Guest Debra Mullins Discusses Fairy Tale TV

Hi Everyone! As you can see I’m painfully behind. It’s… well I don’t want to talk about it. But today we have the lovely and kind Debra Mullins visiting with us!

Grimm vs. Once Upon A Time: Which Is Your Favorite?

When Limecello and I discussed what my post should be about today, one of the subjects she threw out there was TV. Now, I am a storyteller. I am obsessed with stories. Every pastime I have involves stories: writing, reading, TV, movies. Even my new hobby of tracing my family tree keeps me interested because of the stories of the people I am discovering. And with the neat new shows that have cropped up this season, I thought I would bring an ongoing discussion to the internet that I have with my husband every week: Grimm or Once Upon A Time, which one do you like better?

For those who might be unfamiliar with either of these shows (get thee to NBC or ABC pronto!), they have some things in common:

– Both are based on fairy tales
– Both have folks from the Whedonverse involved (meaning Joss Whedon).

When I first heard about both these shows, it was Grimm that caught my interest. First of all, David Greenwalt was one of the producers. You might have seen some of his work—specifically on a couple of shows called Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

The premise sounded cool: a homicide detective who finds out he’s descended from people called Grimms who can see the supernatural beings around us for what they are and hunt them down if needed. These supernatural beings, it turns out, are the basis for a lot of fairy tales told by the Grimm brothers (whose name apparently wasn’t Grimm—a Grimm was what they were, not who.) The show looked a little dark, and that was fine with me. You can catch it on NBC, currently on Fridays.

As far as Once Upon A Time, I had seen ads for it here and there, and I had pretty much dismissed it. A TV show about fairy tales? Another one? Was there something in the water in Hollywood? Weren’t there any original ideas anymore? I wasn’t even going to watch it. Then two words caught my interest and had me setting my DVR: JANE ESPENSON.

Jane Espenson was one of the writers of Buffy. And Angel. And Firefly. (She wrote for lots of other shows, too, but these are my favorites, Whedon groupie that I am). If she was involved, the show couldn’t be the piece of fluff I’d thought it was going to be. So I sat down to watch and was completely hooked from the word go.

The premise of Once Upon A Time is interesting: the wicked queen from Snow White has decided she wants her happily ever after by making everyone else miserable. She does this by making terrible sacrifices and, using a curse given to her by the very shady Rumpelstiltskin, somehow transports all the fairy tale characters to a small down in Maine called Storybrooke, where they all live with no memory of who they used to be, and where time is stopped.

Now you know that can’t be all, right? Of course not. Before the curse was cast, Snow White had just given birth to a daughter who was prophesied to save them all from the curse after her twenty-eighth birthday. The daughter’s name is Emma, and in a heroic move, Emma’s father Prince Charming, while fighting off the evil queen’s guards, managed to shove his infant daughter through the magic door into our world before the curse hit. So Emma grew up here in our world, a foundling, bouncing through foster homes until she grew up to be a bounty hunter.

Yes, folks, Emma literally kicks butt for a living.

But it doesn’t stop there. Seems Emma had a baby when she was eighteen, a son she gave up for adoption. And that son, Henry, turns up on her doorstep on the eve of her twenty-eighth birthday, a ten year old toting a book of fairy tales that he insists tells the truth about all the citizens of Storybrooke. Of course Emma is concerned that the child she gave up is mentally disturbed and takes him home to Storybrooke and his adoptive mother—the evil queen, now named Regina and the mayor of Storybrooke. Uncomfortable with the dysfunctional relationship Henry has with his adoptive mother, Emma decides to stick around Storybrooke until she’s sure Henry is okay. And that’s when the curse starts to unravel. Once Upon A Time is on ABC, currently on Sundays.

Now for my question to you. I really thought Grimm was going to grab me, but so far all our hero seems to be able to do is see the monsters. He has no other super powers that I can see (he’s no Slayer or vampire with a soul). The show has been picked up for a full season, and I continue to watch, hoping Nick will show us something new about being a Grimm. I’m willing to give it a chance, and David Giuntoli, who plays Detective Nick Burkhardt, is pretty nice to look at. Plus, his sidekick on the show is a reformed Big Bad Wolf. Can’t beat that.

But then you have Once Upon A Time, where secrets abound, and questions are answered and new ones asked in every episode. The show is addicting, and I have fun trying to guess who various characters are as they are introduced (Dr. Archie Hopper, the psychologist (aka Jiminy Cricket) or Ruby, the waitress at Granny’s Diner who really loves red and wolves (aka Red Riding Hood). Once Upon A Time has also been picked up for a full season with new episodes starting January 8, 2012.

My husband and I are more drawn to Once Upon A Time, but my college age son and his girlfriend never miss an episode of Grimm. Which one do you like better and why?

Ms. Mullins is also giving away a copy of her newest digital release – a retro release from Samhain Once a Mistress! So tell us – what do you think of Once Upon A Time or Grimm? Or if you haven’t seen either, what do you think about fairy tale stories or shows?

Her love will capture the ultimate treasure—his heart.
Diana Covington is a dutiful daughter with a boring future all mapped out for her. A shipping fortune and lush Jamaican estate that will someday be hers, a husband of her father’s choice. Romance and Caribbean adventure exist only in her dreams, in which the Black Spaniard, El Moreno, plays a starring role.

Until she is kidnapped by the evil pirate Marcus, and her girlish fantasies quickly turn to nightmares.

Alex Rawnsley’s dark Spanish looks makes him the perfect choice to take on the identity of El Moreno. His mission is to bring Marcus to justice, but his heart thirsts for blood. Vengeance for his brother’s murder is within his grasp when Diana’s kidnapping throws a hitch in his strategy.

Snatching her from Marcus’s clutches is easy enough, but what to do with her now? He cannot return her home lest she be taken again. He has no choice but to keep the distracting, innocent beauty aboard his ship. In his cabin. In his bed. The temptation to
make her his own grows stronger by the hour…but opening his heart to love may forever close the door on his quest for revenge.

0 thoughts on “Guest Debra Mullins Discusses Fairy Tale TV

  1. Cathy P

    Hi Debra and Lime! I haven’t seen either Grimm or Once Upon A Time, but Once Upn A Time sounds interesting. As far as fairy tales go, don’t we all love them? Isn’t that what a HEA book is? My favorite fairy tale besiides Cinderella was Princess and the Pea when I was a child. I always dreamed I was a princess. Of course, I got my HEA with my fairy tale prince and we have been together for the last 40 years now. The only difference between fairy tales and real life is that you have to work for your HEA.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Mary Kirkland

    I really, really tried watching both and even DVR’d Once Upon A Time so I could watch it later. I watched several episodes of both when they first came on and Once Upon A Time just didn’t grab me the way Grimm did. I founf Once Upon a Time to be boring and just not acted well. I love Grimm though and have been watching it every week.

  3. Jeanne Miro

    I just realized how lacking I am in the current line-up in TV programs and realized it’s because I’ve been to darn busy reading!

    I guess I’d rather read the original fairy tales than watch people on TV acting in not very interesting plots. I find the “real” fairy tales on TV are programs like Storage Wars where someone can buy something for $100.00 and make a lot of money!

    For my money I’ll stick to reading my fairy tale books from the 50’s (the same ones I read to my grandchildren now (which according to the ban book list isn’t an appropriate thing to do) or read a romance book or 3.

  4. epiclibrarian

    I am completely loving Once Upon A Time. I am never one for fantasy, but the secrets, strong acting, and even stronger writing on this show has me tuning in every single week. Also, the scenery (fake or not) is beautiful. I want to live in a castle like Cinderella’s. As I am catching the reruns, I am seeing things that I originally missed. I am anxiously awaiting January 8th! I need to know the outcome of the last two minutes of the mid season cliff hanger! Also, there are a lot of really good looking people on that show. The prince and the huntsman (who I would have sworn was the Big Bad Wolf before last episode) are so good looking!

    As for Grimm, I have not yet seen an episode, but my cousin (who also is in her mid-twenties) loves this show. She thinks it is way better than OUAT, but I honestly have no desire to tune in.

  5. Jeff Roney

    Howdy. Right up front, I have not seen ‘Grimm,” but I came into Once Upon a Time because the writers were from Lost. I loved Lost, and very early into the pilot I saw the multi-layerdness of the story. I love the actors and the story. It fun story-telling and great shout outs to Lost, Star Wars and classic story motifs. My wife and I love OUAT so much, we started a podcast about it.

  6. Patti Williams

    I watch both Grimm and Once Upon a Time. I like Grimm and I like trying to figure out which fairy tale they are using. The reformed wolf if my favorite character. Once Upon a Time is the best new show this season. I make sure I never miss and episode. The premise of the alternate world is so interesting and trying to figure out which fairy tale the towns people are is fun. I will miss the sheriff and the huntsman story line. I really liked him with Emma.

  7. Debra Mullins

    You know, I’m wondering if the huntsman is really dead. We saw him collapse in Emma’s arms, but is he really gone? And he didn’t die in his fairy tale, so he might still be alive in that realm. Who knows what they might do? Re Grimm, I really liked this last “Rapunzel” episode. I think I am just waiting to hear more about the Grimms and what they can do. What makes them special? But I am with you on Monroe–love that character!

  8. Beth Yarnall

    I started out watching both, but not find that I don’t mind if I miss Grimm. It seems like the same plot every week- introduce a new creature, find out what evil the creature does then kill or arrest the creature. Nick’s partner has to be one of the most incompetent cops I’ve ever seen on TV. I keep thinking they’re building up to something then all of a sudden the shows over & nothing really happened. And what’s up with Nick’s girlfriend (or wife?). She appears here & there but doesn’t really add anything to the plot. Mostly I’m frustrated with Grimm.
    I really like Once Upon a Time. I like how something is revealed about each one of the characters every episode. For a long while I wondered if the queen remembered the curse or if she’d been affected by it as well. Rumpelstiltskin is the character that interests me the most. He seems like the one pulling all the strings, not the queen. Can’t wait to see how that plays out.
    And the huntsman better not be dead!

  9. Charity

    I don’t know if I was really interested in catching either of them until my friend Alison kept talking about how excited she was to see them. Of the two, the first that appealed to me most was Once Upon a Time (I mean, fairy tales, romances, happy endings, good over evil… and, well, a little less dark which seems to suit me most often). I continue to watch both series, but love Once Upon a Time more than Grimm (but I love the reformed big bad wolf, because he used to be on Prison Break!). Once Upon a Time has excellent story telling, and like you said, answers and raises questions throughout each episode. Grimm left me hanging with the Queen Bee episode and how “they’re on the same side”… and then kind of leaves it there after he kills her. And the bad guy boss and the blonde chick, and the aunt who dies before she can really tell him anything more than “dude, you’re a reaper and you should end this romantic relationship of yours…”—I feel like I need a few answers… =/ But Once, I think is brilliant because they even give the evil queen’s side of things, and the new spin(s) on fairy tales are just so cool!!! 🙂 Besides, I love the lead kick butt female Emma (formerly Dr. Cameron on House!!!) and Snow White. Plus, the kid is cute. 😀

  10. Kiersten Hallie Krum (@kierstenkrum)

    I’m with Beth. I started out liking both, and still do, but despite my own impassioned review of GRIMM, lately I’ve had the same frustrations already mentioned here. Plot needs to get moving along fast. The creature reveals are interesting, but I need a bigger taste of the big bad storyline soon.

    ONCE UPON A TIME however continues to be a must see. The sheriff’s untimely (and unfair) fate shows that no one is safe on OUAT and the show isn’t afraid to take risks. I am getting tired of the Evil Queen (EQ) constantly showing up at the wrong time – how can that woman be everywhere at once? And while I’ve enjoyed seeing the back story unfold for all the characters (in a very LOST-esque way) b/c I love me some back story, I’m ready for some forward motion on that show too.

    Still watching both, but, again like Beth, I’m OK missing GRIMM but watch OUAT live too eager to even wait for the advert-free DVR replay.

  11. Fedora

    Hi, Debra and Lime! I’m just not much of a TV watcher so I’ve seen neither–I sometimes like stories readapted from existing ones; it’s fun to see how they are newly reinterpreted. But in general, I greatly prefer reading them them to watching them 🙂 And I need as much time with my TBR as possible, so I don’t often spare time to watch!

  12. Jeanne Miro

    Debra –
    Once Upon A Time sounds fascinating and in fact will be starting in just about an hour here. I wish I could say how much I love watching it but my husband is watching the history channel on our TV! O must admit that I do love fairy tales and fortunately still have some of the books from my childhood when fairy tales were the rage so I still get a chance to “indulge” myself by reading them to my grandchildren. I have a feeling that some of them are now included in the “banned” book list that I read about in the paper earlier this year!

    I was actually amazed on the number of books that were “required reading” when I attended school. The difference was that then the teachers used the experience to explain how the values of the time period influenced writers and society.

    With some of the programs on TV now maybe more parents should watch more TV programs with there children and take advantage of that time together to do the same thing now. I know that my my teachers helped to teach me tolerance and understanding of others which have held in go od stance to me during good times and difficult times.

    I don’t mind that my husband has a habit of monopolizing the TV because I always have a diverse stack of book and my Kindle to reply upon to lead me on a wonderful journey of both knowledge and entertainment.

  13. shauna

    :I’m a total sucker for anything fairy tale related; books, movies, and now tv shows. I started from day one watching both Grimm and OUAT, I am getting a bit frustrated by Grimm, but OUAT I just love. I was a huge Buffy and LOST fan and I’m so glad that OUAT has that intelligence. Great actors, script, plots. I’m totally loving it!!! And I’m with everyone else, don’t let the sheriff/huntsman be dead!!! And the episode about Jiminy Cricket/psychologist was just so dark and amazing… I had tears in my eyes at the end with little boy Gepetto and his parents. And Rumple still has those dolls in his pawn shop…..I”m hoping with Emma turning things around that maybe that spell can be reversed. LOL see I’m getting all emotional thinking about it again. I love it when a tv show can bring out those emotions!!

    1. Debra Mullins

      I don’t know if the spell can be reversed for Gepetto’s parents since it happened in fairy tale land by fairy tale rules. But I agree that Rumple having those dolls does not bode well!

  14. Tricia P

    I haven’t watched either Once Upon a Time or Grimm, but have seen the previews & wondered about giving one or both a try. Now that I know a little more, I’m going to have to check them out; I loved shows like Buffy & Angel! This year I seem to watch more sitcoms, really enjoy Modern Family! I like fairy tales & I’m also really looking forward to the new Snow White movies this year (Snow White & the Huntsman & Mirror, Mirror I think are the titles). I’m not sure which I like more, the fantasy world of fairy tales or the HEA!

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