Has anyone else noticed a sudden explosion of interest in Snow White? It’s always been Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty who get all the press, but the powers that decide these things seem to have finally noticed Snow White too.
Since you know how much I enjoy retold fairy tales, I’m sure it won’t surprise you that I’m watching and enjoying ABC’s show, Once Upon a Time. It’s a story about fairy tale characters living in the small town of Storybrook, Maine. They were cursed by the Wicked Queen from “Snow White,” trapping them in our world with no memory of who they really are. The Queen is running the town as Mayor, and Snow White’s daughter, Emma, who escaped the curse and is now grown up, has to fulfill a prophecy to fight the Queen and bring everyone’s memories back–even though, so far at least, she doesn’t really believe all of this either.
The episodes generally follow a pattern of two related stories, one in our world, one in the past in the storybook world. And by the way–there are Disney references galore! They’ve been going through origin stories for the major characters, and they’re doing just what I love most about retold fairy tales–filling in the bits the Brothers Grimm ignored, fleshing out the characters and answering the questions that the original fairy tales will make you ask.
How did Snow White meet the Prince? How did Jiminy Cricket become a cricket? Why does Rumpelstiltskin want babies? Why did the Huntsman agree to kill Snow White to begin with? Why did the Queen hate Snow White? All the parts that don’t make sense are where fairy tale retellings can do wonderful things. Once Upon a Time has answered some questions, and is still teasing about others.
It’s been a great show so far, often exciting and funny, and with some good mystery to it too. I’m really enjoying the characters. Snow White is very sweet but also strong. Her prince gets much more character development than he did in the original Disney movie. Emma is tough, with a chip on her shoulder and the occasional hint that she’s hiding something softer under her hard exterior. Rumpelstiltskin is wonderfully smarmy, and the evil Queen is, well, evil. There’s also a sweet boy named Henry who has complicated connections to everyone, and more understanding of what’s going on than any of the adults.
If you haven’t watched the show, it’s not too late to catch up. Six episodes are streaming on ABC.com–it’s not all of them, but they seem to have kept the ones you’d need to catch up with the larger storyline.
When I said Snow White is getting a sudden surge of popularity, I didn’t just mean this show, though. There are also two movies coming out! There’s Snow White and the Huntsman, with Charlize Theron as the Queen and Kristen Stewart as Snow White. And there’s Mirror Mirror with Julie Roberts as the Queen and Lily Collins as Snow White. I’ve seen trailers for both; Snow White and the Huntsman looks like it’s trying to be really, really epic, and just coming out kind of strange. Mirror Mirror appears to be going for humor, and looks much more like it’s succeeding; that one I’m excited for.
But neither one is out yet. If/when I see them, I’ll have to let you know how they were. 🙂
In the meantime, watch Once Upon a Time. That one I can say is excellent.