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The CBS series Beauty and the Beast is a story about the relationship between a New York City lawyer named Catherine Chandler and Vincent, an extraordinary individual who lives in the Tunnels below the city and just happens to have the physique of a "beast."

But it is more than that. It is about seeing the world with new eyes. It is about surmounting hardships and overcoming pain. It is about the joys and turmoils of human life, about the depths of humanity's magnificence and evils.

At the beginning of the series, Catherine, who is content in her life as a well-to-do lawyer, recieves a reality check when she is viciously attacked and left to die in Central Park, where Vincent happens to be prowling that night. He rescues her, taking her below to the Tunnels, to an underground haven where all sorts of outcasts from the World Above have formed a caring community. She recovers, but her life is forever changed--both by her new awareness of the world's brutality and her new friend, Vincent. "Although we cannot be together, we will never eve be apart," she says in the opening credits. Deeply affected by her experience, she takes up a job with the District Attorney's office, resolved to help others who suffer.

Vincent, who feels restricted by his form, must deal with the growing bond he shares with Catherine as well as his nature; while he is a gentle being, if he is provoked by danger to himself or to those he cares about, his dark side gets the better of him, and his beast-like aspect lashes out. He is tormented by this darker side of his character and forever struggling with it, as well as with the darkness of humanity which has hurt so many of his friends and family.

Vincent does not know why he is as he is; when he was a baby, he was discovered abandoned outside St. Vincent's Hospital and brought to the Tunnels, where the leader, called Father by the residents, adopted him. In the Tunnels, Vincent as well as others who would suffer torment in the World Above, from abused children to the homeless, have formed a secure, compassionate community. They not only deal with the practicalities of maintaining their community and protecting it from harm but allow it to thrive, celebrating life, delving to the depths of art and literature and music.

From chaotic events around them to Father's inhibitions about their relationship, Vincent and Catherine struggle against their limitations, savoring their visits in the park, in the Tunnels, on Catherine's balcony. They listen to classical concerts, read poetry, fight corruption, and ponder about life and love.

How I got into it...

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