US tv series (1987-1990). A Witt-Tomas Production for CBS. Created Ron Koslow. Producers Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, Koslow. Writers included George R R Martin, Koslow, Shelly Moore, Linda Campanelli. Directors included Richard Franklin, Gus Trikonis, Ron Perlman. Three seasons, totalling 56 50-minute episodes. Colour.
An urban fairytale, inspired in its make-up design if not in its commitment to magic by Jean Cocteau's film La Belle et la Bête (1946), Beauty and the Beast centres on the relationship between Catherine (Linda Hamilton), a chic Manhattan district attorney, and Vincent (Ron Perlman), a poeticizing, romantic, Mutant lion-man who lives with his adopted father (Roy Dotrice) in a world of derelicts in tunnels deep beneath New York. He has a telepathic link with his ladylove. Despite the involvement of distinguished sf writer George R R Martin as story editor, the show was a combination of soap opera and crime thriller rather than a real sf/fantasy offering, though the idea of a fantastic city beneath the real one is interesting. The unorthodox team normally righted wrongs that could as easily have served as springboards for episodes of any other action adventure, while for two seasons Catherine and Vincent merely pussy-footed around their relationship. The show's fragile charm being almost exhausted, the format underwent severe changes in its final season, first with the consummation of the central relationship, then with the casual killing-off of the heroine and several other supporting cast members, motivating Vincent's character change from mutant Care Bear to raging vigilante. Catherine was replaced briefly by Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson), a police officer, but the show never regained the – largely female – fan following its earlier, more wistful episodes had picked up. A novelization, largely of the first episode, is Beauty and the Beast (1989) by Barbara Hambly. [KN/PN]
see also: Superheroes.
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