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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Beauty and the Beast - The Second Season'
(Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (1988) 2007 / Paramount Home Entertainment)

Overview: The Beauty and the Beast TV show was a fantasy series about a man-beast (Vincent) and his love for a beautiful assistant district attorney (Catherine Chandler). Vincent lived in an underground world beneath New York City where his gruesome looks were less important to his peers than were his caring and benevolent personality. Together, Vincent and Catherine had many adventures both above and below ground level and their love for each other continued to grow.

DVD Verdict: 'Beauty & The Beast's second season had a rough start, owing to the writer's guild strike in the fall of 1988. But out of adversity often come great things, and greatness is in abundance during this beloved series' sophomore year.<> I don't want to give away too many plot points, for those who haven't seen (or maybe have forgotten) the events of the series. But to be fair to those who'd rather be surprised....MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. It's safe to say that the love between Catherine and Vincent grows stronger, even as they brave seemingly insurmountable obstacles to their relationship. Returning guest stars from season one include Linda Hamilton's then-husband Bruce Abbott as Devin; Edward Albert as the ambitious yet tragic Elliot Burch; Terrylene as the deaf-mute Laura; and the wonderful Tony Jay as Vincent's chief nemesis, Paracelsus. And the many returning Tunnel characters get a chance to shine in the impressive "Dead of Winter," and in "Labyrinths," in which we learn the reasons many of them now reside beneath the streets of New York City.

I will begrudgingly acknowledge there were a couple of sub-standard episodes. These include the somewhat Vincent-less "Trial," in which Catherine prosecutes a man accused of killing his son; and the excessively violent "The Hollow Men." But these are but two blemishes in an otherwise excellent season of television.

On the plus side, the aforementioned "Dead of Winter" is only one of three episodes that with a Christmas theme. "Remember Love" is the B & B version of "It's a Wonderful Life"; "God Bless the Child" offers a message of hope, even as an unforeseen obstacle threatens Vincent & Catherine's relastionship. And t.v. just doesn't get any better than the season closing trilogy, which elevate this gentle romantic fantasy to near-operatic proportions. And in the best tradition of cliffhanging season-enders, leave you dying to know what comes next.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Beauty & The Beast. I hope everyone who has enjoyed this unique show will continue to support its release on DVD. We still have one more season - albeit a shortened and somewhat controvesial one - to go! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) and comes with the only Special Feature of Video Introductions on select episodes by Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman.