Monday, February 6, 2012

Pilot Script Review - Beauty and the Beast (ABC)

Network: ABC
Written By: Jon Steinberg
Draft Date: January 18, 2012
Pages: 59


Okay, I'm just ripping the wax off with this one...

I hate this script.

There's really not much else to say, though I'm going to try and find words instead of impolite expletives.


Sorry. I'm better. Thanks.

I'm going to make an attempt to describe what it is, then expound on why I'm so incensed.

The basic story here is a girl trying to help her father, in her quest to help him she gets herself held captive, and then perhaps falls for her captor, who then allows her to leave to save her dad.

So, yes, the basic plot twists and turns are very reminiscent of a certain animated feature film version of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

But then there's how the details of those broad strokes are filled out, and everything else.

I've spent a few hours now, off and on, trying to figure out the best way to describe what, exactly, those details are without coming off like a flame thrower in an oxygen tent. For the moment, I find myself incapable of expressing anything but my visceral reaction.

There is a lot going on and a lot of characters (courtiers and council meetings and soldier fiancees and old crones with obscure wisdom and fights with monsters and rebel encampments and daring rescue attempts and toad-ish nonhumans that only talk in grunts but can be understood by a select group of people, Chewbacca-style), and there is also very little going on and almost no one who could be described beyond stock.

I'm not sure what's being fought for, or what's truly at stake, or why I as a viewer in 2012 should care or be invested.

I don't feel the epic romance connection between the beauty/princess and the supposed beast/seven-foot-tall giant soldier rebel samurai-ish guy.

Even rules of the world feel arbitrary and constantly shifting, down to the system of government (which had been based on "Emperor dies and we find someone born that same day and make him the new Emperor because maybe he has the old one's soul" and following a rebellion/assassination is now semi-hereditary although I think the script implied the crown princess needs to marry to actually ascend to her throne, but now there's another rebellion brewing trying to go back to the old ways... or something).

I've decided that this is simply something that I will need to see to judge, because I can't do it from the page. I'm confused. I'm an avid reader of fantasy fiction and I'm confused by what I just read. Of anyone I know... I think I should be the one who understands this stuff. And I'm confused.

A confused viewer (not the same thing as an intrigued viewer) is one who turns the channel.

And this is a broadcast network's first attempt at a pure fantasy show post-HBO's Game of Thrones? No wonder I'm not on board. Calling this Beauty and the Beast is a mistake, too. Sure, it may have the basics of the story, but it sets up wildly unmet expectations.


Enigmatic Anon said...

So in a nutshell this show is loosely based on the animated movie version with terrible filler writing in between?

The CW version sounds like it's miles better than this one and that was an older draft.

This makes me so much more determined to finish writing my book.

James "One" Shade said...

Is this similar to the reaction you had to Once Upon A Time that caused you to never publish that blog post?

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree
the CW has completely missed the point of B&B having a beautiful guy by day who turns in to a wolf by night(its more teen wolf) the point of the story is that he is ugly all the time and she learns to love whats inside and only then can he be released from his curse.its a timeless tale and i think ABC have captured that..CW are just trying to make a quick buck out of the twilight crowd...but i dont think iot even comes close to something like twilight either

Broke Affilliate said...

@ Anonymous,

Wait, according to these reviews the CW version doesn't feature a "beautiful guy who turns into a wolf by night", it just features a beastly guy whose not given enough description, so Yanan compared him to a werewolf. But he's assuredly in that form all the time. Forgive me if you've read the script and I'm getting it wrong, but that's my perception based on these reviews.