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Beauty and the Beastís controversial final year plays like a one-arc epilogue. The impression comes from a change in direction and a smaller slate of episodes (12 instead of 22). While the second ended with the suggestion that Catherine (Linda Hamilton) had met her maker, two-part premiere "Though Lovers Be Lost" confirms that she's healthy--and pregnant--but Vincent (Ron Perlman) can no longer sense when she's in danger. Then Catherine takes on a case that jeopardizes her life, and Vincent arrives too late to save the day. Fans felt betrayed by the development, since the two were presented as soul mates rather than tragic lovers (Hamilton left the show because she and husband James Cameron were expecting a baby). With Paracelsus vanquished the previous year, Gabriel (A History of Violence's Steven McHattie) steps in as resident bad guy. Before he orders Catherine killed, Gabriel absconds with her son. Thereafter, the opening changes to reflect a focus on Vincent. While he teams up with Catherine's former flame, Elliot Burch (Edward Albert), to catch her killer, district attorney Joe Campbell (Jay Acovone) and detective Diana Bennett (new cast member Jo Anderson, portraying a harder-edged character) work towards the same goal. Their obstacles include Gabriel's henchman Snow (Millennium's Lance Henriksen as an icy blond) and two drug kingpins (played by Ugly Betty's Tony Plana and Medium's Miguel Sandoval). Despite its tarnished reputation--and higher body count--Beauty and the Beast's third season averts disaster for the most part. If Vincent and Diana share a lower-wattage chemistry, they still work well together, and the rest of the cast offers good value, particularly Perlman and Roy Dotrice, who would re-team in 2008 for another adventure about a misunderstood man-beast, Guillermo Del Toro's Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

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PA131994 Beauty and the Beast 3rd Season DVD (1989/Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman) $35.98 $31.99