16 November 2011

Once Upon a Time ABC aired a fantasy show....

And now we come to the second fairy tale based show that has been offered up for our viewing pleasure, Once Upon a Time.  The plot behind this offering is this: Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is a bounty hunter in Boston.  Late one night a 10 year old boy, Henry, (Jared S. Gilmore) comes calling and says 'Hi Mom!  I'm the son you gave up for adoption"*  Clearly Emma is a bit freaked and offers to take him home to Storybrooke, Maine.  Turns out, Henry has been reading a book of fairy tales, which reads more like a history of the fairy tale word.

Track change!

In the fairy tale world, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin)  is getting married to Prince James Charming (Josh Dallas).  As one would expect, the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) is less than pleased with this.  So, the Evil Queen makes a threat about some great and powerful curse, then disappears.

Snow White is understandably nervous about said curse, so who do we go visit?  Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), of course because he knows all.

I inturrupt this review of Once Upon a Time to get on my Stargate soap box.  I'll make it quick.  The only good that came out of the cancellation of Stargate: Universe is that it freed Robery Carlyle to play Rumplestiltskin.  The man channels Gollum and chews scenery.  Awesome choice for the role.  And, done.

Rumplestiltskin explains that the curse will send them all to a bad place (our world).  Only way to stop it is to place the child of Snow White (Emma, BTW) in a magic wardrobe so she can come back and save the land of fairy tales.

Each fairy tale character now has a 'real world' counterpart. In that the mayor of Storybrooke is really the Evil Queen!  Oh, and also Henry's adoptive mother.  Awkward and tension filled meetings between Emma and the mayor ensue.

So, in short I really like this.  I might even say I like it a touch better than Grimm.  I was a bit worried at first.  ABC?  Sunday nights?  My fears were un-warranted.  The tone is not as light as one would expect, nor is it as dark as it could be.  The graphics at times were a little wanting, but overall not bad for a TV show.  The two creators of the show spent time as writers on LOST, so the writing is quite strong.  I've cranked through the first three or so episodes so far with my wife (who I think likes it more than I) and we are both looking forward to the continuation of this show.  If you like fairy tales with a twist, this show is for you.

*I may have edited that.

06 November 2011

You'll never guess what I'm doing!

Well, ok some of you might guess if you've noticed anything on Facebook and/or Twitter.  But, I have started studying Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

Muay Thai is kickboxing.  So I'm learning kicks, punches, elbows and knee strikes.  Its a heck of a lot of  fun.  Krav Maga is the Israeli self defense system.  So I learn things like how to break out of choke holds, knife attacks and the like.

So far so good.  Its a great workout.  And hey, if I stick with it I could get a black belt.

Here is the site for the school I am learning at.

ABD - Norwich, CT

Grimm: Great new show or fairy tale legend?

So, this television season has us looking at two similarly themed shows.  Grimm and Once Upon a Time.  Both dealing with the tales of the Brothers Grimm, the two seem have to have very different approaches.  However, since this humble writer has yet to see Once Upon a Time, this will cover my first impressions of Grimm, based solely on one episode.

Only one episode you ask?  How can one base a show on only one episode?  Well, for starters, it has the recommendation of my wife.  When one considers that this fare is not normally in her viewing repertoire, that is saying something.

So, to the premise.  Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntilo) learns that he is next in line of a long line of fairy tale monster killers.  Which means exactly what you might think it means.  This guy's family has been slaying things such as big bad wolves and the like for centuries.  Side note, they are also decedents of the Brothers Grimm.  Second side note: the Grimms are hunted by (you guessed it) Grimm Reapers.  Witty, I know.

And then one day, Nick's aunt shows up with a trailer load of happy fun time medieval weapons.  Turns out she knows her time is coming to an end and she's arrived to rock Nick's world by informing him that he is to pick up the mantle of the Grimms.  Oh, and in standard storytelling patterns Nick can't tell any one what he is, including his fiance and partner on the Portland Police department.

To the plot of the first episode!  A college student is jogging in her read hoodie sweatshirt, rocking to some 'Sweet Dreams' by the Eurythmics, when BAM she's pulled off the path and disappears.  Nick and his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) are assigned to the case.  In studying his aunt's materials, Nick figures that the girl was attacked by the Big Bad Wolf.  (Your first clue was the red hoodie the college student was wearing).  We meet up with Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) a reformed Big Bad Wolf.  Despite a bit of... animosity between Nick and Monroe, they are able to find the Big Bad Wolf responsible for the murder of the college student and capture of a young girl.  And then, the episode ends with Marilyn Manson's version of 'Sweet Dreams' playing in the background.  Oh, and there are some hints of larger conspiracies and all that, but I'll need that to play out a bit more before I can pass sufficient judgement.

I really like this show.  Yes, its only been one episode that I've watched, but its got a good mix of dark and slightly silly to maintain itself.  I hope that this show carries on a long time.  And given that it does not air on FOX, it should be able to do that.