When Heidi first mentioned the idea of Fairy Tale February, I was so excited. I’ve always loved fairy tales. When I was a little girl, I think I believed it was actually possible to grow up and be a fairy tale princess. Thankfully, I got over that delusion. But I have never gotten over my love of fairy tales.
So, three years ago, when it was announced that two new, fairy-tale-inspired televisions shows were coming out. I was totally sold. The shows were Grimm and Once Upon A Time. I don’t even think I’d watched the trailers for either show and I had already set series recordings.
For those of you who have never heard of either show, Grimm is a sort of fairy tale version of a cop show. It takes place in Portland, where, apparently, all sorts of fairy tale creatures live because they commit murders every week. Fortunately, homicide detective, Nick Burkhardt is a Grimm and he can see these creatures for what they really are.
Once Upon A Time has a completely different feel. In this show, it’s Disney fairy tales that have come to life. Under a curse from the Evil Queen, they all live in Maine, unaware of their true identities, until someone breaks the curse.
For a while I watched both shows faithfully, although initially I was more impressed by Grimm. It had an amazing pilot, weaving a dark and twisty, modern tale of Little Red Riding Hood—with just the right amount of humor. Once Upon A Time’s pilot was not so stellar. I wasn’t crazy about the main character, who came across as a stereotypical tough girl, afraid to love anyone. And the scenes set in the fairy tale world came across as cheesy—Snow White and Prince Charming were a little too dramatic for me.
But then slowly over time, my opinion of each show changed.
I started avoiding my recorded episodes of Grimm in favor of re-watching episodes of Once, I still thought Once was cheesy (and I still think it is, from time to time). Grimm remained far from cheesy, but I also felt as if it was a little too far removed from fairy tales as well.
And, to be honest, Grimm became too dark for me. I don’t mind dark things, but I found myself disturbed more often than entertained, and for me, as the series went on I felt as if it lost it’s connection to the original fairy tales. Grimm is full of all sorts of supernatural beings that are supposed be somehow connected with fairy tales, but instead of using the real names of these fairy tale character, like they do in Once Upon a Time, in Grimm they use names like, blutbad, Hexenbiest, & Fuchsbau—and only occasionally, do they say what these character would be in a fairy tale story.
Once upon a time, on the other hand, got deeper into fairy tales, putting unique twists on each story – Red Riding Hood is actually the wolf, Peter Pan is the villain, Captain Hook is the good guy (sort of), and the Evil Queen has a really good reason to hate Snow White.
In a lot of ways I felt Once began to surpass Grimm. And maybe I only love Once Upon A Time because I totally have a crush on Captain Hook, but I think the main reason I love it is because it has heart. Once Upon A Time captures the feel of a fairy tale. Fairy tales are dark, but they are also magical. Grimm has all the darkness, and it has magic as well, but it doesn’t feel magical. Not in the way I want to think of magic—pixie dust, and happy thoughts that take me to Neverland. And I’m okay with Neverland being dark when I get there, but I still want it to feel like Neverland, even if it’s different than the Neverland I grew up with.
So what about all of you? Do any of you watch Grimm or Once Upon A Time? And if you do, which do you like better?