just two pretty people spouting platitudes at each other and solving mysteries. No thanks.