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Beauty and the Beast: TV Review

Beauty and the Beast

The Bottom Line

Everything about this is predictable, from the casting to the network’s modus operandi. Enjoy!

Airdate

9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 (The CW)

Cast

Kristin Kreuk, Jay Ryan, Nina Lisandrello, Brian White, Max Brown

A hilariously bad remake of the original, substituting the amazingly gorgeous Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in the title roles, which is how The CW rolls.

Oh, CW, don’t ever change.

I love your crazy, optimistic world view -- which is basically a dream world of super hot people mimicking what normal people do in the real world. I love that you don’t stray too far from form, ever: young, beautiful, thin, impossibly romantic with little splashes of pop culture snark. And all of it playing below the soundtrack of some Band of the Moment.

You also -- and bless you for this -- are tragically, hilariously unaware of your own lack of self-awareness. It is the only possible explanation for your remake of Beauty and the Beast, which is more like Beauty and Beauty With a Slight Scar. Only The CW would take a super hunky dude who would make most women swoon and call him a Beast because he’s got a couple of cuts on his face that, strangely enough, make him magnetically more attractive to other beautiful people.

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That is either awesome or messed up, or awesomely messed up. Because The CW doesn’t even get it. If the network got it, someone would have said, “Hey, guys, this is ridiculous even by our standards. You know that, right?”

Jay Ryan, a veteran of New Zealand soaps and some small roles here, is the handsome doctor Vincent Keller. Dr. Keller witnessed the attacks of Sept. 11 and lost two brothers in the Twin Towers. So he enlists in the military, is quickly pegged as a perfect candidate for a secret project and -- voila -- he’s a super soldier. Faster, better, amazing, you name it. But too much adrenaline turns him into a very dangerous, um, beast. His handsome face roars and his lovely eyes turn bright and he roars a bit louder and his totally cut body picks things up and throws them real hard, causing damage. He doesn’t grow hair on his face, though, because The CW likes its boys mostly smooth. Anyway, he’s still a beast.

Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Smallville's Kristin Kreuk) was a hot teenager working as a bartender -- oh, just go with it, it’s The CW -- whose car battery died because she left the light-equipped vanity mirror on her sun visor down (no, I did not make that up). Anyway, her mom, a doctor, arrives to jump-start her car but gets killed by two thugs. Cat runs into the woods and, just before she’s shot by the same thugs, a beast leaps out and tears the thugs to ribbons, probably because they weren’t handsome enough to be on The CW.

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Nine years later, Cat is now a homicide detective in New York. She’s partnered with Detective Tess Vargas (Nina Lisandrello) who is -- wait for it -- impossibly hot and dangerously thin. When the two of them walk into a crime scene, it looks like they’re coming down a fashion runway.

It is, in a word, awesome. In two words: awesomely hilarious.

Apparently they’re part of New York’s super secret Zero Body Fat Detective Squad (ZBFDS). Their “tough but fair boss” is Joe Bishop (Brian White). Hello, handsome! Seriously, the three of them are like a gatefold magazine spread. But it gets better, because medical examiner Evan Marks (Max Brown) is also crazy good looking in a Jude Law kind of way and he’s got a British accent, to boot. He also has the hots for Cat, but who doesn’t? Get in line, Brit boy.

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Anyway, Vincent/The Beast has been in hiding and protected by his childhood friend J.T. (Austin Basis), who’s kind of a medical-science nerd and thus the least attractive person here, so The CW has stuck him in an abandoned warehouse with biohazardous material all around so that none of his unattractive nerd friends visit. No, that’s not true. It’s to keep Vincent/The Beast safe from the military people who are still trying to kill him to erase all traces of their secret experiment. They are the same people who -- gasp! -- killed Cat’s mom so Cat and the Beast will be forever linked trying to figure out that conspiracy while also keeping non-beautiful thugs off the streets of New York and The CW’s camera lenses.

I think other things happen in this pilot, but I was too busy doing ab crunches and ordering manly face products so I could go outside without shame and thus didn’t notice. One note I made was that Kreuk is a good actress who deserves better material. She’s also quite lovely. I underlined that three times, so it must be important (probably because she’s the “beauty” part of the show's title). I would like to think that The CW put this weightless piece of visual confection on the air with a knowing wink. But I fear that it did not.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com