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PHOTOGRAPHY

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The First Season

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 1066 minutes (22 episodes on 6 discs), no extras

STUDIO: Paramount/ CBS DVD/ CBS Paramount Network Television

RELEASE DATE: 2-13-2006

DISC 1- ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK/ TERRIBLE SAVIOR/ SEIGE/ NO WAY DOWN

DISC 2- MASQUES/ THE BEAST WITHIN/ NOR IRON BARS A CAGE/ SONG OF ORPHEUS

DISC 3- DARK SPIRIT/ A CHILDREN'S STORY/ AN IMPOSSIBLE SILENCE/ SHADES OF GRAY

DISC 4- CHINA MOON/ THE ALCHEMIST/ TEMPTATION/ PROMISES OF SOMEDAY

DISC 5- DOWN TO A SUNLESS SEA/ FEVER/ EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING

DISC 6- TO REIGN IN HELL/ OZYMANDIAS/ A HAPPY LIFE

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was a melodramatic drama that found fans on Friday nights when they were drawn to the story fo a beautiful assistant DA Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton in-between Terminator movies) to the man beast from Below, Vincent (Ron Pearlman in make-up 15 years before HELLBOY), after she is saved by Vincent. They would become instant soul mates as their love grows for each other. Vincent would help Catherine bust criminals while sometimes Vincent would ask Catherine to investigate some bad guy in the World Above. However, the show really shined for me when it focused on the lives of the people who live in Below like a deaf girl who must go above because she doesn't want the wrong man convicted for murder (AN IMPOSSIBLE SILENCE), Father (Vincent's adoptive father) goes above and gets in trouble while his one true love wants to see him again (SONG OF ORPHEUS), and Catherine helps the people Below save Father and Vincent from an underground maze (SHADES OF GRAY). That is only the first half of the season. I just loved those episodes more than just the crime show format that many episodes were focused on while having moments for Catherine and Vincent. Vincent does get to go above among everyone on Halloween (MASQUES) only to save an Irish novelist from the IRA. Guest stars include Delroy Lindo, Jeffrey Combs, Armin Shimmerman (years before he would play Quark on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE), Avery Brooks (another DS9 actor), and Ray Wise (before he would play Laura Palmer's father on TWIN PEAKS). Writers for the series included Howard Gordon, George R.R. Martin, and David Peckipah. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was not short on talent.

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)

AUDIO: English 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital

Subtitles: Close Captioning option only

I wish they remastered and cleaned up the prints used for this release because some episodes like the first one exhibit scratches and dirt while many have moments of heavy video noise. It is very disappointing the series gets such a sad treatment like this. Please clean up and remaster the episodes for seasons 2 and 3, Paramount. The transfers are even worse than the ones for the FOREVER KNIGHT DVD sets put out by SPHE.

EXTRAS: None. Hopefully they can get Ron Pearlman and the writers to do audio commentaries for future releases or even get a featurette that looks back at the series.

FINAL ANALYSIS: It is great to see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST out on DVD finally, but I hope Paramount presents the episodes in better quality next time.

this review is (c)2-23-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com