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Cult TV Essentials: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was a modern reimagining of the classic tale written by Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, David Peckinpah, and George R. R. Martin. It debuted in September 1987 and ran for three season (55 episodes). As the series opens in the episode “Once Upon a Time in the City of New York,”  Catherine Chandler (played by Linda Hamilton) is abducted, beaten, slashed and left to die in Central Park – in a case of mistaken identity. Luckily she is rescued by the lion looking Vincent (played by Ron Perlman) who takes her to Jacob “Father” Wells (played by Roy Dotrice) – leader of “The World Below” – a hidden community of people dwelling in tunnels below the city of New York.

After being nursed back to health, Catherine returns to the surface ten days later promising to keep Vincent and “The World Below” a secret. She struggles to cope after her attack so seeks therapy. After completing her recovery, her life begins a serious transition: she takes self-defence lessons, leaves her posh job at her father’s law firm and joins the Manhattan District Attorney’s office as an Assistant District Attorney. Her first action involves her asking Carol Stabler (Ava Lazar) about the men that attacked her. Carol informs her that they were part of an illegal escort service run by Martin Belmont. Later, Catherine is attacked by Marty Belmont’s men but is saved by Vincent who decimates the men.

The rest of the season played out in a similar manner with Catherine on a moralistic crusade and Vincent acting as her guardian angel. In a twist on the original novel, Vincent – The Beast – does not transform into a handsome prince, instead his inner beauty stand out whilst Catherine – The Beauty- transforms away from what her society expects of her.

At the start of Season 3 Catherine is killed, (the reason being that Linda Hamilton was pregnant and wanted off the show) and is replaced by Detective Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson) a criminal profiler investigating Catherine’s murder. She quickly becomes the new love interest of Vincent. Due to the abrupt drop in the ratings after Hamilton leaving, the show was cancelled in the middle of Season 3. The final episode being episode 11 “Legacies.”

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2 thoughts on “Cult TV Essentials: Beauty and the Beast

  1. Terrific show with a great cast. Linda’s leaving definitely put the nail in the coffin for the series. The magic was gone.

    The make~up for Ron Perlman’s Vincent character was outstanding.

    Another awesome TV show that left us too soon.

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