Let's face it: strictly by being a remake, Beauty and the Beast was up against the wall with viewers when it debuted.
The expectations were low and many people were angry that a classic program from the 80s was being remade in a way that caused you to wonder how you could even consider the titular character a traditional beast in the first place.
There were certainly struggles along the way, but after a sloppy start, the drama quickly found its footing and a rhythm with the characters that moved the story along at a solid pace, lobbing interesting reveals our way that peeled away story like of an onion. Those of us who stuck with it were hooked.
How would we grade the opening 21 episodes? Scroll down for our latest Report Card and then hand out your own rating below...
Best Character: I'm giving this to J.T. His loyalty and friendship never wavers. He is always there for his friend, no matter the consequences and has some of the best lines on television. Played brilliantly by Austin Basis, we can only hope his role gets bigger in season 2. Once he met and started sharing scenes with Tess, the ideas of where they could go together are unstoppable.
J.T.: Okay. We're all gonna die. I'm gonna get a Tums. | permalink
The Game Changer Episode: As I sit here reading reviews trying to pick the best and the worst and traditional grading moments, I realize it's a darn hard job to do with Beauty and the Beast. The ups and downs were mainly due to the procedural aspect of the show that seemed to occupy a good portion of the season. Until "Bridesmaids Up." That's when the love between Cat and Vincent was no longer a question. It was when Evan encountered the Beast helping Catherine after her car accident and we learned that he had also isolated information proving Vincent was quickly progressing more toward the animal side of his DNA than the human and viewers imagined an Evan and J.T. pairing to study the data. Beautiful music was paired with a shocking accident leaving Cat hurt, but saved by the hands of two men who love her. Then we went into a long hiatus. Groan.
Worst Story Arc: Bringing in Vincent's lost love just one episode after the game changer was wrong on so many levels. As Cat was recuperating in a hospital room, it just so happened that the one time love of his life, Alex (we'll call her Red) worked there and was attending to Cat. The odds of that were ridiculous, the timing was horrible and the situation made Vincent do something he hadn't previously done - he lied to Cat. That was the biggest mistake of the story, because the season spent so much time building up the trust between Cat and Vincent only to tear it down because of an old girlfriend. Viewers knew Cat would have understood things much easier having not had to find out the truth about them by slinking through Red's closet in an attempt to save her life later on. While it was easy to see what their hope was in showing some of Vincent's past, they failed miserably.
Best Story Arc: The will he or won't he of Evan Marks was exasperating. Will he move in on Cat? Will he work with Muirfield? Will he be a good guy or a bad guy? Tragically, he was played very well by the ultimate big bad, and after spending time working with J.T., unknowingly on the side of good, he chose to partner with evil because he bought into their BS about wanting to make the world a better place through scientific study. Plus, his heart was broken when he realized Cat was with the very man who's DNA he had been studying. He wanted to ensure her safety, but he played the wrong hand of cards to do it. In the end, Even understood everything, including his very poor decision to work with the wrong team, and gave up his life to save Catherine and Vincent. It was a stunning blow to the show and we lost a lot of potential good that could have come from him working on the team.
Worst Character: Joe Bishop. I know! How did he beat out Heather Chandler? I'll tell you why. For keeping Tess locked in a motionless relationship with whispers of sweet nothings. The man is married and doesn't get to have our bright and witty Tess unless he's willing to give up the wife and bring it out in the open. His desire to play vigilante for his brother's death against a vigilante he was hunting also scored him points in this category, because nobody likes a hypocrite.
Best Episode: This was a very difficult choice, because once the second half of the season fell into place, great episodes were literally cascading week by week. But I only gave one a 5 star rating, so I'm picking "Anniversary." In it we finally got the back story on Gabe Lowen and his connection to Cat out in the open. He became more than just a thorn in everyone's side and after he was introduced to the family in a way that even a very jealous Vincent hadn't been, it was confirmed that he was a fellow beast by the telltale yellow eyes. What more could you ask for in an episode that also marked the anniversary of Cat's mother's death and her first encounter with Vincent?
Hopes for Season 2: Outside my greatest hope that the show earns its respect on its new night and time on the fall schedule, I'm looking forward to finding out more about Muirfield, why Cat never knew who her real father was and how that secret will be revealed. It seems we're in for a mythology based season as I can't imagine Cat will be able to just walk back to her day job with the capture of Vincent.
As Austin Basis and Nina Lisandrello said, I'd really like to see them working together more frequently, and maybe even snark and bitchslap their way into a romance. More beasts, perhaps a friend from Vincent's past to explore would be fun, and a lot more hot, romantic scenes between Cat and Vincent who can steam up my screen anytime.
Overall Grade: B+
What about you? What grade would you give to Beauty and the Beast Season 1?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.