Friday, March 1, 2013

Let's Compare It: Beauty and the Beast TV (1987 vs. 2012)



A couple of months ago, I wrote a first reaction article about seeing the teaser trailer for the Beauty and the Beast TV remake. If you read, you will see the nerd rage fuming. But after watching 13 episodes of pure CW cheese, I have given the show some more credit then prior. As someone that watched the original, watching the new series has given me some sort of deja vu, some flashbacks of grander moments from my viewing of the original. So with that, I thought I would take a look at my "favorite" obvious re-hashings of elements from the original to the new and who did it better, if one could even ask such a question.



1. Vincent's First Love 
Category: Evolved Concept
Which Is Better: Original

Vincent having any sort of romance outside of Catherine has always been a bit of a touchy subject - either it is handled with a pointless one episode arc ("The Child"). But when addressing Vincent's first love in the original series ("Arabesque"), we meet a girl from the tunnels that became a dancer due to Vincent's influence. This episode is paced very perfectly in terms of the dramatic tension between the two characters, giving enough time to develop an emotional reaction to the reasoning behind the results of their relationship (especially getting to know awkward teenage Vincent). With this story progression, plus one of my favorite Vincent and Catherine moments were, makes this an unforgettable episode. 

Now if we take a look at the 2012 series, we also get a similar arc, except it is blown out into multiple episodes. Vincent's childhood sweetheart turned finance discovers him roaming in the hospital, after believing him to be dead. Sadly, I think this discovery would have been better if it were drawn out further into smaller moments throughout the series. I feel like making their relationship start up so fast again wasn't realistic. Except I will give the general ending to the arc props, though it wasn't perfect (Spoiler Alert: There is gonna be more - unfortunately.) 

At the end of both these general arcs, we discover why this relationship probably won't work for the best. Vincent's "Beastly" issues got in the way, and prior to judgement free Catherine, these ladies just weren't getting it and got too scared or too Diva to commit. We all know Vincent deserves better then that, especially better then remake fiance Alex, who reminds me of every annoying girl in high school that ran for class president .



2. Catherine's Other Boyfriends

Category: Generally Same Concept
Which is Better: Remake

Now, in the original series, there were various moments in which Catherine would get a new romantic interest that would basically lead Vincent to lose his cool. This was fun and all, but I always found it to be a story line that was too rehashed and recycled, making it a  "Boyfriend of the Week" type show. Granted I get why it was done and it is fun to watch, but not handled the best way possible (and as much as I love Catherine, she ain't no Carrie Bradshaw!)

The remake though actually gets it right, by sticking to one major character who is Catherine's other interest: Evan. Evan works within the same magical perfectly lit Police Office as Catherine, and seems to be the perfect witty British coded match for Catherine. Evan definitely feels protective and secretly loves Catherine, almost to the point of going nuts trying to figure out who that secret creature is that always ends up near Catherine's crime scene work. (Spoiler alert: It's Vincent) 

Giving Catherine a romantic interest that is constantly a topic of discussion in almost every episode makes sense and is done very well without being too ridiculous. Sure, I love the original's short lived triangle of Elliot Burch and Vincent, especially with its fun take on the complete polar opposites of them as characters. But even with Evan and Vincent in the remake being only the battle of Blonde vs. Brunette, its still a bit more enjoyable, and even with the ridiculous nature of the story - more believable.



3. Vincent Loses His Mind (Or Control of the Rawr)
Category: Evolved Concept
Which is Better: Tie

Now we all know that Vincent is definitely a guy with a lot of feels. He has the feels with the inner Beast in him in the remake, and the feels of him being a Beast guy, period in the original. In the 1987 show, it took almost till the end of the series for Vincent to lose it. This of course was a slow build up from the beginning, with Vincent ever so perfectly losing control as each episode went on, especially at season two. This is shown perfectly from episodes 43 - 45, where we see Vincent just standing in a dark corner, drenched in the real sweat Ron Perlman must have had from being in that damn costume all day. Now thats some crazy stuff right there.

Now if we compare that to the remake, this sadly did not have a slow build up. But 
at the same time, in my opinion, its turning and building into something much more interesting and compelling. Yes, they started off the series with Vincent being a pretty boy - with some sort of Monster issue. Now it has been discovered that Vincent's DNA is changing constantly, and mutating him into something else that no one knows is coming. Now I will say, if the series goes the direction I believe its trying to, I will give the best slow clap humanly possible. But time will tell. 

Either way, each of the different versions in this aspect have a strength within this topic. One slowly builds on an all ready interesting premise, while the other makes something boring into something very intriguing. Either way, they equally showcase Vincent off in some regard, even though its hard to compare the supermodel to the real beast otherwise.

In Conclusion

Now with new episodes coming, it will be interesting to see what other plot points evolve from the original into the new. Will they be good? Will they be bad? I am sure some part of it will be campy. Sure, there are other aspects I didn't even get to touch upon (Catherine's Dad's Love Life, Vincent Having An Over Protective Watcher) and there will probably continue to be more and more, as this series goes further on the drama train. 

So, have you been watching Beauty and the Beast (2012)? What are you watching now? I love hearing about new series! 

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