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Beauty and the Beast - Pilot Review

Smallville's Kristin Kreuk is back on the small screen in this modern take on the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Quite possibly the only CW series that is not heavily serialized, Beauty and the Beast is a loose adaptation of the 1980's television series of the same name that aired on CBS. Kristin Kreuk stars as Catharine Chandler, a no-nonsense homicide detective in New York City, and Jay Ryan stars as the not-so-ugly beast Vincent Keller.

The Pilot Episode opens in a bar in a small town. A young Catharine (Kreuk) is closing up the bar, but as she leaves is unable to start the engine of her car. She calls her mother for help, and as her mom is trying to help her start the car, two men pull up and kill Catharine's mom. Catharine flees into the woods, and just as the two men are about to kill her as well, she is rescued by a beast. Ten years later, Catharine is working as a detective in New York City. She's had a string of bad relationships and she breaks up with her latest boyfriend just as she heads in to a homicide case. The case ultimately leads her to Vincent Keller, which reopens the door to Catharine trying to uncover who killed her mother that night. What follows in the remainder of the episode is a paranormal romance amidst a case-of-the-week that is being solved.

The familiarity of seeing Clark Kent's love interest and the sweet girl-next-door back on TV is what makes the Pilot Episode remotely enjoyable. Like Rachel Bilson's return to television last year in Hart of Dixie, fans of Kreuk will be glad to have her back on a weekly basis. However, unlike Dixie, Kreuk is the only redeeming quality about this show. Clogged with poor writing and cliche dialogue, there is nothing here that hasn't been seen before in previous shows. Further, Australian actor Jay Ryan is no male lead material. His acting is subpar at best, with a scene near the end of the episode exposing his acting flaws as he transforms into the "beast" when angered.

What this series also needs to figure out is what they want the "beast" to look like. When Vincent is the beast in the episode, he is either shaded by dark lighting or impaired vision from another character's point-of-view. And when the appearance of the creature is revealed, it is a little underwhelming. Opting to use CG to create the beast rather than to go the route of Buffy and Angel and use make-up, Vincent's beastly appearance is more laughable than frightening.

Other than the ongoing mystery sub-plot regarding the death of Catherine's mom, there isn't much to Beauty and the Beast that makes it worth returning for a second viewing. What the series tried to do was two things: Tell a paranormal romance a la Vampire Diaries, and create a crime procedural like CSI. But poor writing made for both elements to be rather lackluster. My suggestion to the creative team of the show is this—Pick one or the other and perfect it rather than trying to do both.

Beauty and the Beast premieres Thursday, October 11 at 9/8c on The CW. **Please note that this is only a preview of the early version of the pilot** 

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Twitter: @kylefong

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