Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Beauty and the Beast
The First Season


Starring: Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman
Fabulous Films
RRP: £49.99
Certificate: PG
Available 30 May 2011

When a savvy assistant D.A., called Catherine, is mistaken for someone else by a gang of criminals, they kidnap her and cut her face, leaving her for dead on the side of the road. Catherine is rescued and cared for by a mysterious man know only as Vincent. Catherine's face is bandaged for weeks and her only comfort is the sound of Vincent's calm and reassuring voice. When it's time for the bandages to come off, Catherine discovers that Vincent is badly disfigured. The two share a strong psychic bond, and though they live in separate worlds, their love continues to grow without measure...

Beauty and the Beast originally ran for three seasons from 1987-1990. The show's first season is pretty much a crime/problem of the week affair, with Catherine and Vincent working together to help solve a problem.

The series was notable for the fact that it slipped just outside the boundaries of all the popular genres of the time - creating it's own subgenre, which to this day has yet to be repeated. With it's romantic central message, it was primarily a show loved by women and young girls. And, watching this today, a lot of the show's original charm is lost because it seems just too cheesy and idealistic.

The show's central characters, Vincent and Catherine are played by Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton (a woman I've never thought attractive - and taking a quick vote with other male friends it would appear that's pretty much everyone's verdict). Vincent is incredible knowledgeable about everything and morally right in every respect - not bad for a bloke whose spent his entire time living under New York city.

There are some notable guest stars including Roy Dotrice, Edward Albert, James Avery, Tony Jay, Armin Shimerman (who Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans will know from his time playing Quark), and Rosalind Chao (who played Keiko O'Brien in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine).

Probably my biggest complaint about this collection is the variable quality of the picture. The episodes range from average to poor (almost VHS quality poor) and in some instances the quality varies from scene to scene in the same episode. I'm assuming that the show was shot on video and this is probably the best quality that could be reproduced.

There are some interesting ideas explored in this first season:

Terrible Savior sees a vigilante attacking petty thieves, most of which end up dead, in New York city. All surviving witnesses describe a man that fits the description of Vincent.

Masques is not without its major faults, but it does allow Vincent to travel to city level on Halloween night. Pre the 911 attacks Americans still thought the IRA were pretty cool. This episode deals with a Irish terrorist group. I'm assuming they're Irish, the accents are terrible.

A Children's Story sees an orphanage selling children to criminals.

Shades of Grey, I couldn't help thinking, was a commentary on the practices of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Here the residents of the world below are told to shun one of their own - they are forbidden to talk to him, or even acknowledge his presence for one month - as punishment for a crime against their ways.

Promises of Someday sees an old childhood friend of Vincent's return. We discover why he left their world years before when he and Vincent were children. This is an episode that tackles the eventual righting of an old wrong.

Down to Sunless Sea sees an old boyfriend of Catherine's turn up. He's got a terminal illness and wants to smooth things over with her. But he turns out to be a bit of a nutter.

Fever sees a handful of the undergrounders discover treasure - which turns them on each other. Instead of sharing it with everyone, one of the team wants his share for himself.

However, the final episode (A Happy Life) nearly undoes all the hard work. This is an entire episode that explores Catherine constantly crying and trying to fathom why she can't be with Vincent.

Extras include a new Documentary (16 min, 39 sec) which interviews Hamilton and Perlman on their time on the show. It's not overly informative and Hamilton hardly talks, but it's worth a watch just to see how much Hamilton has aged) and a photo gallery.

One quick note I wanted to add is Don Davis's music. Twice I spotted segments of music which appeared to be heavily "borrowed" from other composers. In the episode Dark Spirit there was a whole passage of music that sounded too similar to John Williams's work for Star Wars. And in 'To Reign in Hell' there is a large chunk of music that sounds identical to James Horner's music in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

Devoted fans of the show (of which there are very many) will be elated to add this to their collection. And for them this will be money well spent. However, anyone who remembers it fondly as a show they watched as a kid, may be surprised to discover that it has not aged as gracefully as it should have. It's cheesy and rather silly, but fans will lap it up.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£34.93 (
£34.99 (
£34.99 (
£36.97 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.