ABC to readapt Beauty and the Beast

ABC has obviously got a thing for fairytales right now. Of course, being owned by Disney, how could they not?

This fall they’re premiering their new series, Once Upon a Time, in which a town of odd people turn out to be fairytale characters who have been trapped in the real world for generations without aging, cursed to play out the same rivalries year after year.

Before waiting to see if that show will be popular, they have already ordered the production of the first season of a new show, Beauty and the Beast, which will unsurprisingly be based on the old fairytale of the same name. 

Obviously, all the characters in the shows were once in Disney films, but neither show is actually based on the Disney version of the property.

Beauty and the Beast will be an “epic fantasy,” “modern retelling,” according to two different releases about the series over the last few months.

There is no official synopsis of the series yet, but epic, modern fantasy could mean lots of things from a magical underground world with lots of interesting back-story and mythology to a Twilight-esque tween romance festival, so the whole thing is still up in the air as far as genre is concerned.

We do know that it is being written by Jonathan E. Steinberg, who co-created Jericho a few years ago, an excellent dystopian fantasy drama which didn’t survive its first season. With that kind-of pedigree, one would hope that it’s not going to be sappy crap, but it’s not an assurance.

Few likely remember anymore, but this isn’t the first attempt to create a modern adaptation of Beauty and the Beast as a television series. Back in the late eighties, CBS produced three seasons of a series by that name.

I think it was about Linda Hamilton who met Ron Pearlman, who was ugly, but not really all that ugly – I think he had a desease that made him look like a housecat with 80’s rocker hair, but she loved him anyway, and snuck food into the underground tunnels for him? I don’t know. It was a long time ago, and I only paid peripheral attention to it in the first place. I think my little sister watched it.

Expect ABC’s Beauty and the Beast to stop production if Once Upon a Time flops, but otherwise we’ll see it during the 2012 fall pilot runs.