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DVD Review

DVD cover

Beauty and the Beast
The Second Season


Starring: Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman
Fabulous Films
RRP: £49.99
Certificate: PG
Available 27 June 2011

The second season of Beauty and The Beast, the '80s, romantic show, is as alluring as ever in this 6-disc set. This collection of the Emmy® Award-winning fantasy-crime drama series includes all 22 second-season episodes, which feature the adventures and romance between Vincent (Ron Perlman), a mythic, noble man-beast, and Catherine (Linda Hamilton), a savvy assistant D.A. in New York. From the moment these two cross paths, they 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 second season, like the first season is pretty much a crime/problem of the week affair, with Catherine and Vincent working together to help solve a problem. And, believe it or not, Even more than the first season, this second season is sickly sweet... and had me rolling my eyes and sighing in desperation on more than a handful of occasions. This is primarily a show for young girls and romantic women.

The biggest problem though is that the show's creators suddenly decide in the last few episodes that they are going to build a story arc that shows the beast in Vincent. So suddenly, out of nowhere, we witness Vincent killing people - and we are led to believe this is something he's always done to protect the innocent. Er... no! In fact, in the season one episode 'Terrible Savior' a vigilante does just that and Vincent and Catherine are appalled that someone would do such a thing. The final three episodes are also odd because Vincent seems to contract some unexplainable disease (maybe I missed something - I was finding it hard to concentrate by this point) and starts acting even more savagely.

There are some interesting episodes in amongst the romantic pap. These include:

Chamber Music: Vincent happens across a drugged out man in the street. It's Rolly, a man Vincent once knew well. The episode is then told in flashback as we go back in time to discover how Rolly was introduced to Vincent's world as a young boy and how he managed, years later, to end up strung out on drugs.

God Bless the Children: Catherine is manning the lines at a homeless shelter and ends up talking to a young woman who is close to suicide. Against all the rules, Catherine makes arrangements to meet the woman and decides she would have a better life living with Vincent and the other undergrounders. She's attractive and falls in love with Vincent. Two (apparently) hot women in love with Vincent? What on earth is the guy's secret? Hairy palms?

A Far and Perfect Knight: Michael leaves the world below to attend college. He stays at Catherine's place, but soon starts to fall in love. While top side, he also runs into his father who wants nothing to do with him.

Brothers: One of the undergrounders who left years previously returns with someone who he feels will benefit from living out of the public eye. The man in question is disfigured in much the same way as Joseph Merrick, Victorian England's The Elephant Man was.

A Gentle Rain: It is discovered that a man living in the tunnels, who has become one of the undergrounders most decent men, is wanted for manslaughter in the outside world. He skipped bail and has been living a lie underground ever since. But what will his community do when the facts come to light?

When the Blue Bird Sings: This is an interesting episode as it's never fully revealed whether this is a ghost story or not. An artist starts to stalk Catherine asking her to pose for him, but as Catherine starts to dig into his past it seems he doesn't have one... that he died a few years previously.

Rather ridiculous episodes include:

Remember Me: In which Vincent acts like a spoilt teenager because Father forbids him to go on a trip with Catherine which could expose him and the other people in the underground settlement to outsiders. Vincent then starts roaring and acting like a spoilt 14-year-old. Oh, dear.

Arabesque: A famous ballet dancer, who once lived underground, comes back to the City and decides to pay a visit to Vincent. It transpires that the two have a bit of a romantic history... yes, another attractive woman who has fallen for Vincent! Joseph Merrick must have been a serious hit with the ladies!

A Distant Shore: Catherine has to leave the city which throws her and Vincent's world upside down... Really? They can't exist that far apart for a week? There's a rather mushy clips section which is accompanied by a vocal version of the theme tune. I nearly lost my lunch.

Trial: While an admirable job is made of tackling child abuse issues, it all falls a bit flat. Also, ironically, Vincent's hug with Catherine looks like he is strangling her! This is also the only episode in this collection which has the cards (and voice over) for the commercial break.

The last three episodes in which Vincent goes ga-ga are particularly bad too. However, Paracelsus (Tony Jay) almost saves the day. But even Jay's wonderful onscreen presence can't stop everything else looking foolish.

The only extras are introductions to a handful of episodes from Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. However, a word of warning, if you can't remember how the second season concludes it's probably not a good idea to watch the introduction to the last episode as Perlman reveals some major plot spoilers). I couldn't find the "extensive still gallery" that was promised on the press release, so whether that's on the final release is unclear.

So another collection that will be warmly welcomed by the hardcore fan base. Everyone else will quickly realise how sickly sweet this show is.


Darren Rea

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