Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Fairy Tales

The Brothers Grimm. Hans Christian Andersen. Hell, even Disney. Are you a fan of the stories these guys tell? If so, television has decided it's a good time to be you, as two fairytale-themed shows are hitting the Fall season this week. The first, Once Upon A Time, premiered Sunday night on ABC, and the second, Grimm, premieres this Friday night on NBC. Luckily for this blog though, I was able to see the Grimm premiere early.

Boy, saying that made me feel like an actual critic. Sure, NBC made the premiere available early though a Twitter contest on Friday or something so by Sunday, any schmendrick with an internet connection like me could watch it. It's also worth noting that these are the last two premieres that I planned to watch this season, so you won't have to put up with another post like this until, like, January. I'll pause to let you all enjoy reacting the way I'm sure you're reacting.

I'm sure this is how you're reacting... if you're even reading this at all!

I'll start with Grimm. And boy, does the name fit. Half the show takes place at night, shrouded in darkness, shadow, and mood music. The basic plot centers around a cop named Nick who was raised by his aunt after the death of his parents in an origin that in no way mirrors Spider-Man. He comes to find out that he is the last living descendant of the Brothers Grimm, who weren't really fairy-tale writers but monster hunters; the stories they wrote were actually about creatures they hunted that exist on our world. Because he's descended from them, Nick is able to see past the human masks these creatures wear to glimpse their true faces. The mythology behind the show is guaranteed to be deeper than that, but that's how the slow build started. The show is a cross between genre shows and procedurals; the first "case" centers around a little girl who went missing on her way to her grandfather's house from school... a girl who was wearing a red hoodie. Nick doesn't have any special powers, just a partner who doesn't know the truth and a reformed creature in disguise who helped him out. Yes, it does all sound a little lame, but there's a revelation at the end that at least kept me on the fence and willing to come back for another episode. Plus, it's by some of the producers of Buffy and Angel, so I have a little faith... pun intended.

Once Upon A Time, on the other hand? Boy, I'm all in.

 Totally unrelated; I just wanted to use this picture.

While Grimm is all dark, OUAT (yes, I'm abbreviating. Deal with it.) is light and fun and full of hope, despite dealing with some dark subject matter... just like an actual fairytale. It's a breath of fresh air in a television schedule that, for years really, has featured shows that are mostly dark and cynical. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy those shows for the most part, but this was nice. It reminded me of how, when I was younger, Disney would always have something on ABC on Sunday evenings, something the family could watch together. That's what this show felt like. The show takes place in two worlds/timeframes, which should come as no surprise since it's by two of the writers of Lost. The first world is the fairytale world, where Snow White and Prince Charming have married and live in a kingdom with characters like Jiminy Crickett, Pinocchio, Rumpelstiltskin, and more. The Evil Queen, sick of always losing and never getting her happy ending, sets a curse upon the fairytale world that brings them someplace where there are no happy endings... our world. Here, they have no memory of their past lives... except maybe the few that it's hinted do. Where does the light and hope come in, you ask? An adopted boy who finds his real mother and brings her to the town of Storybrooke where they all live because he believes she's the key to breaking the curse. I'm not doing the show justice, but it's definitely a good show worth watching. And for those of you worried it might go the way of Lost,

 Even I don't know why I was on that stupid island...

fear not; while there are some mysteries, the audience is in on the biggest one right from the start, and the real drive of the show is finding out how that mystery will be resolved, and how the characters will react when it is resolved.

One last thing to note for both shows is the lack of actual star power. With Grimm, I didn't recognize any of the cast except for the reformed creature I mentioned, and even him I didn't know by name but by face, one of those "Hey it's that guy!" guys you always see. And with UOAT, with the exception of Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin, same thing. With shows like these, I think that's important as it helps keep the fairytale aspect going, as opposed to having famous people who you'd instantly recognize breaking the spell.

To summarize, in this tale of two fairy tales, both of them are worth watching... for now.

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