When “Grimm” and “Once Upon A Time”, two new fairytale television series were announced for the fall schedule there was much attended buzz from the entertainment media. Those who were able to view an early screening of each show’s pilot episodes gave each a favorable review and held out high expectations for them believing fans would rally around them, while giving “Grimm” a slight edge over “Once Upon A Time.” In our own Slice of SciFi poll done back in October fans also gave “Grimm” the highest votes for becoming a hit at 52% while “Once” got a respectable 38% of the vote.
Now that the shows have aired their pilots and have two other episodes in the can where are they in current standings? It would seem we critics and fans may have gotten it wrong in the early voting.
NBC’s “Grimm” takes the standard Grimm tales into the 21st Century by introducing the viewers to Nick Burchkardt (David Giuntoli), the heir apparent to the famed Grimm family job of being a protector of humanity from all those beings that can transform themselves into big bad wolves, bears, demons, and so on. Only Burchkardt can detect them, seeing their true form and fortunately is a cop with a gun which, along with his partner, is able to tame them, cuff’em, or bring them down if need be. After three episodes the show seems to already be falling into that formulaic monster-of-the-week scenario, which “Sanctuary” has proven is doable, but could begin to wear a little then if the writing, plot predictability and acting doesn’t pick up soon.
ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” is proving to be a different kind of animal rarely seen on television, a weekly non-linear storyline that looks like it will have a beginning, middle and end. The story takes place in two worlds simultaneously thanks to flashbacks, FairyTale Land and the 21st Century real world of Storybrooke, Maine. The central characters in FairyTale Land are Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) and Rumplestiltskin, however, in Storybrooke the theme shifts to Snow’s daughter Emma and her son Henry, as well as the Mayor & the town’s rich benefactor. In each case the same actors portray their respective roles.
So far each week the show plots have been ingeniously written, beautifully portrayed by main and supporting cast alike. There is a real mystical and fairytale feel to both worlds, in fact, at times the supposed real world of Storybrooke seems more mythical then the fairytale location. The premise of the show is also quite intriguing. Snow & Charming marry, have a daughter named Emma but the Evil Queen feels slighted by Snow, who admits to Charming that she has done something bad to ruin the Queen’s life (hopefully we will find out later what that is all about). The Queen casts a spell against all the inhabitants of FairyTale Land but before it can take place Charming is able to hide their newborn daughter in a magical pantry that transports her to our reality. She is raised by foster parents, grows up has a son named Henry that she leaves for adoption. The spell of the Evil Queen also transports all the inhabitants to our reality in a present day town called Storybrooke, Maine. None of them remember their previous lives in the fairytale world, except for Henry, who has been adopted by the town’s Mayor, the Evil Queen. Through this special book given to him by his teacher (Snow), he is able to draw his real mother Emma to the town to begin the journey of breaking the terrible curse. When Emma arrives the town-square clock moves its minute hand for the first time in anyone’s memory signaling to young Henry that it has begun.
“Once Upon A Time” is aided greatly by a stellar and seasoned cast (something lacking with “Grimm”). Headlining the great ensemble cast is Jennifer Morrison (“House,” “Star Trek”) as Emma Swan and Robert Carlyle (“Stargate Universe,” “28 Weeks Later,” “Trainspotting”) portrays Rumplestiltskin. The good news for this show is after only three episodes ABC has given it a thumbs up for a full season pickup of 22 episodes.
My rating for each show stands at:
“GRIMM” — 3 Stars out of 5
“ONCE UPON A TIME” — 4 Stars out of 5
[[featured image courtesy of Brain Stomping.com]]