The pilot episode of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ aired last night on the CW and if you saw it, you may have noticed that the “tale as old as time” had taken on a new twist. What once was a fantasy story has now become one of a sci-fi nature. But how did that come to be?
In an interview with Blastr, co-creator and executive producer, Jennifer Levin, explains why she and her partner Sherri Cooper decided to go the non-fantasy route:
“The network had said to us, it can be any kind of beast you want. It can be a metaphorical beast, which we talked about for a little bit. We talked about the original [1987 CBS series], where he is sort of in his beast look all the time. What we didn’t want it to be was a spell or anything like that, like in the Disney movie. We wanted to be more grounded, cause that’s what drew us to it. Relating it back to our reality.”
Inspired by a documentary about Pat Tillman, the professional football player who after 9/11 signed up with the military and went to Afghanistan, the two decided to set up the military as the source of their “beast.” In their version, the Beast becomes a beast due to a government experiment gone wrong while he was in the military.
One of the issues many have with the sci-fi aspect of the show is that the Beast is rather UN-beasty. Instead, it’s the demon within that makes him a monster. Something akin to a mash up of Captain America and The Hulk, the series has Vincent (played by Jay Ryan) as part of a program that injected him with DNA altering drugs in hopes to make a super soldier. But there is a terrible side effect of the drug which turns Vincent into a beast (still a very good looking beast) with super powers. The series will have Catherine (played by Kristen Kreuk) try to find out who murdered her mother and why and Vincent trying to not only find a cure for his condition but also take down the wicked corporation that turned him into the Beast. (So how much does anyone want to bet there will be a connection between Catherine’s mom and the corporation sometime down the line?)
While the duo has removed the fantasy aspect of the story, what they have kept is the romance. And to help them on that aspect of the relationship between Catherine and Vincent, Levin brought in the executive producer of the CBS ‘Beauty and the Beast,” Ron Koslow to also executive produce their reboot.
“At its heart it’s an epic romance.” Levin states. “That is really the fun of it, figuring out how to keep them apart, how to bring them together. I mean, he’s in his own world, she’s in her own world. It’s the push and pull between them.”
So does the reboot from fantasy to sci-fi work? Or will the love story overcome this change in the story? ScienceFiction.com readers chime in! What are your thoughts?