I can remember when Beauty And The Beast first arrived on television. It was fall of 1987. I watched a couple episodes of this rather odd drama. Instantly I was drawn to the show’s world but was almost as quickly pushed away by the material. If I can be forgiven for saying so, I always considered this a “chick” show. That’s not intended as an insult at all. The truth is there likely isn’t nearly enough programming out there that is targeted for the female audience. This was without a doubt a series that was very much aimed at the young women viewers. They were rewarded with two very solid leads in Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. The show provided some very interesting sets and locations, most notably the underground world where Vincent and Father lived. The production values were high for the time. The makeup work on Perlman was incredible and full of detail that the actor used expertly. His ability to convey emotions was the key to one of television’s best performances. I also thought that the writing was clever and original. Still, I’m a guy, and the overt romantic arc to the story was too much of a turnoff, and I stopped watching. Now having the chance to see the show again in a complete season release I find my opinion hasn’t changed very much. I might appreciate what it was trying to do more now, but the fact remains that this is a romance story first and a crime drama second.
Catherine Chandler (
The show often pulled in the crime drama elements. There was often some bad guy who was more often than not exploiting someone in the city. Vincent served as her protector often enough, and her cases would have her cross paths with his world. The series used a lot of symbolism to make its points. It did tend to get quite preachy while attempting to expose many of urban life’s ills. What bogs the show down, at least for us guys, is the constant dancing around the possible romance between the leads. Vincent was often left brooding over their relationship, while Catherine didn’t seem to know what she wanted.
Still, the show was a milestone in television because of its sets and makeup designs. Both Perlman and Hamilton would make some huge films.
Each Beauty And The Beast episode is presented in its original television full frame format. I wasn’t at all happy with the quality of this presentation. There’s plenty of print artifact and excessive grain elements. Black levels are weak, which is unfortunate considering the dark world the show most often presented. Colors appear washed out. I got the impression of a 70’s series, not the late 80’s it really was.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track does what it needs to do, nothing less, nothing more. You get to hear the dialog. The music is at times distorted. Again, the presentation often sounds older than it actually is.
Some episodes sport intros with Perlman and Hamilton. Otherwise there are no extras in the season sets.
There is a Bonus Disc, but it is very disappointing. Here’s all you get:
Vincent’s Quest: This is an interactive trivia game that, through the use of clips, allows you to guide Vincent through his world. Very tedious.
Original Love Letters and Newly Reconstructed Love Letters: If you need any more evidence that this really was a show targeted at women, these lone features should be enough to convince you. They are merely 4 minute segments where Vincent is seen to be writing a letter to Catherine, often using the exact same footage. The letter is narrated while some are also displayed as text on the screen. The last 8 incorporate show clips as well. If you are a guy and like this feature, let me know.
Episodic Promos: You get very short television spots.
Fans of this show have good reason to be disappointed here. The sets were already available individually. The only thing you get new in the Complete Series are the love letters and the silly game. There is absolutely no reason to upgrade here. The box is pretty and all, but not worth spending money on product you already have. I honestly can’t see that many copies of this thing selling when you consider it was always a cult show to begin with. If you’re a fan, you should demand more from a complete offering. Why no behind the scenes stuff? The makeup alone would be a fascinating story that I have to believe you fans were hungry for. You got shortchanged, fans. Unfortunately the underground world of Vincent and Father remain as it always was…”a forgotten place”.