This week I’ve been working my way through five decades of tragic but unforgettable science fiction TV romances. I’m not sure if The Beauty and the Beast with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton exactly qualifies as science fiction per se, but it was certainly tragic and unforgettable. Written by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, The Beauty and the Beast introduced us to Katherine and Vincent, an unlikely couple from two very different worlds. Katherine was the daughter of a wealthy attorney and Vincent was a beast with the soul of an angel—an apparent animal-human hybrid living in a secret enclave in the tunnels beneath New York.
The shows were beautifully written and very romantic. Though not exactly blessed with leading man features, Ron Perlman’s Vincent won Katherine’s heart just the same. The guy knew how to use his Shakespeare. (You’ll have to paste the link to see this scene, but it’s worth it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5xqloxPHwA)
Now that’s just good stuff! After I saw that episode, I memorized that poem hoping it might come in handy. (I was a college student then.) Alas, the young lady I’d hoped it would come in handy with married someone else. Watching The Beauty and the Beast made me feel less foolish for clinging to hope in an unrequited love though. Hopeless love can be a beautiful and noble thing in stories even if it is pretty painful in real life.
The series ended tragically with Katherine’s death, and that always ticked me off. In the face of some of my own disappointments, I at least wanted a happy ending in my fairy tales. If I could have written the ending, I think I would have come up with something like this:
Enemies discover Vincent’s hidden refuge beneath New York and there is a terrible battle. Katherine and her allies do their best to help Vincent protect his people, but their secret community is scattered. Vincent disappears, and Katherine thinks he died in the battle and mourns him. A year or so later, a man appears at her door. He isn’t a “beautiful” man, physically speaking, but he isn’t strikingly unusual either. When he speaks, Katherine realizes that it’s Vincent. During in the battle for the underground refuge, his face was injured and had to be reconstructed. Rather than restoring his lion-man appearance, the surgeon gave him human features. Vincent asks Katherine to join him and his people in their new refuge, and they leave together. The End. That’s how I would have done it, but nobody asked me.
Thank you, George R.R. Martin, Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton, Roy Dotrice, Jay Acavone, and company, for bringing those characters to life.