The Beauty and the Beast TV show was a fantasy series about a man-beast (Vincent) and his love for a beautiful assistant district attorney (Catherine Chandler). Vincent lived in an underground world beneath New York City where his gruesome looks were less important to his peers than were his caring and benevolent personality. Together, Vincent and Catherine had many adventures both above and below ground level and their love for each other continued to grow.
"Once upon a time... in the city of New York." So begins this unique fantasy-crime series. Catherine (Emmy nominee Linda Hamilton, The Terminator
) is an assistant DA who's attacked one night by strangers. When she wakes up, her face is covered in bandages. Someone named Vincent (Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman) has been taking care of her in his home beneath the subway. When she removes the dressing, she finds that he's a man-beast, but fear turns to trust when she becomes convinced he has her best interests at heart. As she states in the introduction, "We have a bond stronger than friendship or love." As the season unfolds, Vincent frequently comes to Catherine's assistance. As an empath, he knows instinctively when she's in trouble. When he needs help, Vincent turns to Father (Roy Dotrice), the doctor who raised him after he was abandoned at the hospital after he was born. His origins are unknown. Together, Catherine and Vincent are like the detectives of Remington Steele
, except no one knows she's part of a team, since they're only able to meet in secret. Vincent's underground companions, however, get to know Catherine well. Just as Vincent comes to her aid as needed, she does the same for his community.
Although Beauty and the Beast has little in common with the Jean Cocteau film or Disney animated picture, the appeal is similar. Cynics may find these do-gooders sentimental, especially when Catherine utters lines like, "And although we cannot be together, we will never, ever be apart." But romantics made the CBS drama successful--at least until Hamilton left in the second year--and launched the Emmy-nominated Perlman into cult favorites like The City of Lost Children. Oscar winner Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London) also deserves credit for his convincing make-up effects. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Beyond Beauty and The Beast Stills from Beauty and The Beast: The Complete First Season (click for larger image)