"Beauty and the Beast" Series Premiere Review/Recap

Shannan Singletary ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in the series premiere of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW.
I can honestly say that I had no expectations as I began to watch the CW’s new show Beauty and the Beast. I had seen no previews, read no synopsis, and had only ever heard the show briefly mentioned in passing. Despite having no expectations, or maybe because of that, I was thoroughly surprised when within a few minutes the show took on the format of a crime show.
The show follows Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk), a law student turned NYPD officer after her mother was brutally murdered and she was attacked nine years earlier. Of course, like the classic movie the show is named after, for every beauty there has to be a beast. The beast comes in the in the form of Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan), a doctor turned military man who supposedly died many years ago in battle.
The pilot episode begins nine years earlier as Catherine, or Cat as many call her, is heading home from her job at a local bar where she is working to pay her way through law school. Her car refuses to start, so she calls her mom who quickly comes to help her. While the two are working on getting the car started, two guys show up and starting shooting, hitting Cat’s mom and chasing the girl into a nearby woods as she struggled to dodge their bullets. Just as it appears that Cat will no longer be able to escape the wrath of the two men, something, or someone, jumps out of the trees and attacks the men, killing them and saving Cat in the process. The ‘creature’ then escaped back into the woods before Cat could get a good look at it.
Flashing forward to present day, Cat is investigating the murder of a woman, a fairly routine occurrence in her line of work. However, this case becomes anything but routine after the prints of a deceased war veteran are found on the victim. To further complicate matters, DNA is found in a hair follicle that connects the case to the attack on her and her mother many years earlier.
The show has several aspects working both for it and against it. The format of the show, I feel, is a major plus. It has the intellectual intrigue of a murder-mystery, as well as the emotional appeal of the dramas the CW is known for. While watching the pilot, I found myself not only captivated by the development of relationships, but I also found myself constantly attempting to uncover conspiracies behind Cat’s mother’s death and guessing at the secrets the show has up its sleeve.
On the other hand, I found it hard to believe Kreuk’s portrayal of the tough-girl Cat. Unlike Cat’s partner Tess (Nina Lisandrello) who comes across as intimidating at times, Kreuk seems entirely too, well, nice. I was honestly really shocked when, halfway through the episode, a fight scene breaks out and Cat could not only defend herself, but could also inflict a great deal of damage on her attacker.
The pilot episode was definitely full of surprises, and though some of them were predictable (something unavoidable when a show is loosely based off of a well-known story), there were enough pleasant surprises to keep me watching at least for another week.
Beauty and the Beast airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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