I’ve always loved the storyline of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale — the cursed beast-prince angry and brooding in his dark castle, saved by the love of a kind and beautiful woman.
In 1987, Ron Koslow created a TV show based on this fairytale, but with a twist. The Beast, in this case, isn’t a witch-enchanted prince, but an extraordinary man named Vincent (played by Ron Perlman) with princely bearing who looks to be part lion. His tawny hair resembles a lion’s mane, and his features, a lion’s face. He is tall and incredibly strong and fierce, but with the heart of a poet.
Beauty is a woman named Catherine (Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame) who initially works in her father’s law firm, then becomes assistant district attorney in New York City. In a case of mistaken identity, she is brutally beaten by thugs and left for dead in Central Park. Vincent finds her, takes her to his underground home, and nurses her back to health. Through an empathetic connection, he senses her feelings and knows when she is in danger, rescuing her often, like a guardian angel.
The story takes place in Manhattan, both above and below ground, focusing on Catherine’s life as an ADA and Vincent’s life with his adopted family/community that lives in tunnels deep underground, hidden away from the real world. Catherine and Vincent’s sweet relationship grows throughout the series, strengthening into pure and true fairytale love.
One of the things I loved most about the show was the classical music and poetry they wove into each episode. This is where I first heard the beginning of William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…”
Vincent had the most wonderful voice that brought to life the poems he read aloud. My favorite was Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXIX. Absolutely exquisite. The episodes inspired me to delve into the music and literature referenced, which expanded my knowledge and appreciation of poetry and classical music in general.
I really enjoyed the first two seasons of the show. Linda Hamilton left the show early in the third season because she was pregnant, and the show never recovered and was cancelled.
An interesting bit of trivia: Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) was one of the producers of the show and wrote fourteen episodes.
To learn more about Beauty and the Beast, visit http://www.classicalliance.net/.
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.