Characters – Tess

Beauty and the Beast Ep. 103a Season 1

Nina Lisandrello plays the tough partner and best friend, Tess. I would argue that it is not an easy task as Tess is a hard-headed cop who needs to see to believe. But Nina performs the task effortlessly and even though she tries to slump and scowl, she is very beautiful – rivaling the title character.


Tess is a very recognizable woman, cop or not. The one who always says she will be there no matter what, but in reality means that she will be there when you do what she thinks is right. She does live up to her friendship but only after hurting Catherine immensely every time. She has a lot of double standards but not when it comes to crime. Which is also why she only accepts Vincent after she realizes that he is not really a criminal but more of a military police officer of sorts with a license to kill.

Although it is often a betrayal of her relationships, Tess is the voice of reason on the show. It is her who reminds the others (and us) that one should do ones job, follow the rules and respect the job. It is a necessary straight line when everything else is so erratic and even when she is annoyingly insistent on order, it brings a bit of relief that not everybody has lost their head.

When I say that it is not easy to play Tess, it is because she is so mono faceted. Most of the other main characters get to explore their various dark, gray, pink and white sides. And their crazy sides. But Nina has to show constant restraint to keep Tess within her very stringent story line. Plus with the added affair with her married boss, there is little appeal left in the woman.

As I mentioned under JT, I do not feel the relationship between the two. It would be far more interesting to give Tess a relationship outside of the Vincent/Catherine alliance and let her evolve through the challenges of staying loyal to both sides. Or they could let Evan come back as a new type of beast and be her beau. That should be interesting for double dating too.

If I remember correctly Nina was the only one to get any kind of good review from the critics after the pilot aired in 2012. That is an accomplishment considering how the show was otherwise shredded (and unjustly so). From what I gather from the fan base, Tess is less popular with the fans.

In all fairness, I have to say that Tess is very real too. I do not know much about NYPD or how their cops behave/work, but I know something about human behavior. So whilst she might or might not be a proper detective, I can say that Tess is very much a proper depiction of a real person. Again I have to acknowledge the writers on their character foundation.

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A little steam


When I am working on a project, my mind is scouring itself and the world constantly. I am blessed with the ability to think in blocks, pictures or film even, which means, that although I set certain parameters for the end product – in this case the written blog, my mind has a plan of its own. I rarely have time for more than one blog post a day but that does not mean I am not already writing them in my head. In a good way, in case you think I sound crazy.

As such I am already working on Evan and Tess and whilst they are pushing to be penned to paper, another notion is pushing harder. So hard that I have laid aside the day job for a minute and taken to this post.

The thing is, overall this show has amazing actors. Seriously, it is cast to perfection. I have less experience with the direction/production but I am pretty sure that has been landed safely too. And although I refuse to break my premise and conclude on everything already, I have to say that it becomes painfully clear that the writing is not up to par. When I work my way through message boards and other blogs, journals, pages etc, they all express an unhappiness with the writing. Not the story line as such although we will definitely go through some of the big no-no’s in a separate post, not the creation of the characters, but the overall writing. Something must be just a bit too far off in the writers lounge when a show like this does not take off like a comet.

I mean, Supernatural has what 10 times the viewers and their overall story line sucks. The first couple of seasons were great with all the demon hunting, ghost cases and all, but when they started stomping around in the same dysfunctional brother to brother problems on both family AND celestial level – I was literally put off the show for good. Talk about a ridiculous story line. But to capture people for 10 seasons, you have got to have more than good actors and a limitless budget. You have to have the right writers that, no matter how horrible the story line is, are able to keep the viewers coming back for more. (I apologize to any Supernatural fans)

Beauty and the beast fans are die-hard fans despite the writing not because of. That should be on every BatB writers post it board. It should be an inspiration to do better. If budget is limited, fire the worst ones and bring on some volunteers with experience on grief, confinement, mental illness (yes the man/beast could very well be a man with a mental disorder), trust issues, dysfunctional relationships etc and get the stories right. Personally, I couldn’t care less if the police stories are correct, but if you have a feeling that this is an issue with a lot of viewers, then fix it. Fly to New York and spend a week in a police precinct and get a feel for the life if need be. Or get a couple of smart people to screen the episodes before you film them. Someone with a good intuition can quickly tell if something will work or not.

It would not take much tweaking to kick this show in to the blockbuster league. This show has the luck of having an impeccable cast (well, you should find a way to bring Evan back), and the allowance to play within so many genres because of its unusual theme. It has the foundation and building stones to continue for many more seasons, but someone has to give that extra oomph for it.


I should add a disclaimer here, that I might come to a different kind of conclusion later on but I am reluctant to. I trust my gut! (that was for you, dear beasties)

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Characters – JT


JT is going first. I realize that it is because he is easy for me, as he is by far the character that reminds me the most of – me. So much for keeping things a hundred percent objective.

First and foremost JT is played wonderfully by Austin Basis. He is a decent guy, a loyal and good friend and fiercely dedicated to his mission – helping Vincent. And Austin acts his part with a dept and a finesse that makes me think he probably is the friendly science nerd in real life too. That has got to be the finest achievement as an actor.

There is something very endearing about JT (and not just because he reminds me of me).
He is the most constantly loyal person of them all. He never betrays Vincent or doubts him. Even when Vincent has changed and they are all a bit afraid of him, JT never falters in his effort to save him. To me, that portrays true friendship. Even though JT has a small crisis over the fact that he put Vincent’s name on a list, we KNOW that he would be just as loyal a friend had he not.

JT loves his research and does it proudly and the only time he seems unhappy with being the man behind the scenes is when this work is belittled as Tess does at one point calling it “his little lab”. Whether Vincent is rogue, Catherine is off with someone or just plain inconsistent or anything else spins out of control, JT is always just a phone call away and goes to work on whatever needed, when they call.

Anybody should have a friend like that. If you do not. Go out and find one. It is better than family.

The JT love story is a bit strange. He was very well matched with Sara but I am not really feeling the Tess thing. It is not the actors fault. It just feels a little contrived. And to be honest, everything pales next to the love story of the century.

I really have to wonder if it is the same writers doing these characters. How can they come up with this pillar of trust, funny, still rouge (ish), consistent character who is never boring and has a fine believable character development and at the same time portray (at least parts of) the Vincent/Catherine love story with all the finesse of a paranoid schizophrenic? I do not get it. But I am getting ahead of myself. This is not the summation and I have plenty of opportunity to explore and answer that question later on.

But JT is the poster boy for a good character. He is real. You could meet him out there in real life. Whoever came up with him, I salute you. I hope he is an inspiration for other writers on how to do a good job.

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The main couple


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.8x7r6e

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.


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Background information on “Beauty and the beast”

Facts on “Beauty and the beast”:

The show is produced by The CW network. You can read more about the actual network and the companies behind it here: The CW. I personally have zero experience in mapping big entertainment companies, so I will merely leave the info here and let the readers to make sense of it. Unless off course it turns out to have value to the project in which case I would have to dig in deeper.

The show is loosely based on a television series of the same name from the 1980’s; Beauty and the beast, starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. The original series was popular and ran for 3 seasons. Both the old and the new series hint to the original fairy tale of Beauty and the beast.

The cast is more or less unknown actors.

There is a facebook page here:

A wikipedia page here:

To be continued….

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Work sheet in progress

I need a list of questions or unknowns that need clarifying. I will update this, refer back to it and tick off finished jobs as I progress.
If you have suggestions or insight to this list, please write me.

  • is it the overall quality of the show, maybe it is simply not good enough to hack it?
  • is it the contents? Herein also quality of writing, story line, character development etc.
  • does the show hit a market that had its fill?
  • is it lack of marketing?
  • is it not relatable for the majority of its target group?
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Project number 1: TV-Series “Beauty and the beast”



To understand what “makes” a show and whether this can be affected by social media interest. 

I realize that the first experiment needs an explanation. The blog is new, the premise maybe a little vague and all doors are open and certainly creating a bit of a draft by now.

It is chosen truly by chance!

I saw a post in my personal Twitter feed mentioning the show “Beauty and the beast” barely making season 3. My curiosity was sparked and I decided to check into it mainly because the comments on the tweet were so endearing and apparently the show was quite popular.

So a little light research began. First watching the show to know what I was talking about. It is a very good show. Personally, I am excited it gets to continue. Great actors, great stories and lots of action and emotion. Technically a show that would appeal to at least 50% of the adult population on the planet. They threw in some steamy love scenes, a lot of impossible love and stomach churning separation so the show should appeal to most young adults too.

Yet it was almost cancelled after 2 seasons. It cannot be because of the ongoing story line. Some of the oldest tv-series have story lines that still spring from the original one. It cannot be because of the incredulity of the more supernatural side to the show as shows the like of X-files and Supernatural have 9-10 seasons under their belt and some of the longest running soaps have plots that outdistances any science fiction writer in a day.
So is it really just publicity? Social media sharing? And can you and I change anything by writing and sharing?

Are you not curious?

I am.

And the subject is great. Light, fun, entertaining. Everything to win, nothing to lose, right.

This is it, project started, work boots on. We can do this. I can use lots of help and I think I know where to get it. The show has a big following, calling themselves “Beasties”, so that will be my first stop. I am sure to get some background information, tips and insights there.

Watch the show and join me!

November 22nd 2014 edit:

I realize this blog is starting to look like a fan blog. I promise I will make something useful of it eventually but I dare you to watch the show and not get hooked. Seriously. Go ahead and then come back to judge me 🙂

New subcategories are Characters and Pros and cons.

New posts so far are:


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