Fairy Tales on TV

It’s a good time to be a fan of fairy tales. In the past couple of weeks, two new shows have begun that deal with fairy tales in the real world: Once Upon A Time on ABC and Grimm on NBC.

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time (pilot)

The ABC show follows all your standard fairy tale characters in our world. The catch? They don’t know they’re fairy tale characters. They all live in Storybrooke, Maine after a curse from the Evil Queen transported them here.  None of them realize who they are and time has stopped in their idyllic small town. Redemption may come from Emma Swan and her biological son Henry, who was adopted by Storybrooke’s mayor. Seeing as how this show was created by the same people who did Lost, mysteries and twists will surely be a regular part of the series. More info and pictures can be found on the official website.

Grimm

Grimm (pilot)

Initially, I wasn’t too interested in Grimm.  I’m not a fan of cop shows because they tend to be too episodic with no real plot connection from week to week.  Based on the premiere, Grimm looks like it might be different.  It’s still a cop show, but the crimes are going to be committed by fairy tale characters. The first episode dealt with Blutbaden and mysterious disappearances of girls in red hooded sweatshirts.  Set (and filmed) in the Portland, Oregon area, the show makes use of dark and overgrown forests to really add just the right mood. The website has a lot of interesting background stuff and, of course, the full pilot episode.

In terms of the way the shows look, Grimm‘s got more going for it. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for creepy forests.  But I’ll be interested to see how both shows develop throughout the season and hopefully they will be able to keep my attention.

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FaerieCon

FaerieCon 2011.

I found out about this through a random ad online somewhere.  November 4th-6th, in Baltimore, there’s going to be a convention on all things faerie.   I love going to conventions.  I haven’t been to many, but the  atmosphere at them makes me wish I could go to more.  People are generally so friendly and so open and they are on of the few places I feel normal.  How could anybody not?  But the main thing that caught my eye about this were three of the guests: Brian and Wendy Froud, and Charles Vess.

Brian and Wendy Froud

Brian illustrates, Wendy makes dolls and puppets.  Brian Froud draws fairies and has published several books including Faeries (with Alan Lee!) and Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.  His amazingly detailed and intricate illustrations force you to actually look at the drawings rather than glance at them and move on to any text.

Wendy, his wife, makes dolls.  Her work has been published too, but you’ve most likely seen her puppetry work.  She used to work for Jim Henson and she created Jen and Kira in one of my favorite movies, The Dark Crystal.  She also created puppets for Labryinth and The Empire Strikes Back.  But, The Dark Crystal?  Mind blowing.  Especially when you consider almost everything is puppetry.

Brian Froud also helped as a conceptual designer on that movie and supposedly a sequel is being planned.

Charles Vess

Charles Vess is also a fantasy illustrator.  He draws a lot of fairies and elves and not your Disney Tinkerbell types either.  His creations are sly and mischievous with an otherworldly beauty to them.  I first came across his work through the book Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  One of the editions published had full color illustrations by Vess as well as border work and smaller illustrations throughout.  For someone like myself who wants the book to be as beautiful as the story, Vess did not disappoint.

He also added illustrations to Susanna Clarke’s book of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu.  Many of the stories in that book deal with fairies, well, more correctly, the fey.  Clarke’s fairies are dangerous and unpredictable and Vess’ illustrations capture the wildness of her characters and stories perfectly.

And finally, I shall leave you with this recent discovery.  Drawn by Vess, you should recognize the scene immediately if you have read the book it’s from.

The Beginning

I recently finished reading “A Dance with Dragons” by George R. R. Martin.  You might have heard of it.  If you haven’t read it yet, you want to.  Trust me.  Start with “A Game of Thrones” and go from there.  I won’t talk much about the book here, for those who haven’t read it or those who might not care.  But midway through the book, as I was desperately trying to find someone to talk to about it, I realized everyone I was thinking of to talk to was a guy.

I know plenty of girls who like to read, but very few who like fantasy in particular. Or perhaps, I just don’t realize they like fantasy.  I, however, grew up reading fairy tales and mythologies.  Two decades later, they are still my favorite reading material, to the extent that I force myself to read the occasional non-fiction book, simply to bring me back down to earth.

I have no idea how long this blog will keep my interest and perhaps there are better sites out there for this.  But I’m planning to make this site a place to share my thoughts and ideas about various topics in the fantasy world.  Anything from books and movies to conventions to authors and illustrators.  If it has the touch of the fantastical to it, I’ll be interested.

I also mean to direct this towards women.  Most of the fantasy culture is inundated with men and their desires.  But there are women out there who love these things as much as I do, I know there are.  So men, you are welcome, but tell your girlfriends, wives, friends, sisters, etc.  They are the ones I’m writing for.