It was way back in the ’80s when the original Beauty and the Beast crawled out of the sewers and into viewer’s living rooms.Tonight at 9 p.m. on The CW and Showcase, a new version of the series emerges.
The sewers seem too good for this howlingly bad update, which is shot in Toronto, not for from where another Showcase series is produced, Lost Girl. Coincidentally, the original Catherine from the old series, Linda Hamilton, was on the Lost Girl set a few months ago as a guest star. When I spoke with her at the time, she joked that she should cross the street and visit the new Beast lair.
The original TV beast was played by Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) as a big, cranky, furry-faced puddy-tat who freaked every time his precious lady love Catherine got in danger.The series didn’t last very long, but was a phenomenon for a while, with women gathering in church halls and community centres to swoon over the hairy he-man. The series clearly filled a romantic void on network TV at the time.
The new beast, played by New Zealander Jay Ryan, is a handsome dude with a scar who can somehow genetically change into a strong, speedy beast. He falls for a police detective played by Vancouver-native Kristen Kreuk (Smallville).
Kreuk has arresting good looks, but as a convincing cop she’s Rookie blew. This remake is so bad it may only last six years on The CW.
When I spoke with Kreuk at last summer’s TCA press tour in Los Angeles, she admitted playing a cop was a bit of a stretch. “I don’t walk into a room with an authoritative stance,” she said, “but I love it, it’s such a challenge for me to go out there and take that position.”
There’s a scene in tonight’s pilot that was shot in the “secret” subway station in downtown Toronto. The underground station was built for a subway extension that was abandoned. Film crews take advantage of it all the time.
Kreuk was feeling ill when those subway scenes were shot but, given the short schedule, had to suck it up and get the job done. “We had a huge fight scene mapped out, you have to learn those things quick,” she says.
Kreuk says she hadn’t seen the original series when she was offered the part. “I didn’t have TV growing up and my parents didn’t watch much TV either,” she says. Where did she live, in a sewer?
She’s adapting to life in Toronto after settling the last few years in Los Angeles. “But it was hard,” she says. “I’ve got my boyfriend [in L.A.], my dog, my family, my best friends I’ve had for years and years.”
She is digging Toronto, though.
Especially down in the sewers.