Beauty and the Beast is an American drama series which first aired on CBS in 1987. Creator Ron Koslow's updated version of the fairy tale has a double focus: the relationship between Vincent (Ron Perlman), a mythic, noble man-beast, and his Catherine (Linda Hamilton), a savvy assistant District attorney in New York; and a secret Utopian community of social outcasts living in a subterranean sanctuary. Through an empathic bond, Vincent senses Catherine's emotions, and becomes her guardian. The series follows the developing relationship between the characters and the division between New York and the hidden world beneath it. In a twist from the original tale, however, this "beast" does not transform into society's idea of beauty after gaining the love of Catherine. Rather, Vincent's inner beauty is allowed to remain the focus of who he is, and it is Catherine's life which transforms from her relationship to Vincent. Vincent's makeup was devised by veteran Hollywood makeup artist Rick Baker.
As the title indicates, the premise of the series is inspired by the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast"; in particular, there is some connection to the Jean Cocteau French film of 1946, La Belle et la Bête.
When Catherine Chandler is abducted, beaten and slashed and left to die in Central Park, she is rescued and cared for by Vincent, who has taken her to his Father (Roy Dotrice), to their hidden community of people dwelling in tunnels below the city of New York. Ten days later, she returns to the surface with the promise of keeping Vincent's secret and the challenge to go on after her terrible attack. After completing her recovery, her life begins a serious transition: she takes self-defense lessons, leaves her comfortable job at her father's law firm and joins the Manhattan District Attorney's office as an Assistant District attorney. During the course of the first season, the production team fashioned a blend of romance and crime drama which used both Catherine's position as an ADA and her will to help Vincent and his world to place her in moments of physical danger which would bring the idealized romantic figure of Vincent to the surface world as her guardian angel.
During its second season, the series shifted its focus slightly to add more character development, as the central characters spent considerable time exploring their relationship and with the inhabitants of the Tunnel World, where Catherine had now finally been accepted as a friend and "Helper" (someone who assists the Tunnel community with what they need to survive and by keeping their secret). More people from the world Above turned up for emotional support and healing in the World Below's welcomingly secure environment. Near the end of the season, however, in an effort to boost faltering ratings, the action orientation returned as a result of the misleadings of the recurrent villain Paracelsus (Tony Jay). (See also: Personality). In a cliffhanger final episode, Catherine is seen walking down a tunnel into a chamber, where Vincent is suffering from a violent madness.
When the series returned for its abbreviated third season late in 1989, Linda Hamilton had announced her decision to leave the series. It was a decision that, along with the network's desire to attract more male viewers, would have serious repercussions for the show's continued survival. In the resolution to the previous season's cliffhanger, Catherine rescued Vincent from his inner demons but was kidnapped by "Gabriel" (played by Stephen McHattie), the ruthless head of a huge criminal empire she had been investigating, which was trying to corrupt the D.A.'s office. She was killed, but not before giving birth to Vincent's son, who was held hostage by the evil Gabriel. Catherine's boss and close friend Joe Maxwell (played by Jay Acovone) hired Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson), a criminal profiler with the police department, to track down Catherine's killer. Quite naturally, her investigation ultimately led her to the now darkly obsessed and grieving Vincent.
Although still popular with its dedicated fans, the darker, more resolutely violent aspects of the reworked concept, coupled with the fatal loss of the all-important central relationship between Catherine and Vincent, led to further declining ratings and cancellation.
List of episodes
- 1. Once Upon a Time in the City of New York
- 2. Terrible Savior
- 3. Siege
- 4. No Way Down
- 5. Masques
- 6. The Beast Within
- 7. Nor Iron Bars a Cage
- 8. Song of Orpheus
- 9. Dark Spirit
- 10. A Children's Story
- 11. An Impossible Silence
- 12. Shades of Gray
- 13. China Moon
- 14. The Alchemist
- 15. Temptation
- 16. Promises of Someday
- 17. Down to a Sunless Sea
- 18. Fever
- 19. Everything is Everything
- 20. To Reign in Hell
- 21. Ozymandias
- 22. A Happy Life
- 23 (2x1) Chamber Music
- 24 (2x2) Remember Love
- 25 (2x3) Ashes, Ashes
- 26 (2x4) Dead of Winter
- 27 (2x5) God Bless the Child
- 28 (2x6) Sticks and Stones
- 29 (2x7) A Fair and Perfect Knight
- 30 (2x8) Labyrinths
- 31 (2x9) Brothers
- 32 (2x10) A Gentle Rain
- 33 (2x11) The Outsiders
- 34 (2x12) Orphans
- 35 (2x13) Arabesque
- 36 (2x14) When the Bluebird Sings
- 37 (2x15) The Watcher
- 38 (2x16) A Distant Shore
- 39 (2x17) Trial
- 40 (2x18) A Kingdom by the Sea
- 41 (2x19) The Hollow Men
- 42 (2x20) What Rough Beast
- 43 (2x21) Ceremony of Innocence
- 44 (2x22) The Rest is Silence
- 45 (3x1) Though Lovers be Lost, Part 1
- 46 (3x2) Though Lovers be Lost, Part 2
- 47 (3x3) Walk Slowly
- 48 (3x4) Nevermore
- 49 (3x5) Snow
- 50 (3x6) Beggar's Comet
- 51 (3x7) A Time to Heal
- 52 (3x8) In the Forests of the Night
- 53 (3x9) Chimes at Midnight
- 54 (3x10) Invictus
- 55 (3x11) The Reckoning
- 56 (3x12) Legacies
The "World Above"
- Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) - a corporate attorney in her father's law firm who, after being abducted, beat and her face slashed then rescued and tended to by Vincent, changes her life completely and becomes an investigator for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
- Joe Maxwell (Jay Acovone) - a Deputy District Attorney for the Borough of Manhattan, and Catherine's immediate superior in the office.
- Elliot Burch (Edward Albert) - A self-made millionaire and New York building developer, who is in love with Catherine.
- Charles Chandler (John McMartin) (Seasons 1 and 2) - Catherine's father.
- Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson) (Season 3) - Diana is a criminal profiler with the "210 Division" of the New York Police Department, which investigates unusual cases beyond the scope of the normal police, called to investigate Catherine's murder.
- Gabriel (Stephen McHattie) (Season 3) - A highly-influential crime boss and the biggest drug trafficker on the East Coast, responsible for Catherine's death and the kidnapping of her baby.
The "World Below"
- Vincent (Ron Perlman) - a man of extremely large build, with the facial characteristics of a lion (fanged teeth, a flattened nose and a cleft upper lip) and fingers tipped with claw-like nails. He wears a cloak and hood to hide his appearance from strangers while walking the city streets at night. His parentage is unknown: He was found as a baby near Saint Vincent's Hospital and brought to Father by Anna, wife of Paracelsus.
- Father (Roy Dotrice) - Loved and respected as the patriarch of the Tunnel world, Jacob Wells is a physician who left the world Above after having been unjustly blacklisted, fired from his job and having his license to practice medicine stripped from him. He found sanctuary in an early Tunnel community, and became its leader.
- Mouse (David Greenlee) - A child-like young tunnel dweller (possibly autistic) with the mind of a genius.
- Mary (Ellen Geer) - The Tunnels' midwife.
- Pascal (Armin Shimerman) - The shy and gentle "pipe master", supervisor of the tunnels' communication system.
- Winslow (James Avery) - One very influential member of the underground community, a blacksmith by trade.
- Paracelsus (Tony Jay) - John Pater was a scientist and former friend of Father's who helped organize the Tunnel World, but when he eventually desired power for himself, the community was forced to exile him. Father describes him as a "philosopher, scientist, magician", like the real Paracelsus, the name Pater eventually takes for himself (after the 15th-century alchemist). He is a recurring antagonist in the series.
Avon Books published three books novelizing various episodes from the series.
- Beauty and the Beast by Barbara Hambly - October 1989 ISBN 0-380-75795-8, a novelization and expanding of the pilot episode
- Masques by Ru Emerson - September 1990 ISBN 0-380-76194-7, a novelization of the episodes Arabesque, Masques and The Watcher
- Song of Orpheus by Barbara Hambly - November 1990 ISBN 0-380-75798-2, a novelization of the episodes Fever, Song of Orpheus and Shades of Grey
- WaRP Graphics also published two graphic novels based on the series.
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all three seasons of Beauty and the Beast on DVD in Region 1. They also released Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series, a 16-disc boxset featuring all 56 episodes of the series.
Shock Entertainment has released the entire series on DVD in Region 4.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Region 1||Region 4|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Complete First Season||22||February 13, 2007||April 20, 2009|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Second Season||22||July 10, 2007||September 10, 2009|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Third Season||12||February 5, 2008||February 10, 2010|
|Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series||56||September 30, 2008||April 14, 2010|
An active fan community (self-titled "Helpers" and/or "the tunnel community") arose during the show's run, helping organize a petition drive to assure that there would be a third season.. They have published the usual fanzines, fan fiction and collections of filk music inspired by the show, and hold various fan conventions around the world.
- Jay Acovone at the Internet Movie Database
- Gerard, Jeremy (November 24, 1988). "The Success of 'Beauty and the Beast'". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- O'Connor, John J. (September 25, 1987). "TV Weekend; 'Beauty and the Beast,' on CBS". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- O'Connor, John J. (December 20, 1989). "Television; Beast Tries to Survive Loss Of the Other Half of the Title". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- Stephen McHattie at the Internet Movie Database
- Gerard, Jeremy (June 1, 1989). "Fans of 'Beauty'". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
- Terri Hanauer at the Internet Movie Database
- Edward Albert at the Internet Movie Database
- Ren Woods at the Internet Movie Database
- Carlson, Timothy. "Beauty and the Beast, the Show That Wouldn't Die... And the Fans Who Wouldn't Let It." TV Guide January 13, 1990, pp. 2-6
- Gonna Howl Tonight #6 ToC
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- Classic Alliance of Beauty and the Beast
- Winterfest Online
- Beauty and the Beast Tunnel Ring
- Another Life, Another Dream - Beauty and the Beast 2009 convention
- "Beauty and the Beast: 20 Years of Remembering" - An online documentary
- "Beauty and the Beast TV - An online fan community