In Defense of Beauty and the Beast

When the fall season kicked off, I told y’all how much I liked this show, and I wanted to check in on it again, because for me, it’s gotten better every week, and coming up on the hiatus when you’re looking for something to watch, maybe it’s something you can check out and find the charm in, too. I’m completely aware that some folks are still hating on it, even if they never got past the pilot. That’s a logic that doesn’t work for me. If I don’t like a show, I don’t watch it. I like Beauty and the Beast, and here’s why.

First, go in knowing that the crimes are going to be silly as hell and you’ll be OK.

One of the things I like so much about this show is that to a person, everyone is buying in on these characters and their story, and the chemistry works. I love that at the end of it, the two main characters, Catherine and Vincent, are completely terrified of a relationship with anyone, much less each other, but they find solace in their offbeat friendship that only J.T. knows about. I like that they’ve made their own family.

I like that there could be something more there but that it didn’t dive right into bodice-ripping, forbidden love goofiness. We’re going into episode seven and I think they’ve only touched each other twice, but it works. It’s right there on the table that they’re attracted to each other–they just haven’t gotten there yet, and Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan are selling the hell out of it.

Outside of their coccon, we’re getting a little more into Catherine’s family, too, with the introduction of her dad (Nikita‘s Rob Stewart) and soon-to-be stepmom, and I like that he’s not supposed to be an asshole. He’s somebody who moved on after his wife’s death. When it looked like his fiance was hiding something, she wasn’t and Catherine had to put her preconceptions in a box.

We ruled out the early big bad of Muirfield (and unfortunately, Peter Outerbridge) pretty quickly and then introduced the idea that Vincent might be his own ticking big bad because he’s blacking out–something that crept up just as he was about to have a first date with Catherine. He hasn’t told Catherine about that yet, but she’s about to find out. We’ve also seen Catherine try to have a life outside her job, even if it still involves her co-workers as her friends, whom she can’t tell about Vincent.

And that’s been an interesting angle–Vincent and Catherine can’t really discuss their friendship with anyone because he’s supposedly dead, and if she tells even the people closest to her about him, it tangents off of her mother’s murder and looks like she’s still hanging onto the past. She’s wrestling with that, as is J.T., who’s had his life on hold for nine years being Vincent’s, until now, only confidante.

My only nit so far is that they’ve thrown a third party into the potential romance with a stolen, drunken birthday kiss at Catherine’s party between her and her BFF, Evan. I buy that he’s probably secretly pined for her, and it’s crossed her mind, too, but that’s hardly where her head is and I don’t ever need geometry in my romantic entanglements. That’s peeve number one for me on any show. It’s why I broke up with J.J. Abrams.

The show got its back nine pick up, so we’ll have it through the spring (and hopefully beyond). Episodes 2 through 6 are on the CW website (the previouslies tell you the big hits from the pilot, which isn’t online), and episodes 1 through 6 are on the Showcase site, so there’s a great opportunity to catch up and then pick the show up.

Beauty and the Beast returns tonight to the CW in the US at 9 pm/8 Central and on Showcase in Canada at 9 pm/6 Pacific for the first of three new episodes before the winter break.

Photo courtesy of Sven Frenzel/The CW.

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