Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton. A noble lion-man beast falls in love with Catherine, a shrewd D.A. from New York. Includes Chamber Music" (11/18/88), The Outsiders" (2/24/89), The Rest Is Silence" (6/2/89), and 19 more for a total of 22 episodes on 6 DVDs. 1988-89/color/17 hrs., 20 min/NR/fullscreen.
Though set in the late-1980s, Beauty and the Beast
plays like something from another era. There's no irony, cynicism, or hip quips to break the spell of the fantasy (though a little humor would've been nice). Catherine (Linda Hamilton) loves the beastly, if beneficent Vincent (Ron Perlman) with all her heart--and vice versa. Together, they're TV's most soft-hearted crime fighters. To the show's credit, however, they aren't infallible, and there are a few problems they're unable to solve, whether the issue is drug addiction ("Chamber Music"), infectious disease ("Ashes, Ashes" with Highlander
's Adrian Paul), or murder ("The Hollow Men").
In retrospect, it's clear that Beauty and the Beast was a reaction to the "greed is good" era. Vincent and his cave-dwelling compatriots represent a more compassionate alternative to "topsider" corruption. Yet all is not harmonious below either. Seriously injured the previous year, Paracelsus (Tony Jay) becomes a Phantom of the Opera-type figure, who aims to destroy Vincent's candle-lit utopia. In addition, a less civilized group of outcasts arrives in "The Outsiders." Fortunately, Vincent has Father (Roy Dotrice), Mary (Ellen Geer), Mouse (David Greenlee), and Pascal (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Armin Shimerman) on his side.
Unfortunately, they won't be able to prevent the tragedy that occurs in "The Rest Is Silence." Suffice to say, the season finale sets the scene for a new direction (more is revealed in the third-season opener). Consequently, Beauty and the Beast was canceled the following year, but still managed to rack up 18 Emmy nominations (winning six), spawning a soundtrack, and even inspiring some Saturday Night Live spoofing--a sure sign it had struck a chord. While the first season was devoid of extras, Perlman and Hamilton introduce six key episodes on this set. --Kathleen C. Fennessy