REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2012) – SEASON 4

MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Mary Kills people)
Austin Basis (J. Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Nicole Gale Anderson (Mean Girls 2)
Michael Roark (Sleepy Hollow)

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Amanda Setton (The Crazy Ones)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Karen Cliche (M<utant X)
Marc Singer (V)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Anastasia Barzee (Seven Seconds)
Fulvio Cecere (Dark Angel)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)

Beauty and the Beast (2012)Back in the eighties a TV series took viewers by surprise, the story of a young woman, an assistant DA, who by chance met a part man, part beast member of an underground network of people named Vincent. This paring was known as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and introduced the world to Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman who had both been in other films but found themselves more well-known after this series. The way things are today it was only a matter of time before that series was recreated.Kristin Kreuk, Nina Lisandrello, Jay Ryan, and Amanda Setton in Beauty and the Beast (2012)This time around Kristin Kreuk stars as Catherine Chandler, a determined police detective who encounters an ex-GI and doctor named Vincent who has a secret to hide. When a child Catherine’s mother was killed in front of her by a group of men who were never identified. She was saved that night by a mysterious stranger, a manically violent man-beast who she never really quite saw.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)Of course that mysterious stranger was Vincent and he’s made it his job to watch over and protect Catherine from the shadows. The reason he does so is that he knows who was behind the death of her mother. Vincent was part of a secret government project that turned its volunteers into what he has become and her mother was involved in that project. Now he’s on the run from this secret government organization, in hiding with the help of one friend. That friend base increases when he finally meets Catherine face to face.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)Now in on what was going on, Catherine continues her day job while still looking into the death of her mother. She and Vincent become closer as he helps her when he can, even after telling her to stay away. This inevitably results in that organization finding Vincent and the ensuing problems that follow. And that’s just in the first season! The series ran for 4 years to popular acclaim, winning more than its share of awards. Not an easy feat since it appeared on the CW Network. That worked in its favor and also added a needed boost to CW as well. The changing story found the couple meeting and eventually the romance soon followed which only added to the popularity of the show. It was the same formula used in the initial series but this time felt a bit more normal as Vincent no longer had the constant appearance of the beast.Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)The series works on a number of levels, as a police procedural first off. Shows like this need their own twist to separate them from the pack and the aid of a super powered ally was handy. It also works as a conspiracy styled thriller with a hidden organization with its own agenda at play. And it worked as a romance. If not the show wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did nor would it have drawn in the female viewers that helped push it over the top.

 

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REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 1

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Touch)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)
John Dorman (The Wire)
Victoria Cartagena (Salt)
Andrew Stewart -Jones (Beauty and The Beast)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Grayson McCouch (Armageddon)
Brette Taylor (Rescue Me)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
David Zayas (Dexter)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Margaret Colin (Independence Day)
Susan Misner (The Forgotten)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Christopher James Baker (Sanctum)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Final Destination 5)
Makenzie Leigh (The Slap)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Julian Sands (Smallville)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The Series)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)

Gotham City has an old, relatively vague history independent of when Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot down in an alleyway, usually the first and primary thing that comes to mind about the motivation that drives Batman: the crime that got so bad that it took his good-natured parents away from him. The surroundings responsible for the billionaires’ murder weren’t created overnight, though, and intensified in response to their death, a time period that often goes unaddressed unless a detail about Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the brooding hero needs mentioning. As a response to the character’s unrelenting popularity the folks at DC aim to use that largely unexplored space to provide an origin story for the city’s violence and corruption, an attempt to recapture the magic of Smallville in a darker environment. The result is Gotham, a blend of crime-case procedure and mobster politics that also fills in the gaps between the orphaning of Bruce Wayne to where Batman begins.Taking pages out of the playbook of the comic-book series “Gotham Central”, the show largely focuses on the interworking parts of the Gotham City Police Department, notably the arrival of rookie detective Jim Gordon in the midst of rampant corruption. The OC star Ben McKenzie brings initiative and fire to the character, a war veteran and straight-laced servant of the law who’s thrown together with a dirty partner in Harvey Bullock, whose sympathetic flaws are marvelously embodied by Donal Logue. Their first case together? The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, later revealed to be connected to the city’s organized crime activity. In their investigation, Gordon quickly gets introduced to key players pulling the strings in Gotham, notably a swanky nightclub operator in Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and her aging, rational boss, Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Then, there’s Oswald Cobblepott (Robin Lord Taylor), an attendant to Fish whose wavering allegiances also come to the surface in response to Gordon and Bullock’s investigation, working him into a position of persistent danger and upward mobility if he plays his cards right.Against the backdrop of a Gotham City that combines Tim Burton’s gothic vision with Christopher Nolan’s stark approach into a relatively timeless metro area, Gotham comes in hard and fast with its nods to the DC universe, eliminating any early concerns about how much of the mythology it’ll incorporate. In fact, the show actually suffers from an oversaturation of these references, especially in how many of the classic villains have benign links to the GCPD in their pasts and, quite simply, how many have already shown up and taken shape into their well-known personalities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, nor with tweaking what’s known about the universe into its own continuity, but it does detract from the production succeeding as a credible prequel to the age of Batman — touted early on as a selling point for the show.It’s fascinating to see the riddlesome Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) as an awkward, morbid Dexter-like puzzle-solver working in the precinct, and to see a young Catwoman giving prowler pointers to a young Batman not long after she witnessed the infamous Wayne murder.The areas where Gotham works are within the politics of the GCPD and the evolving criminal element, and, by association, the origin stories of Jim Gordon’s fight against the department and The Penguin’s ascent up the crime ladder. Elevated by Gordon’s furious diligence against the powers-that-be who keep him from properly doing his job. Gotham is in a comfort zone while exploring maneuverings of Robin Lord Taylor’s brilliantly grimy performance as Oswald Cobblepott. Combining the knowledge that he’ll eventually become a massive player in Gotham with the unpredictable, volatile nature of his younger self exemplifies what a prequel can accomplish.Gotham really exposes the crux of its issues in the origin story of Bruce Wayne, built around the young orphaned billionaire developing the gumption and skill to investigate his parents’ murder, planting the seeds for his growth into the Caped Crusader.Donal Logue, Richard Kind, Ben McKenzie, and Zabryna Guevara in Gotham (2014)As Gotham grows in it’s first season it becomes fascinating show dealing with the city before Batman came along and as it heads into it’s second season who can truly see the show has found it’s footing and will hopefully be around for sometime to come.