Beauty and the Beast (ABC)
Ruth Bradley and Darius Campbell
"In a nutshell: The first of two dueling Beauty and the Beast TV shows, this one is based purely on the fairytale. And it's pretty clearly meant to appeal to everyone who likes ABC's latest hit, Once Upon a Time. It takes place in a fairytale kingdom, with a giant palace that looks like the Vatican on steroids. And the Beauty is an honest-to-god Princess named Grace (Ruth Bradley) who's next in line to succeed her father, the Emperor Dorian. She has to prove that she has what it takes to be the next Empress, in the face of lots of sexist dickwads. And then she meets Shiro (Scottish singer Darius Campbell), the former bodyguard of the previous Emperor, out in the swamp — and he gives her cause to doubt her own father's honor. The two of them form an unlikely bond, and he winds up being her protector.
Memorable characters: There's Cyril, the chamberlain who wants to school Grace in what it takes to be a strong ruler, even as he obviously seeks to rule from behind the throne. And Shiro himself could be a fun character, what with the fact that he's been turned into a Beast, and he has a lot of ugly history with the Emperor.
Why it could be your new crack: Basically, picture Once Upon a Time with only one fairytale, and without the sequences in the "real" world. With a dash of Game of Thrones, with all of its maneuvering and scheming. If that sounds fun, then this might be your cup of tea."
Beauty and the Beast (The CW)
Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan
"In a nutshell: The other Beauty and the Beast show is officially a remake of the 1990s TV series that starred Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. And this time around, it's a cop show! Smallville's Kristen Kreuk plays Catherine, a tough cop who's unlucky in love. She's still traumatized by the death of her mother nine years ago, in an incident where a mysterious "beast" saved her. And then while investigating a murder of a fashion magazine editor, she encounters the Beast (Jay Ryan) once again — and he helps her solve the case using his beastly super-senses. And it looks like every week, Catherine will solve another murder with the Beast's help. We discover that the Beast became superhuman and beastly as a result of a military experiment when he was a soldier in Afghanistan.
Memorable characters: Vincent, the Beast, is sort of funny — he hides out in a New York loft and watches lots of reality TV and plays Wii all the time. His roommate and protector is JT, who's sort of a Jonah Hill type. Meanwhile, Catherine's partner Tess is another tough cop with more of a sassy sense of humor.
Why it could be your new crack: If you enjoy The CW's other paranormal shows, like Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, this could be another fun one — although the cop-show angle could get old fast. It's got all the makings of a zany monster soap opera, complete with brooding monster dude and his tough-but-vulnerable love interest."
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