Beauty and the Beast has received the Disney fairy tale treatment, both in animated and live-action form, but amid all the Oscar-winning songs, talking candlesticks, and Belle pride, you may have missed the television series from the '80s. On the surface, it was a daring interpretation of a classic story starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. But dig a little deeper, and it's a pretty weird take on the classic tale.
Sure, there was a guy decked out in makeup to look like a beast who had a close relationship with a beautiful woman, but that was about all the show offered to connect it to the original Beauty and the Beast (which was actually based on a real couple). It was more of a fantasy-fueled Law & Order than a fairy tale. Still, the show aired for three seasons before getting canceled in 1990. And TV didn't give up on the concept: a reboot of Beauty & the Beast, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, aired from 2012 to 2016.
Although the series was a cult classic and became one of the TV shows Perlman is most known for, Beauty and the Beast doesn't usually pop up on the list of the best primetime shows from the '80s. Looking back, the entire series was pretty horrifying - and no one sings.
Ron Perlman Got The Job Because Of His Ability To Wear Makeup
Ron Perlman didn't earn the role of Vincent on his acting chops alone. Legendary makeup artist Rick Baker, who has won seven Oscars for makeup in films, including An American Werewolf in London, Ed Wood, and The Wolfman, was instrumental in getting Perlman the gig.
Baker designed the look for the Beast and recommended Perlman for the role based on his work in 1981's Quest for Fire, in which the actor played a Neanderthal. Perlman was also noted for his work in 1986's The Name of the Rose, in which he played a hunchback monk. Baker knew the part of Vincent required the patience of someone who could not only sit in a makeup chair for hours each day, but also act while wearing that makeup.
The Series Had A 'Fantasy Meets Crime Procedural' Vibe
To sustain the series beyond beauty-meets-beast underground romance, the series needed something more, and Catherine's day job provided plenty of plot material. When we first meet Catherine, she's an attorney who works for her father at a large, successful law firm. After the incident that takes her into the World Below, she leaves the firm and joins the district attorney's office.
As a prosecutor and assistant district attorney, Catherine spends much of her time in the World Above seeking answers to her situation while also protecting the people of the World Below. The series played out through the seasons as a romance/crime drama. Catherine often finds herself in peril, but relies on Vincent to show up and save her, like a sort of guardian angel.
Vincent And Catherine Are Connected Telepathically
Vincent and Catherine don't just have standard romantic chemistry: they share a psychic link. Vincent can telepathically sense when Catherine is in jeopardy, leaving his lair to always show up at just the right time to maul anyone who threatens her.
The connection between the two isn't solely limited to Catherine sending signals to Vincent. The bond between them is even more powerful in the episode "A Distant Shore," when Vincent warns Catherine telepathically that an offense is imminent.
Linda Hamilton Left In Season 3, Leaving Beast Without A Beauty
When the second season wrapped with a cliffhanger that left fans reeling for more, the future of the show was somewhat in doubt. A vocal group of viewers loved it, but one person was ready to walk away: Linda Hamilton. She was pregnant when the second season wrapped and wanted to leave so she could spend time with her baby and work on other projects.
The writers had to find a way to write Catherine off the show. They resolved the previous cliffhanger by allowing Catherine to rescue Vincent, but she's then captured and slain by someone she's investigating. A show about Beauty and the Beast doesn't work as well when Beauty is no longer around. The loss of Catherine was a blow to the series and ultimately set it on a course toward cancellation.