I think I have to go full nerd and analyse the show bit by bit. To make it easier on myself, I will start with the main couple who have also named the show – Beauty and the beast.
Beauty, Catherine Chandler, is played by Kristin Kreuk, a Canadian actress. Beast, Vincent Keller, is played by Jay Ryan, a New Zealand actor. Both are more or less unknown, classically trained and have done some stage work as well as television and independent films before.
Kristin and Jay have an amazing chemistry. I do not know what it is, because it is not the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”-chemistry, where you just knew Brad and Angelina were involved off-screen. When you see Kristin and Jay off-screen doing interviews etc. they are comfortable and very friendly but there is no tension of any kind between them.
On screen, the tension is palpable! Emotional, sexual and intellectual tension. Their scenes together carry the show. Especially the ones where they talk less and express more.
Jay has a great talent for facial expression, he could literally be muted in most scenes and you would still know what Vincent is feeling. The same goes for eyes and voice. Great conveyance of emotion of any kind.
Kristin is a bit different but not much. She seems to use her whole body more, but again gives so much to Catherine in the form of non verbal expression. She is less strong (not weaker) on the emotions than Jay, but then again, Catherine is the “princess” and Vincent is the “animal”. So I really think it is as it should be.
They struggle sometimes with poor writing. I have seen quite a few comments about that here and there, and I agree. The obvious example is “Ever After”, episode 20 of season 2. Catherine and Vincent are entered into witness protection. It is temporary to get some heat of them when they, with help, try to clear Vincent of murder charges (he killed a man in self-defense, sort of, early on in the season). The writing is atrocious.
This is the couple who have struggled for almost 2 full seasons to steal more than a few moments together in peace from the rest of the world and when they finally get the chance, Catherine of all people, gets the jitters and cannot sleep, nor enjoy her elusive beast. She is bitchy, snappy, restless and barely kisses the love of her life for the entire episode. I mean, we are talking about the man, she has fought to keep alive and hidden for 2 years, whilst lying, cheating and covering up evidence and she cannot overcome the lack of noise in the country side?
Actually if you are looking for any one explanation for the show struggling to be renewed, this could very well be it. you have to be loyal to your story and your characters. you can rock the boat but not tip it over. Audiences are unforgiving like that and like it or not, the bad experiences seems to stick to us a lot harder than the good ones. just look at me, overall very pleased with the show, but this one episode nags me like a splinter.
But I am straying from my point. That Kristin and Jay manage to maintain a great chemistry no matter the circumstances. It is quite fantastic and very intense to watch. I think a lot of the “Beasties” would agree with me. Unfortunately the producers have reduced the love scenes to the traditional “kissing – cut to next morning” teasers and therefore the actors have to do a lot with the same kissing scenario over and over again. Maybe being european makes me more liberal on that subject but I really think that episode 15 of season 1 where Catherine and Vincent finally make love is one of the finest moments in film making ever. It is as if everything comes together in a perfect storm. Build up, production, acting, music and script off course. It is like a punch to the stomach – in a good way.
The inserted video is not rated PG. It is a fan video from BBfansfinland of episode 15, s1. But I think you get the idea.