I’m sure it’s not a surprise to my regular readers that I was excited to watch both of the fairy tale based TV shows premiering this fall, Grimm on NBC and Once Upon a Time on ABC.
Once Upon a Time has a soap opera feel to me. The evil queen from Snow White has cursed all the familiar fairy tale characters to a life in our world, in a town called Storybrooke no less, without happy endings or any memory of their previous live. Snow White’s daughter, Emma, arrives in town at the behest of the son she gave up for adoption. He is the one who tells her about the curse and informs her that she is the only one who can save them.
After two episodes, I have to say I enjoy it, but don’t love it. Maybe I just don’t know where it’s going and that’s makes me a little nervous. I am intrigued by the Rumpelstiltskin character. I think the show has potential to be a good drama and the fairy tale connection is very literal. The folks are recognizable, even if they for the most part don’t remember who they are. I believe you can watch episodes on-line here.
Grimm is entirely different. It’s more of a buddy cop show, but one of the cops happens to be a grimm, a descendant of the Brothers Grimm, who can see the monsters that live among us. The first episode started off along the vein of a lot of cop shows, with a dead body, but the authorities can’t determine if she was killed by a person or a human. And she was wearing a red sweatshirt. Pretty obvious who killed her. Actually it was a blutbad, a species of paranormal creature of which the Big Bad Wolf was just one example.
I tend to enjoy crime shows. Throw in a bit of fairy tale lore and I’m hooked. I can definitely see David and I watching this on a regular basis.
It’s interesting though, how the two series view the fairy tale world in entirely different ways. In Once Upon a Time, the Enchanted Forest is the ideal, our world is a horrible place that the characters need to escape from. Happy endings only happen in the other world, not in ours. In Grimm, the supernatural is dangerous, the stories are warnings about the dangers that are out there.
Another point of interest, since I do tend to focus on how men and women, girls and boys, are treated differently in their fairy tales, the stars in Once Upon a Time are mostly women. So the one that has the more traditional take on the stories, changes it and gives us women who are not only the villains, but also the heroines. Grimm has a male lead, but in the first episode the females, aside from an ailing aunt who could definitely hold her own with the monsters, were the victims or the wife/girlfriend left alone worried.
Have you watched either of the shows? What were your impressions?
On a side note, my husband David often listens to me going on about the fairy tales and reads my posts. He has issued a challenge to me to find a fairy tale with an actual good, useful father- not an absent father, not one who is subservient to an evil woman, and not one who is abusive or self-serving. I’m having trouble coming up with one. Anyone have any suggestions?
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.