Following the moderate success of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the Mickey Mouse network has just given the order for a new Beauty and the Beast themed pilot, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The move marks the second possible Beauty and the Beast reimagining this pilot season, the first having been ordered by the CW Network. This may prove to be the Grimm vs. Once Upon a Time – identical premises that sound much better on (Fables’ comic book) paper than on Friday or Sunday night television, respectively – showdown of the next season. Are the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen the elite show creators that networks would have us believe? To be fair, their being dead is probably a very attractive quality when contract negotiations come around.
In somewhat related news, Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy (amazingly while still being alive), is aiming for her fourth creator credit this spring with new series Scandal also on ABC and starring Kerry Washington. The message here being that Grey’s Anatomy in essence is performing so well, ABC has chosen to give the show’s creator a heftier chunk of their airtime, for lack of anything better to do with it. (Little Bo Peep biopic, perhaps?) Sometime in the future, Summer Glau, the accursed one to many, is even scheduled to make an appearance on Grey’s. Yes. We get it. The guys over there feel very secure. Geez. They’re just rubbing it in now.
Security in the scripted television jungle is a rare thing these days but does occur now and then, and you know it when you see it. Giving someone behind one hit series a new series to stamp their name on is like giving out luxury cars they can flaunt or, just as easily, crash into a tree for fun. Shonda Rhimes seems to have more experience with the latter; Off the Map cancelled and Private Practice seeming to underwhelm on purpose. (She should probably learn to drive/write soon.) Bones guy Hart Hanson is also getting the treatment this season over on FOX with The Finder holding steady with recycled jokes originally written for David Boreanaz and the older Deschanel.
Interestingly, this level of safety and comfort seems to lead to a “Fuck it” attitude, the sort that more commonly comes out of desperation, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in television.
Seinfeld, an example from the history books, displayed some “Fuck it”-ness on more than one occasion throughout its run. Initially people just hated the show, reasons ranging from the show being “too Jewish” to it being “too New York.” Only four episodes of the first season were ordered after the pilot by an optimistic (it was 1990) NBC exec. Those episodes, made with a supposed expiration date, are critically lauded these days and the second time the pilot aired ratings doubled to guarantee a followup season.
Later on, Larry David and Jerry arguably said Fuck it again when things were going too well. Larry stepped down as showrunner and Jerry decided to pick up the pace of the show, cut out the standup segments and drive towards the absurd(ly funny) – remember the one with bizarro Jerry or the backwards episode? Fuck it right?
So its possible that genius can be found in both comfort and unease. Perhaps the new Beauty and the Beast (on twice?) holds some surprises after all. Probably not. But if Summer Glau is getting work as a hail mary or an act of total indifference, then so be it. We can all use a bit more Summer. Curse Smurse.
Yup, this blog has an affinity for the beautiful people. Didn’t think you would mind.