For some reason this television season there has been two competing shows both with a very similar premise, taking fairy tale characters and placing them in the real world. My wife was interested in both so I started watching them with her.
Once Upon a Time
Out of these two shows I found the premise of this one more enticing. This show takes many beloved fairy tale characters, such as Snow White, Prince Charming and Rumpelstiltskin, and brings them into our world. The only problem is that none of them know who they really are. The world of fable was cursed by the Evil Queen to live in a small town in Maine named Storybrooke without the memory of their past lives. They have been banished to a land where there are no happy endings. A young woman named Emma Swan, who is the long lost daughter of Snow White, has been brought into this town to help break the spell.
The premise sounds interesting enough, but these kind of plot lines feel like they might work better as a movie (or mini series) then a TV show. Either the spell is broken in season 1 and the show has to figure out a new overarching storyline or they string the audience along for a couple season with all too many filler episodes. There are two types of scenes within this show, flashbacks in the fairy tale land and modern day while under the spell. I watched this show for about 6 or 7 episodes and found that I really only enjoyed the flashbacks. There was a sense of danger for any new characters that they might introduce around the more commonly known ones and the stories were more enjoyable. Whereas I found the real world stuff too slow paced. I understand that the characters cannot solve the mystery quickly, but I feel like they are going nowhere. I’ve checked out of this show, but my wife is still watching and enjoying it.
Before I started watching this show I didn’t really know much about it except that it had something to do with the Brothers Grimm obviously. The synopsis for this show is that a Portland, Oregon homicide detective discovers that he is the descendent in a line of monster hunters known as “Grimms.” Each week he comes in contact with a new creature from the old fairy tale stories (i.e. the three bears, the big bad wolf or the pied piper).
The formulaic storylines make this show feel a lot like first season Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Episode starts, mysterious death, a bit of research later and we find out what kind of creature it is and how to dispatch of it. The new twists on old tales are kind of fun, but I find this show to be a bit lacking. There are barely any interesting regular characters that make you want more and no strong enough storyline that bridges the shows together to bring you back for the next episode. What made Buffy so enjoyable as the seasons went on was not the week to week low level demon or spell. It ended up being the drama between the major characters and some big bad evil they needed to take down each season. I’m not saying this would fix Grimm but I find myself a few episodes behind with no drive to catch up.
So which would I suggest?……neither. If you find yourself interested in this style of story may I propose the comic Fables. I realize that this may seem like I am coming out of left field here but stay with me. Instead of either show, what should have been done was an adaptation of this instead. The set up itself is much more interesting. It takes place mostly in New York City in modern day where they have created there only little community called “Fabletown.” The fairy tale characters that we know and love have been kicked out of their homeland by “The Adversary.” The characters know who they are and they are trying to blend into the world the best that they can.
The Fables that are not human looking either get glamor spells to fit in or live on a farm upstate. For example, the Big Bad Wolf has a glamor spell so that he looks human. He is the sheriff of Fabletown under the name Bigby Wolf, but he can turn into his old wolfy self when the occasion arises. Whereas, the Three Bears live on the farm with Goldilocks (who is dating Baby Bear). The first story arc from the trade that is shown above is a murder mystery (led by Bigby).
There’s drama, there’s action, there’s sex. It could be a Showtime show, but easily be edited for airing on ABC or the like. Until that happens I would suggest reading a few issues. It’s the comic that I currently cannot put down.