CW's 'Beauty' remake is a beast

By VERNE GAY

Newsday

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Years ago, Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk, who played Lana Lang on "Smallville") witnessed her mother's murder, and just as the killers were about to off her, too, a wild animal - or manimal - sprang from the woods and offed them first. Then he, or it, silently disappeared. Fast-forward to 2012, when "Cat" is now working as a homicide detective with the NYPD. Prints at a murder scene lead her to seek a doctor who had enlisted post-9/11, was presumed dead in Afghanistan, but who ... long story short ... is in fact the "beast" that saved her all those years ago. As it happened, Vincent (Jay Ryan) was part of a biochemical experiment that changed his DNA, making him into a super warrior. But this army of secret warriors was deemed dangerous, and exterminated. Vincent escaped, to become Cat's guardian angel - for reasons to be determined.

MY SAY: TV has tackled "B&B" a handful of times, but the starting point with any discussion is Ron Perlman's late-'80s CBS version, which, of course, had no relation to the Disney feature except in one key respect: The beast looked like a lion in both instances. When Vincent undergoes a Hulk-like morph here, he looks like a guy who downed a fifth of whiskey, got on the losing end of a bar fight and fell face down in a puddle. Needless to say, he's not as scary as he is pathetic, not a "beast" as much as a slob. This newcomer hasn't expunged the emblematic fairy-tale elements of all the versions - the beast eventually turns into a handsome prince, etc. - as much as obliterate them. Why? Possibly to add political relevancy (the war in Afghanistan) or possibly to save on makeup expenses.

It almost doesn't matter what Vincent looks like, because this "Beast" is a dud. Absent a compelling core romance, and absent a passably beast-like beast, you're left with a sodden police procedural.

BOTTOM LINE: The beauty. The beast. Wonder which best describes this CW remake?

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

9 p.m. EDT Today

CW, Time Warner Cable channel 15