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Reunions and Reboots

Last night I returned to one of my old haunts from my Hollywood years... and shared a wonderful reunion dinner with some old friends from my days on the staff at BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Some of them are folks I have kept in touch with regularly over the intervening years. Others I had not seen or spoken to since the show ended. Ron Perlman (Vincent), Linda Hamilton (Catherine), and Armin Shimmerman (Pascal) were there, along with composer Don Davis, producer David Schwartz, my fellow writers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon (the Lads) and their wives, and of course B&B's creator and showrunner, Ron Koslow (who does not look to have aged a day since the show ended, and surely must have a portrait in his attic). We shared some wine and some memories, got caught up with each other, laughed a lot, drank a few toasts to the friends and colleagues no longer with us, and vowed to make the reunion an annual event.

A great time, which brought back vivid memories of a good time in my life. Very fitting, actually, since I'd made this visit to LA for the Emmy Awards... and it was as a writer/ producer on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST that I got my first two Emmy nominations. (We lost both years. But it's an honor just to be nominated, yadda yadda).

Inevitably, one of the items of table conversation was the recent announcement that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST may be returning to the airwaves. Actually, there are TWO new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST shows in the works. One, under development for ABC, is based on the original fairy tale, and presumably will have a medieval European setting. The other, however, is a reboot of our own show.

You can read bout it here:http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cw-developing-own-beauty-beast-236153

Now that you've read that, you know just as much about the reboot as I do. Actually, you know just as much about the reboot as anyone at our reunion dinner did. All of us had seen the story, in the REPORTER or on the internet, but none of us had been contacted by CBS or CW or any of the folks doing this new version. Just sayin'.

To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this announcement. I am proud of the work I did on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, I learned a lot on the show, and I have a huge amount of affection for Vincent, Catherine, Father, Diana, and all the other characters we created in our fantasy kingdom under the streets of Manhattan (some of which were my own humble contributions). I love the idea of introducing a new generation of television viewers to the tunnel world and its denizens. After the original show was cancelled, all of us nursed the dream that B&B would return one day (how not? we had such a fabulous fanbase). A feature film was the dream, and for a while it seemed as if that would happen... but it never came to pass, years and decades went by, and we all moved on.

And now this. A reboot. Well, okay. I wish them luck, although generally speaking, I am not a fan of reboots. I don't know the writers they have selected, but they seem to have good credentials. I hope they've seen the original series. I hope they love it as much as we do. I hope they keep the fantasy, the whole tunnel world, not just the Beast. I hope they keep Father and Mouse and Jamie and Pascal and all the other characters we peopled the tunnels with. And I hope they keep the poetry: the sonnets, the readings from Shelley and Keats and Kipling, the deep love of books and words and literature that was so much a part of Vincent.

Most of all, I hope they keep it smart.

But I must admit, the announcement makes me nervous. The new version will "modernize and CW-up" the love story, it says here, as well as adding a "procedural twist." I haven't watched enough shows on the CW to know what "CW-up" really means in this context, but the phrase rings ominously in my ears. And "modernize?" Uh... well, set it in 2012, sure... but part of the appeal of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the timelessness of the underlying love story.

But we'll see. (Or we won't, this is only a script at this stage, not even a pilot). Maybe this will be another BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, where the reboot is a hundred times better than the original. Or at least a STAR TREK, where the comparative merits of the original show and the new one can be debated.

But I do pity the actors they cast to play Vincent and Catherine and Father. Ron and Linda and Roy are going to be tough, tough acts to follow.


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 26th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
Maybe the "procedural twist" involves police work.

Sep. 26th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
Nooooooo! I can't tell you how sad that reboot announcement makes me. B&tB remains one of my favorite shows ever. It was a weekly descent into magic, and the idea of a CW'ed-up version makes me shudder. I'd love to see new viewers discover it, too, but isn't that why the Flying Spaghetti Monster created DVD's?
Sep. 26th, 2011 03:47 am (UTC)
I read about this a while back and had wondered if you were going to be affiliated in any way. I have to say, it seems exceedingly shady to give a show a re-boot without involving anyone from the original - even if it's just to pick brains a little.

Actually, now that I think about it, it sounds like something Cersei would do. Ouch. Tough break.
Adam Kane
Sep. 26th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
Song of Ice and Fire
Honestly, can't stand your politics but I admire everything else about you (including your love of football). Love the world you have created and believe you are truly one of the greatest writers of our time. You have surpassed Tolkien and Frank Herbert in my opinion and hope you keep up the fantastic work. As a capitalist I completely agree with your stance against fan fiction and look forward to all of your future progress. I have read your short stories and am starved for anything Song of Ice and Fire related.

Good luck and best wishes to your football teams so long as they don't play my Bears again :)
Sep. 26th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
I'm going to say CW it up means this:

-Younger cast
-more love triangles
-possibly make Vincent less animal looking and more hot guy with slightly odd physical quirk
-also probably more trendy bands on the sound track, possibly playing in show at some night club
Sep. 26th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
CW-up definition
CW-up Verb /see.doubleewe up/
1. Annihilate a good concept with characters who perform ridiculously unbelieveable actions.
2. To add excessive emo overtones to a show.
3. To add more pouting.
4. Completely ruin or spoil (something).
Sep. 26th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
Re: CW-up definition
5. Overlay important scenes and montages with 'appropriate' tunage to indicate to viewers how they should feel regarding the scenes.
6. Have ridiculously attractive cast continually bed-hopping (and/or pining for unrequited crushes) like those Dawon's River kids.
Sep. 26th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
You hit the nail on the head. Ron, Linda and Roy are going to be tough acts to follow. We didn't watch the series religiously in our house but those characters still live on very fondly in my memory.
Sep. 26th, 2011 04:36 am (UTC)
Twenty years from now it's going to be the GOT reboot coming at us with a slight variation - IN SPACE. A Song of Milky Ways and Dark Matters is how I envision it.
Sep. 26th, 2011 05:13 am (UTC)
As a fantasy reader in the 80's, I loved both the show and the character's love of writing, from the poetry to Father's stacks of dusty tomes. One so seldom sees that in television, and it made me feel both validated and in good company.
Sep. 26th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!
I loved B&B as a pre-teen in the 80's and 90's precisely for the reasons you listed here. The rich, under-city world; Vincent's love of books; the outcast getting the girl...this was not just romance for chicks, it was storytelling with soul. I loved Ron and Linda's chemistry from episode 1 on! Good luck to all those involved in this reboot, they're gonna need it.
Sep. 26th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
What a strange coincidence, for I just finished having a massive Beauty and the Beast marathon this weekend!
As BatB fan who was only a one year old when the show premiered, I'm excited about the idea of any new content at all, however I have some fears as well. For example:

"But I must admit, the announcement makes me nervous. The new version will "modernize and CW-up" the love story, it says here, as well as adding a "procedural twist."

I really wish I knew what this meant. What exactly do they mean by moderising? Please tell me they're not about to make Catherine a teenager and try to cash in on the success of Twilight? Just thinking about that kind of makes me ill. I REALLY hope they do a good job with the remake. I don't know that'll ever compare, but if it introduces new fans to the series, then I'll be happy.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 26th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
The series is out on dvd
there's a 'deluxe' package that comes with a paper wrapper textured like Vincent's fur. We don't have Netflix - so many shows and movies to watch just with our Tivo recordings we haven't felt a need for it - but it might be available for rental on NetFlix or some other service. Start at the beginning, and see how the show gets stronger by the second half of the first season, and the characters of the tunnels become 'people' thanks to the writers and directors who understood what a unique show they had.

Teachers used to write to the show saying that Vincent's love of poetry had made some of their students actually interested in reading the poems Vincent read from on the show. Now that, that, is totally awesome.

I suspect the CW version will have less poetry and more instances of Vincent 'Beasting-out" as the writers called the networks demands for Vincent to shred more bodies and drop the lovey-dovey bits. No show was ever more ill-served by Q-ratings and people meter-dials in test showings than B&B.
Re: The series is out on dvd - ariandar - Sep. 26th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
you got the vinyl? - parrismcb - Sep. 27th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
Oh, man.

Back after I'd lost all hope of the TV show returning or seeing a big screen BatB, I knew how I would continue the story. Not with a reboot, but with Catherine and Vincent's son Jacob (just because he was born apparently normal doesn't mean he couldn't get beastly at puberty or something), and with the daughters of Elliot Burch and Joe Maxwell (I've never seen any reason why getting blown up in the last episodes should keep Burch from having a daughter a few months later) as the beauties. Not Betty and Veronica, but two women you'd really like, rather than one you love to hate, so that the entire show is an agonizing pull between which girl Jacob ends up with. And if they want to make it a police procedural, well, so, Joanne Maxwell can be a cop, and Ellen Burch a socialite do-gooder sticking her nose in where it doesn't belong.

Vincent and Father could maybe make cameos, and given that BatB did the best ghost story in the history of ever, I have *no doubt* they could write Catherine in a few times, and...

Yeah. That would be awesome. Because nobody's going to match Ron Perlman, and Linda Hamilton and Roy Dotrice defined those characters.

Of course, I'll watch the new one if they get it off the ground anyway. :)
Knut Berget
Sep. 26th, 2011 09:43 am (UTC)
Ron Pearlman
Ron Pearlman would be a great Randyll Tarly if he makes it into the series :)
Sep. 26th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
Reboots tend to pretty much soulless as it is. No matter how hard they try, any reboot of Beauty and the Beast could never capture the majesty of the original. The cast and crew did an amazing job, and the result was self-evident. Glad you got to see them again!
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( 45 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
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