The CW’s 2012 Fall Lineup, pilot review: Beauty and the Beast

The CW's fall 2012 show 'Beauty and the Beast' header image.A particular nuisance of mine is when various forms of entertainment has to be diluted and simplified for the audience as if we will not be able to comprehend the material. The lack of substance within the story, or within the presentation of the story, leaves me wanting more out of the experience of watching the program on the screen. I am sure there are some viewers out there in the television viewing world who do not mind the water down explanations and contrived dialogue blended into their entertainment, but usually it is a deal breaker for me. If it was a heavy night of drinking and I am sitting in front of the television screen in a drunken stupor then I might need the program to be simplified for me. However, the vast majority of my viewing time is when I am completely sober. The CW’s new fall show Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for its television debut in September (2012) and definitely swings in the direction of intentionally diluted characters and stupefied storyline.

The best way I could explain the mental image that I conjured up while watching a preview of the show’s pilot episode can be explained in the following manner. Imagine a fifteen-year-old who is trapped in the body of a twenty-six-year-old adult and the person tries to convince everyone that she is a professional career woman, but she still has the emotional maturity of a fifteen-year-old. The CW’s previously successful show (insert sigh of relinquishment) that closely resembles this description is the dramatic medical program Hart of Dixie, starring Rachel Bilson. The show has been on the air for a complete television season and I still refuse to believe the primary character is a professional doctor more than she is just another teenager. For the new CW program Beauty and the Beast the primary character is not a doctor, like in the Hart of Dixie program, but a working New York City detective portrayed by Kristin Kreuk.

The news of Kreuk’s return to television after her departure from previously successful CW program Smallville was a piece of interesting information that caught my attention. She is an attractive woman (the Kool Aid guy says “Ooh, ya!”). However, she is not a Hollywood megastar and might not carry the heavyweight skills that would garner the highly desired acting roles which would propel her into iconic history. Her character in Beauty and the Beast is pretty dull and flat for my tastes. She wants to be a tough cop working the streets of New York City, but I am just not believing a bit of the rough exterior routine. Her knight in shining armor is an American soldier who was enlisted by the government for a science experiment that altered his human genetics in order to heightened his senses to such an extreme level that it rivals the wild instincts of a jungle animal. When engulfed in raw energy and rage he evolves into a beast like creature, but he makes every attempt possible to use his power for good. This is where I begin the eye roll of unbelievability, because Kreuk’s character falls in love with him because he is beastly in a heroic way and not in a disgusting creepish manner.

At the conclusion of watching the pilot episode my decision not to watch another episode of the program was pretty well cemented in stone. The contrived romantic relationship between the two main characters seems artificial, two dimensional, and lacking any form of believability for me. I know there is an audience out there in the television watching world who will eat this storyline right up, but I can tell you that I am not a member of that particular group. It is not my style of entertainment.

Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for broadcast on Thursday nights at 9 PM only on The CW starting in October 11, 2012.

Show Synopis and Premise

Detective Catherine Chandler is a smart, no-nonsense homicide detective. When she was a teenager, Catherine witnessed the murder of her mother at the hands of two gunmen. Catherine would have been killed too, but someone – or something – saved her. No one has ever believed her, but she knows it wasn’t an animal that attacked the assassins…it was human. Years have passed, and Catherine is a strong, confident, capable police officer, working alongside her equally talented partner, Tess. While investigating a murder, Catherine discovers a clue that leads her to a handsome doctor named Vincent Keller, who was reportedly killed by enemy fire while serving in Afghanistan in 2002. Catherine learns that Vincent is actually still alive and that it was he who saved her many years before. For mysterious reasons that have forced him to live outside of traditional society, Vincent has been in hiding for the past 10 years to guard his secret – when he is enraged, he becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened senses. Catherine agrees to protect his identity in return for any insight he may have into her mother’s murder. Thus begins a complex relationship between Catherine and Vincent, who are powerfully drawn to each other yet understand that their connection is extremely dangerous for both of them.

Production Information and Cast List

The series stars Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville,” “Chuck”) as Catherine, Jay Ryan (“Terra Nova”) as Vincent, Max Brown (“The Tudors,” “MI-5”) as Evan, Nina Lisandrello (“Nurse Jackie”) as Tess, Nicole Gale Anderson (“Make It or Break It”) as Heather, Austin Basis (“Life Unexpected”) as J.T., and Brian White (“The Shield,” “The Cabin in the Woods”) as Joe. Beauty and the Beast is from CBS Television Studios with executive producers Jennifer Levin (“Without A Trace,” “Felicity”), Sherri Cooper (“Brothers and Sisters”), Bill Haber (“Rizzoli & Isles,” “Thurgood”), Paul J. Witt (“A Better Life”) & Tony Thomas (“A Better Life”), Ron Koslow (“Moonlight”) and Gary Fleder (“Life Unexpected”).
Production Information &amp Show Synopsis courtesy of The CW’s webpage for Beauty and the Beast
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The CW’s 2012 Fall Lineup, pilot review: Arrow

As soon as I heard The CW will be broadcasting a new television show based upon the DC Comics character Oliver Queen, alias Green Arrow, my thoughts immediately concluded that it will be a spin-off from their previously successful comic book television program, Smallville. The program had ended its ten year run in the spring of 2011 to the final reveal of Clark Kent stepping out of the superheroes closet, of sorts.

The character of Green Arrow made several episodic appearances in Smallville as a helpful co-star to the shining lead role of Superman. According to the IMDb.com website, the character has appeared in seventy-two out of the final 217 episodes of the program’s ten-year run. The math implies he only appeared in one third of the program’s total run time on the air. Oliver Queen will finally receive his turn in the spotlight with the new television show schedule for its premiere on The CW starting in September, 2012.

As far as I am aware, The CW network has not implied their new program to be a spin off from Smallville in any capacity possible. My hunch says the connection between the two programs is a coincidence more than it is an official spin-off from the predecessor. The most prominent element of evidence there will be not direct ties between the two programs would be the swap out of actors who have been hired to portray the character. Justin Hartley is the actor who portrayed Oliver in the Smallville series, but for the new fall season program he will be portrayed by television actor Stephen Amell. I am unsure if Justin Hartley was even approached by The CW and asked to return in character for the new program. Regardless of the change in actors portraying the role, I will still view the program as a spin-off series in spirit.

My expectations of the quality and value of the new show were set somewhere in the middle, because I assumed The CW would perform their usual round of producing mediocre new programs since they took over the reins from their network predecessors, The WB. I considered the program might not be the best invention in the world since sliced bread, but my hopes are set pretty high for the success of the program. I sure as hell have an invested interest in the program being a valuable source of entertainment for one hour of my time every week. I should not have to tell you of the trouble in finding good sources of entertainment these days when the market is flooded with a high quantity of mediocrity.

Surprisingly, the pilot episode of Arrow has exceeded my expectations of just another mediocre show. Yes, they might possibly have a winner on their hands, I should hope, for the new fall season. However, the feedback I was overhearing from my peers who sat through the sneak preview with me it appears my own enjoyment of the program might have been placed in the minority of opinions. The group consisted of men and women from several different age groups, but none of these people are younger than in their mid-twenties or any older than in the early sixties. The network’s target demographic is 18 to 34-year-old females, which Arrow does not appear to be geared toward this target audience. I am a male in my early thirties and have enjoyed the pilot episode of the program, but I do not qualify as a member of the network’s target audience. I can see the audience who would enjoy watching Arrow would be comic book fans of all ages and genders, but they will be far removed from the same audience who would enjoy watching Gossip Girl or Hart of Dixie.

At the conclusion of watching the program’s pilot episode there were a couple of people who stood up and walked right out of the room without spending any time filling out a single page survey asking for a personal reaction to the episode. This should not hold much of a meaning, but I would imagine these people were not thrilled on wasting any more of their personal time sitting around chatting about the program.

Of the remaining viewers there were not very many who vocalized any form of opinion regarding the program. One particular male viewer in his mid-thirties, described the only a single positive attribute of the program that he enjoyed was the production value. The other elements of the program, such as the storyline and the cast, he found dull and boring for his preference in entertainment. He seems to be a person who will be passing over this program to tune in to watch some other hot new fall program. The other members of the group did briefly mention their enjoyment of the pilot episode, even if they considered to be apart from the target demographic for The CW network (18 to 34-year-old females).

I enjoyed watching the pilot episode and could only hope the series will be equally as entertaining. The first episode is filled with action, adventure, and comic book fantasy world style fun. It is not the Excalibur level form of super hero entertainment as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but definitely worth watching an hour long episode once a week for a few months.

Arrow is scheduled for broadcast on Wednesday nights at 8 PM only on The CW starting in October 10, 2012.

Show Synopsis and Premise

After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he’s become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow, a vigilante, to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be, flanked by his devoted chauffeur and bodyguard, John Diggle, while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver’s own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on, and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.

Production Information and Cast List

The series stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, with Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance. Based on characters appearing in comic books and graphic novels published by DC Comics, ARROW is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Green Lantern,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Marc Guggenheim (“FlashForward,” “Eli Stone”), Andrew Kreisberg (“Warehouse 13,” “The Vampire Diaries”) and David Nutter (“Smallville,” “Supernatural,” “Game of Thrones”). Melissa Kellner Berman (“Eli Stone,” “Dirty Sexy Money”) is co-executive producer. The pilot was directed by David Nutter from a teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim, story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim.

A look back at Season 2 of The CW’s Nikita

The season finale of Nikita had closed out the second season on The CW last Friday (May 18, 2012) and there is a little trivia bit that was just published on Monday afternoon. The show is the third deadliest television program in current broadcast with an average of nine deaths per episode. According to the research source at Funeral Wise it’s per episode average falls behind the twenty-five per episode body count of Starz’s Spartacus: Vengeance and the fourteen per episode body count of HBO’s Game of Thrones. I will admit Nikita has grown on me during the second season and I really enjoy watching the episodes every week. The CW network recently announced in their upfront presentation the return of the show for a third season. Hurray! Anyway, here are three group interview videos from San Diego Comic-Con 2011 before the start of the second season. It is interesting to hear the answers from the actors about the upcoming (second) season while viewing the interview after all has been said and done. For the record, I had attended the discussion panel for the show at the 2011 SDCC and can say Maggie Q appears to be one of the most genuinely nice people around the Hollywood scene.

Group interview with Lyndsy Fonseca

Group interview with Shane West

Group interview with Maggie Q