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Series / Beauty and the Beast (1987)

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Once upon a time in New York...

"This is where the wealthy and the powerful rule. It is her world... a world apart from mine. 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."

"He comes from a secret place, far below the city streets, hiding his face from strangers, safe from hate and harm. He brought me there to save my life... and now, wherever I go, he is with me, in spirit. For we have a bond stronger than friendship or love. And although we cannot be together, we will never, ever be apart."
Vincent and Catherine

Beauty and the Beast is a 1980s CBS TV series produced by Republic Pictures, loosely inspired by the fairy tale of the same name but set in modern-day New York City. The series lasted from September, 1987 to August, 1990. A total of 56 episodes in three seasons.

The premise was simple. Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton), a lawyer, is abducted, beaten and left to die in Central Park. She is then rescued by Vincent (Ron Perlman), a leonine member of a secret community of outcasts living in tunnels under the city ("The World Below"). The series then focused partly on the attraction between the two characters, and partly on the cases Catherine encountered in her new career as an assistant district attorney, facing crime drama situations that affect both her world and his.

Many of the episodes were penned by none other than George R. R. Martin, who later became famous for his A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels.


A remake/reinterpretation of this series, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, premiered Fall 2012 on The CW. Its page can be found here. All tropes for the new series should be placed there.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Sometimes it's the sewers. Sometimes it's the storm drains, and sometimes it's an abandoned section of the subways. The implication is that all the systems link together through walled-up, forgotten areas. The inhabitants of "The World Below" have had years, possibly centuries, to dig the tunnels and install the chandeliers and spiral staircases.
  • Almost Kiss: In practically every episode Vincent and Catherine start to engage in a kiss, but at the last moment they always wince and just hug each other instead.
  • Artifact Title: Catherine dies in the first episode of the third and final season, making it all about Vincent, but "Beauty" remained in the title.
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  • Beast and Beauty: Obviously. But not uncreatively — although she's the beauty and he's the beast, a lot of the time it's him bringing out the best in her.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Inverted: Vincent is kind and sweet, and his appearance doesn't change, in the beginning Catherine was shallow and petty and Vincent's kindness gave her something more to live for.
  • Beneath the Earth: "The World Below", an elaborately gothic underground colony secretly constructed long ago and connected with the sewers and subways of New York.
  • Berserk Button: Woe unto anyone who tries to mess with Catherine once Vincent becomes aware of it; given the mind link between them, he'll come charging in to her rescue each time.
  • Big Bad: Paracelsus in Season 1 and Season 2, Gabriel in Season 3.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Vincent.
  • Blind and the Beast: Catherine has her eyes covered with bandages when she first meets Vincent, and has fallen in love with him by the time her eyesight has been restored.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: It's strongly implied that Vincent's passions would sufficiently overpower his will such that, combined with his great strength and claws, he could well seriously injure or kill anyone he has sex with.
    • Averted by the end of the series; Vincent & Catherine have sex and she has his child. She dies soon after giving birth, but not due to the birth itself, and it's never stated or even implied that sex with Vincent harmed her. To be fair, most of the previously mentioned implications were made by Vincent, who was never very good at believing the best in himself.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The show takes a very serious turn in Season 3 when Catherine dies.
  • Comet of Doom: A comet was blazing in the sky the night billionaire Elliot Burch was murdered by operatives of his rival, Gabriel. Father marks the occasion by quoting the line about comets from Julius Caesar.
  • Creator Cameo: George R.R. Martin plays a guy who runs from a couple subway punks in the opening scene of "Terrible Savior."
  • Death by Childbirth:
    • Vincent's mother dies (still leaving it unexplained as to how the hell Vincent came to be).
    • Devin's mother, which keeps Father from acknowledging Devin as his son until he becomes an adult.
    • Hell, even Catherine suffers this by the end, although it isn't the birth that kills her, but a morphine injection.
  • Evil Counterpart: Paracelsus is this to Father. They were both involved in creating the hidden society in the World Below. However, Paracelsus became obsessed with modeling a perfect - and morally bankrupt - community, which forced Father and the others to exile him. Also an Evil Former Friend.
  • First Time in the Sun: The moon, actually, was the first thing Vincent saw when he ventured above ground.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Vincent gets to wander around in the episode "Masquerades", and he and Catherine almost kiss at dawn, until they are spotted by a jogger who comments, "Halloween was last night, man!"
    • George R. R. Martin says that they hoped to do the same thing every season on a Halloween episode, but that didn't pan out.
  • Gentle Giant: Vincent is by nature very kind and sweet. Just don't get on his bad side.
  • Gold Fever: In the episode "Fever", the underground tunnel community discovers a buried treasure ship, and starts to violently fracture over the question of what should be done with it.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Vincent, after he loses Catherine.
  • Homage: Vincent's appearance resembles that of the Beast in Jean Cocteau's 1946 film version of the fairy tale.
  • I Am a Monster: Vincent
  • I Am Your Father: Paracelsus tries to do this with Vincent during their second confrontation, revealing that he had discovered Vincent as an abandoned baby and had to talk Father - afraid of letting Vincent grow up in the World Below - into adopting him. Subverted in that Vincent already knows of Paracelsus' evil ways and that Father ended up loving Vincent as a son after all.
    • Paracelsus still attempts to convert Vincent to his cause, during a subtle campaign of driving Vincent further enraged in order to turn him to Paracelsus' dark world-view. All it does is make Vincent angry enough to kill Paracelsus. The villain dies gasping "At last, you are my son."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eliot Burch, an ex-boyfriend of Catherine's who worked his way up to be a rich real estate developer. He occasionally clashes with The World Below with his development projects, and he occasionally has legal run-ins that draw Catherine's attention. He also still loves her in his own way and actually does her a favor or two hoping to stay in her good graces, basically becoming a unknowing rival to Vincent. When Catherine dies, Eliot tries to pursue the criminal conspiracy responsible for her death but Gabriel turns the tables to break Eliot's own financial empire, forcing Eliot to set a trap for Vincent. When they meet, Vincent reveals to Eliot that Catherine thought of him as a friend, which compels him to warn Vincent it's a trap before dying in the explosion meant for them both.
  • King of the Homeless: "Father" is a particularly benevolent one.
  • The Load: In far too many episodes, Catherine's only role is to get in trouble, thus forcing Vincent to risk all by rescuing her. But despite this....
  • Masquerade: The existence of the World Below is a secret.
  • Mindlink Mates: Vincent and Catherine could usually tell when the other was in trouble. When the mind-link broke, it almost drove Vincent crazy. The mind link carries over to their child.
  • Monster and the Maiden: The leonine creature Vincent aids female Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler in her cases while the two deal with their attraction to each other.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Despite his appearance (or perhaps because of it) Vincent is dead sexy.
  • Opening Narration: Paired voiceovers from Vincent and Catherine describing their love for each other. Until Catherine is killed, after which Vincent gives a solo voiceover.
  • Overlaid Societies: The tunnels beneath New York City are occupied by The Tunnel People, who have created a subterranean world of their own. They are aided by some allies who live Above and help provide supplies to the Tunnel society, but most New Yorkers have no idea they exist.
  • Rescue Romance: Vincent and Catherine first met when he brought her home after she was attacked and left to die in Central Park.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Vincent's origin is never definitively revealed and likely was never meant to be.
  • Romantic False Lead: Wealthy developer Elliot Burch is briefly this for Catherine.
  • Runaway Fiancée: One episode has Catherine and Vincent helping a young Chinese woman escape an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, the man she was to marry was the son of a high-ranking member of a Triad which knew all about the World Below.
  • Silent Treatment: Rule-breakers in the World Below can be sentenced to a month of this.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Catherine fell in love with Vincent while unable to see, and constantly stresses to him that he is a good man, not the monster he thinks himself to be.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The underlying premise of the series; Catherine can't live in Vincent's world without giving up her job and her life, and he can't live in hers at all.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Diana Bennett replaces Catherine Chandler in the final season after she is killed in the season opener. In the new dynamic, Vincent has no romantic bond at all with Diana, while her budding attraction to him is mostly just suggested by her having a recurrent dream about him.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: A somewhat grown-up version, with just the one not-conventionally-human hero.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Vincent, particularly when Catherine is in danger.
  • Urban Fantasy: A low-key but definite example.
  • Wainscot Society: The denizens of the "World Below" have their own society but also interact occasionally with surface dwellers.
    • It was loosely based on stories about a deep tunnel system underneath Manhattan meant for an early 19th Century version of a subway train that was never completed, which have become a home to the city's homeless.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In one episode, one of the tunnel dwellers unearths a cache of gold objects. They come to Vincent and Catherine's attention. When questioned, said tunnel dweller answers that he found them. He adds that when melted down, they make good wires.