I remember this from my childhood. I've been rewatching these, after I discovered the "new" B&B. This one, however cheesy this might be to some, is an endearing story. Vincent is kind and compassionate-- willing to help anyone even though he's a "beast". You can feel the bond between Vincent and Catherine is real. His little world is endearing. They go through their challenges together. Ron Pearlman makes you totally believe he is a "beast", with his heart in turmoil because he loves Catherine so deeply.
If you look at the "new" season, you would notice that Vincent is very selfish, not to mention that the story of that one is predictable. In fact, that one doesn't "feel" like a beast, but rather an unplanned experiment. In fact, he's saying he is looking for a cure, not to mention that this particular Vincent has been sexier, making him "kinda" look like a beast. It seems as if he's wearing a stupid masquerade mask instead of a full on beast. Wanted to save time, guys? I know it took many hours for them to make Ron into a beast, but COME ON. It's just so STUPID. It's become teenesque, and that's why it lasted so long.
I believe if Linda hadn't left the show(which is truly commendable. She wanted to take care of her child. Not that many celebrities would) and the network wasn't so money hungry for more viewers(which they had a loyal following of women to begin with), this show would have lasted longer. There isn't TV like this anymore. But, hey, sex sells and that's why there are so many shows that are similar and often don't last long, Mind you, there are a few, but still.