Television

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From STARZ:

Photo: Meet Tobias Menzies (Frank/”Black Jack” Randall):

Menzies is best recognized for his roles in “Rome” and Casino Royale. He was seen most recently as Edmure Tully in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. He is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Join us in welcoming him with a LIKE.

You asked for casting news. We have just that:

Tobias Menzies will take on the dual roles of Frank Randall and Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall in the anticipated new Outlander series. Frank Randall is Claire’s 20th century husband and a professional historian with a deep interest in the 18th century and his own genealogy. Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall is Frank’s ancestor from the 18th century. A Captain in the English Army posted in Scotland during a time when rebellion was rife.

SHARE the news with your friends! #CantWaitForOutlander

Meet Tobias Menzies (Frank/”Black Jack” Randall):

Menzies is best recognized for his roles in “Rome” and Casino Royale. He was seen most recently as Edmure Tully in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. He is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

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From Diana Gabaldon:

Photo: IT’S OFFICIAL!

SAM HEUGHAN CAST AS JAMIE FRASER IN STARZ & SONY PICTURES TV’S “OUTLANDER”

New Original Series Based on Diana Gabaldon’s International Best-Selling Novels 

From “Battlestar Galactica” Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore

Beverly Hills, Calif., July 9, 2013 – Starz in association with Sony Pictures Television has announced today that Sam Heughan will play the role of Jamie Fraser in the original series “Outlander,” adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books, which will premiere on STARZ in 2014. The chivalrous young Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser, has been adored worldwide by fans of the seven-book series that has sold more than 20 million copies and has graced the New York Times best-sellers list six times.

Diana Gabaldon said, “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters."

"From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast,” said Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore.  “I had no one in mind for the part.  I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser.  And that's what Sam did." 

In “Outlander,” Jamie Fraser strikes up a passionate affair with Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Armed with sheer grit and enduring strength, he is a strapping young Scottish clan lord with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor.  He is intelligent, principled, and, by 18th century standards, educated and worldly, with a tenderness and compassion that stands out in contrast to his contemporaries. A natural leader of men, he has no political ambitions or desire for battlefield glories. Instead, he wishes to remove the price on his head and return to his family’s ancestral farm.   

Sam Heughan is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was a 2003 nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performance for his work in the program. Last year, he originated the role of Batman in the DC/Warner Brothers and Waterlane production of "Batman Live," an international tour which opened at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and went on to tour in South America and throughout Europe.  In 2010, he was nominated for a British Soap Award for “Villain of the Year” for his role as Scott Neilson in the BBC soap opera "Doctors." He has also had roles in a range of television series including, "River City," "Island at War," "The Wild West," "Midsomer Murders," and, most recently, "Any Human Heart" as Lieutenant McStay. His TV movie credits include, "Breaking the Mould" for BBC Television, "A Very British Sex Scandal" for Channel 4 and "First Light" for BBC2. He was nominated for a "Grace award" for his performance as Prince Ashton, the son of Sir Roger Moore, in “A Princess for Christmas” for Hallmark Channel. His film credits include the short film Small Moments, and the feature films Alexander the Great from Macedonia and Emulsion. He will also be seen in the upcoming film Heart of Lightness. On stage, Heughan has performed at a variety of theatres in such productions as “King John,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Vortex,” “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and more. At the Royal Scottish Academy, Heughan starred in productions including “Crime & Punishment,” “The Seagull,” and “Prometheus Bound.” He is repped by United Talent Agency in the US and United Agents in the UK.

The series adaptation for “Outlander” will be written by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television. 

The series will begin filming in Scotland this fall. 

About Starz
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com.

Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies.  As of March 31, 2013, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 56.7 million subscribers, including 21.6 million at STARZ, and 35.1 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S.  STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks’ third network MOVIEPLEX®, air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television.  Starz Distribution’s home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties.  Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.

About Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Television (http://www.sonypicturestelevision.com), a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, around the world and for a multitude of platforms.  In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) boasts a current program slate that includes top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT has 18 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies in 15 countries outside the U.S. and also maintains offices in 32 countries. SPT’s worldwide television networks portfolio includes 124 channel feeds available in 159 countries, reaching more than 800 million households worldwide.  SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns production company Embassy Row and is a part owner of cable channel Game Show Network (GSN), 3D channel 3net, premier horror/thriller website and VOD service FEARnet and national U.S media sales company ITN Networks, Inc.  SPT advertiser sales is one of the premier national advertising sales companies and handles the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in U.S. digital businesses including FEARnet, DrOz.com and PlayStation.  
###

“Outlander” Online 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/outlandertvseries.starz
Twitter: @Outlander_Starz - join the conversation with #Outlander and #STARZ 

Contacts:

Theano Apostolou			Robyn Harney				Shannon Buck
Starz					Sony Pictures Television			Starz	
(424) 204-4052				(310) 244-3202				(424) 204-4173
theano@starz.com			robyn.harney@spe.sony.com  		shannon.buck@starz.com

IT’S OFFICIAL!

SAM HEUGHAN CAST AS JAMIE FRASER IN STARZ & SONY PICTURES TV’S “OUTLANDER”

New Original Series Based on Diana Gabaldon’s International Best-Selling Novels

From “Battlestar Galactica” Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore

Beverly Hills, Calif., July 9, 2013 – Starz in association with Sony Pictures Television has announced today that Sam Heughan will play the role of Jamie Fraser in the original series “Outlander,” adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books, which will premiere on STARZ in 2014. The chivalrous young Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser, has been adored worldwide by fans of the seven-book series that has sold more than 20 million copies and has graced the New York Times best-sellers list six times.

Diana Gabaldon said, “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and c

haracters.”

“From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast,” said Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore. “I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that’s what Sam did.”

In “Outlander,” Jamie Fraser strikes up a passionate affair with Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Armed with sheer grit and enduring strength, he is a strapping young Scottish clan lord with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor. He is intelligent, principled, and, by 18th century standards, educated and worldly, with a tenderness and compassion that stands out in contrast to his contemporaries. A natural leader of men, he has no political ambitions or desire for battlefield glories. Instead, he wishes to remove the price on his head and return to his family’s ancestral farm.

Sam Heughan is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was a 2003 nominee for the Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performance for his work in the program. Last year, he originated the role of Batman in the DC/Warner Brothers and Waterlane production of “Batman Live,” an international tour which opened at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and went on to tour in South America and throughout Europe. In 2010, he was nominated for a British Soap Award for “Villain of the Year” for his role as Scott Neilson in the BBC soap opera “Doctors.” He has also had roles in a range of television series including, “River City,” “Island at War,” “The Wild West,” “Midsomer Murders,” and, most recently, “Any Human Heart” as Lieutenant McStay. His TV movie credits include, “Breaking the Mould” for BBC Television, “A Very British Sex Scandal” for Channel 4 and “First Light” for BBC2. He was nominated for a “Grace award” for his performance as Prince Ashton, the son of Sir Roger Moore, in “A Princess for Christmas” for Hallmark Channel. His film credits include the short film Small Moments, and the feature films Alexander the Great from Macedonia and Emulsion. He will also be seen in the upcoming film Heart of Lightness. On stage, Heughan has performed at a variety of theatres in such productions as “King John,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Vortex,” “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and more. At the Royal Scottish Academy, Heughan starred in productions including “Crime & Punishment,” “The Seagull,” and “Prometheus Bound.” He is repped by United Talent Agency in the US and United Agents in the UK.

The series adaptation for “Outlander” will be written by Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). Ronald D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg are executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television.

The series will begin filming in Scotland this fall.

“Outlander” Online
Facebook: www.facebook.com/outlandertvseries.starz
Twitter: @Outlander_Starz – join the conversation with#Outlander and #STARZ

 

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The popular novel Outlander – TV Series is coming to a TV near you!

Today, STARZ and Sony Pictures Television announced plans for a new original series adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling books. Outlander is a grandiose tale of action, adventure, time travel, and romance. SHARE to spread this exciting news!

I can’t tell you how awesome this news is for fans of Diana Gabaldon’s series of books. A blend of history, time travel, magic, mythology and romance, OUTLANDER follows the adventures of nurse Claire Randall who finds herself bound to young Jamie Fraser after somehow traveling from 1946 to 1743. While I don’t care for romance novels in general, the main theme of the first two books is the Second Jacobite Uprising in Scotland that culminated in the battle of Culloden in 1745. A friend of mine who knew my family were Jacobites gave me the first book as a gift and I’ve been a fan ever since.

How could a card carrying geek like me like a ‘romance’ series? Well, how could I NOT love a series that was inspired by the Doctor Who episode “The Highlanders” in with The Doctor meets Jamie (played by actor Frazer Hinds), who went on to appear in more episodes than any other companion. Hopefully that will be enough geek cred to get skeptics to tune in along with the millions of fans who can’t wait for the premier.

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With the backing of the Hutts and an army of the galaxy’s most vicious criminals –
including the Death Watch, Black Sun and the Pykes – Pre Vizsla and Maul lead an
attack on the planet of Mandalore. Conquest of Mandalore strains the tenuous
alliance between the Sith and Death Watch in “Shades of Reason,” airing this
Saturday, January 26th at 9:30am ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

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Tickets now available

Star Wars Celebration Europe, the official Lucasfilm event for all things Star Wars, is coming to Messe Essen, Germany July 26-28, 2013. Tickets are now available at http://www.starwarscelebration.eu

The event, which is expected to draw between 25,000 and 30,000 Star Wars enthusiasts to Essen, marks only the second time Lucasfilm has presented an official Celebration in Europe, the first time being in 2007 in London.

“Essen is a perfect location for Celebration Europe,” says Mary Franklin, Sr. Events Lead at Lucasfilm. “The passion and enthusiasm for Star Wars and The Clone Wars is tremendous in Germany. Messe Essen offers an ideal meeting place for the fan community from all over Europe and a good setting for all the special Star Wars programming we are planning.”

Star Wars Celebrations feature live entertainment, celebrity appearances, and interactive events for adults and families, in addition to an exhibit floor with dealers and exclusive Celebration merchandise. Lucasfilm has been producing Star Wars Celebrations since 1999, with six being held in the United States, as well as one in Japan, and the first Celebration Europe in London. The most recent, Celebration VI, attracted more than 30,000 attendees to Orlando, Florida this past August.

Star Wars Celebration Europe will showcase milestones and personalities from the more than 35 years of Star Wars history as well as a glimpse into the future of the Saga. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Supervising Director Dave Filoni will be the first guest making the journey to Germany! Filoni’s panels at Celebrations in the US have been standing room only, and we can’t wait to see him and his trademark fedora in Europe. For more on the convention and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.starwarscelebration.eu.

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This Saturday marks the last episode before the holidays for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After a comet damages their shuttle, R2-D2, Colonel Gascon and the other droids crash on a desolate planet where they must make their way across a bewildering expanse of emptiness to carry out their mission in “A Sunny Day in the Void,” airing this Saturday, December 8th at 9:30am ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

The series will return with new episodes starting on January 5, 2013.

“Secret Weapons” Episode FeaturetteThe Droids You’re Looking For

The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni discusses the droids of D-Squad.

Link:  http://starwars.com/watch/secret-weapons-featurette.html

 

 

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David Tennant, best known as the tenth doctor to play The Doctor on the hit seriesDoctor Who, will make his Star Wars: The Clone Wars debut this week in “A Test of Strength,” airing Saturday, November 10th at 9:30am ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

Tennant will voice the character Huyang, a droid who greatly impacts the journey of a group of young Jedi, who were just setting out to build their first lightsabers in last week’s episode.  The famed actor will continue to appear in the series for the following two episodes, “Bound for Rescue” and “A Necessary Strength.”

“When I heard the Doctor himself, David Tennant, was a fan of Star Wars I knew I had to find a way to get in contact with him to see if he would perform on Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” said Dave Filoni, Supervising Director, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. “The result was ‘Huyang,’ an ancient droid in the service of the Jedi Order, whose sole task in life has been overseeing the construction of lightsabers. I thought David was perfect for the part and he did not disappoint. He delivered a performance which impressed even the Master himself, George Lucas.”

Trivia:

  • This episode marks the first appearance of “Huyang,” an ancient droid in the service of the Jedi Order, whose sole task in life has been overseeing the construction of lightsabers. The character is voiced by David Tennant (Doctor WhoHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
  • Petro’s lightsaber training maneuver – the Whirlwind of Destiny – was actually created a young fan as part of the Join the Jedi contest sponsored by Hasbro. The winning entry was animated into the show.
  • The training remotes seen aboard the Crucible are the same design as the one seen aboard the Millennium Falcon in Episode IV, and in Jedi Temple youngling training verandah in Episode II.

 

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This September, the Critically Acclaimed Series from Lucasfilm Animation Returns for Season Five, while Seasons One and Two Enter Syndication Across the Nation.

Following an impressive fourth season full of surprises, the spectacular action and riveting story of Star Wars: The Clone Wars intensifies in Season Five on Cartoon Network at a new day and time. Starting September 29, 2012 at 9:30 am, the classic heroes and villains of the world famous Star Wars Saga continue their adventures as The Clone Wars moves to Cartoon Network’s action series Saturday mornings.

The shadow of the dark side falls upon Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Five as the series moves closer to the grim events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The big-screen action, unforgettable characters, and rousing adventure of the Star Wars Saga continue, as Jedi heroes face a galaxy of foes. With unparalleled visuals, sound, action and adventure, Star Wars: The Clone Wars continues the cinematic saga with the equivalent of a short  animated Star Wars movie each week. Season Five is filled with explosive action, exotic worlds, intriguing characters and shocking turns as several major players face their destinies as the galaxy plunges into darkness.

In addition to its bold new episodes, the celebrated stories of the series’ first two seasons will premiere in domestic syndication, marking its first appearance ever on U.S. broadcast television. Now, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be available to a whole new audience, as well as provide an additional destination for its already loyal viewers to relive the amazing saga from its beginning. For a listing of participating stations, visit www.starwars.com as the September launch approaches.

 

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from Nerdist:

Saturday the 11th is Nerdist Day at San Francsisco’s festival of music, food, art and comedy.

For four years, the Outside Lands festival has brought Golden Gate Park the best in bands, food, art and more, but this year, Aug. 10-12, they top themselves with an entire day of Nerdist. In the Barbary, a tent with mirrored walls and a stained-glass ceiling, three days of comedy and variety include a Saturday presented by us.

Nerdist Day, August 11th (which we’d call “Sat-Nerd-Day” if BBC America hadn’t beaten us to it.) kicks off at noon with a session of soft rock and sweet ‘staches from Mustache Harbor.  Then things really get into gear at 1 p.m. with a Nerdist stand-up cluster hosted by Jonah Ray, featuring Pete HolmesDavid KoechnerMichelle ButeauJesse Elias and Caitlin Gill. If your weekend isn’t sufficiently magical after that, stick around at 2:10 p.m. for Justin Willman and his masterful Magic Meltdown.The Dork Forest‘s Jackie Kashian hosts a second stand-up cluster at 5 p.m. with Reggie WattsRon Funches, Michelle Buteau, Cory Loykasek and Mike Drucker, and then between 5 and 8 p.m. there’ll be back-to-back Nerdist variety shows featuring Chris HardwickNeil Patrick Harris, David Koechner, Justin Willman, Marcus Monroe, Jonah Ray, Pete Holmes, Ron Funches and Jackie Kashian. Holmes will also be hosting a live edition of You Made It Weird Sunday at noon with stars from Adult Swim.

So come and step “Outside” next weekend. In addition to our all-star line-up, some of the finest in food, beer and wine will be available, plus there’s an art show and of course some heavy-hitting bands like Metallica. But to quote one of their more famous tunes, when you’re hanging with the Nerdist gang at the Barbary, “Nothing Else Matters.”

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Halo and Riese Webseries producer appointed by Retrofit to lead original content team.

Retrofit Films, an award-winning digital production company, announces that Ryan Copple has joined the executive management team as VP of Digital Development. Copple brings to the company an expertise in digital series development, strategy and production with partnerships at BBC Worldwide, Syfy, E One, Muse Entertainment and Content Media, among others.

“Ryan’s breadth of experience in interactive content development and monetization launches Retrofit Films into our next stage of growth,” says Retrofit’s co-founder Chris Hanada. “We’re very excited to expand our own stories by building on our experience creating digital, cross platform, branded entertainment for existing franchises with the studios and networks.”

Ryan’s background includes co-creating and executive-producing the critically acclaimed sci-fi webseries “Riese: Kingdom Falling” whose rights were picked up and licensed worldwide by the Syfy Network’s digital arm before the project crossed media boundaries with a spin-off iPhone game and prequel novel published by Simon & Schuster.

Most recently Ryan completed co-producing Microsoft’s highly-anticipated webseries “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” for Machinima before relocating from Vancouver to Los Angeles. “Innovative content coupled with equally innovative strategy is the future of traditional and new media companies,” say Copple. “A company with Retrofit’s pedigree is primed to bridge the gap between traditional and new media, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that evolution.”

“Ryan is here to really light the fire under our own intellectual properties,” says Retrofit co-founder Tanner Kling. “We’ve produced two original series in the past year, but bringing him into the fold signals a full-throttle dive into our development slate of original projects and our company’s continuing emphasis on creating strong strategic partnerships in the digital landscape.”

 

About Retrofit Films
Retrofit Films is an award-winning digital production company founded in 2004 by Chris Hanada and Tanner Kling. The company has a history of producing multi-platform stories and experiences for global brands, television networks and Hollywood studios with franchises such as FRINGE, HOUSE MD, HEROES, and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.retrofitfilms.com

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From Kyle Anderson at The Nerdist:

I’m very sad to have to again report on the passing of a beloved Doctor Who actor. Mary Tamm, who brilliantly played the first incarnation of Romana to Tom Baker’s Doctor, has passed away from cancer at the age of 62.

Though Tamm appeared for just one season from 1978-1979, the season-long “Key to Time” story arc, the mark she left on the series was indelible. Romana was the Doctor’s very first Time Lady companion since his granddaughter in the very beginning. Brought in to assist the Doctor in retrieving the Key to Time by the mysterious White Guardian, Romana, short for “Romanadvoratrelundar,” was a glamorous and intelligent young (139) Time Lady fresh out of the Academy on Gallifrey. Initially, she was dismissive of the Doctor’s eccentric ways and considered him her intellectual inferior; however, as the season progressed, they grew to compliment each other and become a team, with Romana’s book smarts pairing nicely with the Doctor’s experience and cunning. Romana is one of my favorite companions, and her interplay and quip-exchanging with Tom Baker makes even some of the “Key to Time”‘s sillier stories delightful to watch.

Read the full article here at The Nerdist.

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Detective Catherine Chandler is a smart, no-nonsense homicide detective. When she was a teenager, Catherine witnessed the murder of her mother at the hands of two gunmen. Catherine would have been killed too, but someone – or something – saved her. No one has ever believed her, but she knows it wasn’t an animal that attacked the assassins…it was human. Years have passed, and Catherine is a strong, confident, capable police officer, working alongside her equally talented partner, Tess. While investigating a murder, Catherine discovers a clue that leads her to a handsome doctor named Vincent Keller, who was reportedly killed by enemy fire while serving in Afghanistan in 2002. Catherine learns that Vincent is actually still alive and that it was he who saved her many years before. For mysterious reasons that have forced him to live outside of traditional society, Vincent has been in hiding for the past 10 years to guard his secret – when he is enraged, he becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened senses. Catherine agrees to protect his identity in return for any insight he may have into her mother’s murder. Thus begins a complex relationship between Catherine and Vincent, who are powerfully drawn to each other yet understand that their connection is extremely dangerous for both of them.

The series stars Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville,” “Chuck”) as Catherine, Jay Ryan (“Terra Nova”) as Vincent, Max Brown (“The Tudors,” “MI-5”) as Evan, Nina Lisandrello (“Nurse Jackie”) as Tess, Nicole Gale Anderson (“Make It or Break It”) as Heather, Austin Basis (“Life Unexpected”) as J.T., and Brian White (“The Shield,” “The Cabin in the Woods”) as Joe.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is from CBS Television Studios with executive producers Jennifer Levin (“Without A Trace,” “Felicity”), Sherri Cooper (“Brothers and Sisters”), Bill Haber (“Rizzoli & Isles,” “Thurgood”), Paul J. Witt (“A Better Life”) & Tony Thomas (“A Better Life”), Ron Koslow (“Moonlight”) and Gary Fleder (“Life Unexpected”).

I’ve always loved the classic fairy tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” It has loosely inspired dozens upon dozens of love stories for more than two centuries since the story was first written and I have enjoyed watching it retold in various animated and film incarnations including classics like “La Belle et la Bête” and “The Scarlet Flower” and newer versions like “No Such Thing” and “The Bride”.  One of my endearing favorites has always been the 80s tv series version staring Ron Pearlman and Lina Hamilton.

Now, the CW, whom I’ve so far trusted with my favorite characters (props to SMALLVILLE and it’s handing of the DC ‘verse), has decided to take a stab at it. I’m all for a new retelling of the story. I do, however, have one reservation: They aren’t creating a new story, they are ‘rebooting’ the tv series with the same characters of Vincent and Catherine. Maybe it has something to do with being cheaper to recycle old characters, plots, etc than creating a whole new world from scratch, or maybe it’s an attempt to recapture the magic of the 80s series. This one decision, to ‘reboot’ instead of starting fresh, may backfire on them… or maybe it’s just old farts like myself who will have trouble accepting this cataclysmic shakeup of a beloved world.*

One of the most endearing things about the 80s series was that the “Beast” wasn’t enchanted. Instead, he was born with a lion-like disfiguration and a form of Hypertrichosis (Remember Jo Jo the Dog Faced Boy?) but the beastly outside was in direct contrast to the gentle, loving soul within. No kiss would break the magic spell, returning him to his handsome self but Catherine loved the man despite his outward appearance. The magic of that series was the relationship: the friendship, the kindness, the sappy romance of candles and roses and sonnets as the chaste couple poured out their hearts and souls, making the only love they felt they could with thoughtful gestures and softly spoken words… And it worked. While the show only ran 3 seasons over 20 years ago, loyal fans will forever look at Ron Pearlman as one of the sexiest men alive and Linda Hamilton as one of the luckiest ladies to have ever been loved. Sure, we know they were just actors playing roles, but the spiritus of the actors is what brings the characters to life so something of Vincent and Catherine will always linger like a specter about them for fans of the old series.

With the reboot, we have a handsome Vincent who ‘hulks out’ rather than having to constantly live with his appearance. This seems like cheating to me, if they insist on it being Catherine and Vincent. Why not take a chance and create their own story?! Give them different names! There is no reason the beast shouldn’t be able to be a handsome man, after all the original story was of a handsome man transformed into a beast. By using the names of Vincent and Catherine though, they are paying homage to the series rather than the fairy tale and are inviting a comparison to the series thus setting some expectations they may not be able to live up to.

I loved Kristen Kreuk in Smallville and she probably has a fair chance at capturing the “Magic” that was Catherine the same way she turned Lana Lang into her own creation even when standing side by side with Annette O’Toole who was the 80’s incarnation of Lana Lang in the Superman movies. While it may not sound like it from my tone so far, I am actually rooting for her to pull it off. I would like to see this show create it’s own magic and distance itself from the 80s series. That being said, I hope they draw on the relationship from the series rather than the current tween idea of romance we see in so many books, films and tv series. She needs to be more of a Kate Beckett than Bella Swan, regardless of what the target audience age is. If, she is as they say in the show description, “A smart, no-nonsense homicide detective,” she shouldn’t be swooning and fawning at the misunderstood loner and pining away for him ‘just because’. He needs to be someone a strong, independent woman could desire to have in her life, despite the obstacles.

Thus we examine the new Vincent: Jay Ryan. I’ve seen him in Terra Nova and Legend of the Seeker but those were small roles so I don’t have nearly the feel for what characteristics he could bring to the new Vincent other than being a smoldering Kiwi (New Zealand has turned out some of the sexiest, most talented actors of the last two decades). He’s a doctor, for starters, so that means he should be a caring and compassionate man, especially since he enlisted in the military instead of staying Stateside to collect a huge salary while growing more apathetic to mankind’s plights. Other than that, there aren’t any clues to him or why he ‘hulks out’. I’m guessing it must have something to do with military ‘perfect soldier’ experiments he may have discovered and either been a part of or victim of during the fighting in Afghanistan where he supposedly died.

It looks like Catherine’s mother is wearing scrubs as she arrives to rescue her teenage daughter from a dead battery. Suddenly, men pull up in a car and without out a word open fire on the pair, shooting mom first, then chasing after Catherine who runs into the dark woods and is then rescued from certain doom by the strange beastly man in the dark. This suggests that perhaps Catherine’s mother is tied to Vincent’s condition and why Vincent would be so close by at just the right time.

From the brief preview above, it looks like the production quality will be on par with current fantasy shows like The Vampire Diaries and Grimm, both of which are quite well done. That being said, its success will hinge on the connection between the two main characters more than the production quality, writing, plot and talent of the cast. That the action-flick soundtrack dropped to a piano theme when the Beast appeared suggests that maybe the show runners are keeping that in mind.

I’m truly hoping that CW can make its own magic with Vincent and Catherine and I’m looking forward to checking out the new series which is set to premier Thursday this fall, probably as a companion to The Vampire Diaries.

 

 

*Okay, Okay. I admit it! I don’t like shake ups much. I spent a week flying around Azeroth after World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion came out, numbed with shock and sometimes teary eyed to think of the loss of some of my favorite places and the memories of years spent dwelling there with friends. It was just painful to watch it all ripped apart, burned and scarred.

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