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.