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DVD Review: Beauty And The Beast – The Final Season

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Beauty and the Beast was one of those shows that never did that well in the ratings but had a loyal following. When the show premiered in 1987, Catherine (Linda Hamilton) was a wealthy assistant district attorney looking for meaning in her life. Vincent (Ron Perlman) was a man-beast forced to live his life under the tunnels of the city. When the two first met, they knew almost instantaneously they had a bond between them that would never break.

During Beauty and the Beast's first two seasons, the show began with Vincent saying in part: "Her name is Catherine. From the moment I saw her, she captured my heart with her beauty, her warmth, and her courage. I knew then, as I know now, she would change my life forever." As the final season began, Beauty and the Beast producers were faced with a difficult situation when Linda Hamilton decided to leave the series.

In the two-part season opener, "Though Lovers Be Lost," a pregnant Catherine is kidnapped by a powerful crime syndicate led by the evil Gabriel (Stephen McHattie). Having lost his ability to sense when Catherine is in danger, Vincent is powerless to help. Vincent, Joe, and Elliot Burch all continue to search for Catherine as her pregnancy progresses. Vincent starts sensing the existence of the baby, which brings him to the skyscraper where Catherine is being held. Catherine has her baby, but is killed on orders from Gabriel but Vincent arrives just in time to say goodbye and see his child whisked away on a helicopter. After briefly taking Catherine's body back to her apartment, Vincent eventually returns below the city to grieve.

Big changes were evident in the opening of "Walk Slowly." Vincent now says in part: "Her compassion opened my heart to a world where goodness and truth were stronger than hate or fear. Then, one day, she was taken from me by the forces of evil she battled so bravely. And now, alone with her memory, yet armed with her courage, I have sworn to fight those who would kill or harm or destroy, in the hope that one day I will find what all men seek to find: my destiny." By the time the season's fourth episode, "Nevermore" aired the poetry and romance that had been the trademark of Beauty and the Beast had been stripped away. Vincent was now a grief-stricken man-beast hell bent on ripping apart bad guys and doing a lot of brooding.

With the exception of the two-part season opener, much of Beauty and the Beast's 13 episodes during the series' final season dealt with Vincent's desperate search for his son. Vincent receives help from Catherine's former lover, Elliot Burch (Edward Albert), Deputy D.A. Joe Maxwell (Jay Acavone), and special investigator Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson).Together the crew tracks down Vincent's son but not before Vincent is mentally tortured by Gabriel.

Gabriel is the best thing about Beauty and the Beast: The Final Season. McHattie's sadistic portrayal of his character is amazing to watch. He is so over the top, you can't help but be intrigued every time he speaks: "When I was seven years old, my father sold me. Children have an immense capacity for hatred – immense. I used to lie awake at night and taste it in my mouth. It kept me warm. When I was 15, I came back home and strangled my father while he slept. I cherish that day." That is some seriously creepy stuff.

Even though producers hinted at a possible romance between Vincent and Diana Bennett, Beauty and the Beast was destined to fail as soon as Linda Hamilton left the show. Because the series was so totally built around the love between these two characters from such diverse worlds, taking one away created a completely different show. Fans of Beauty and the Beast will want to pick up the third season to round out their collections.

The DVD of Beauty and The Beast: The Final Season is presented in the full screen format. The image is okay but not great. There is some graininess in places and occasional ghosting. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital English 2.0 stereo. There are no special features.

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