With no television in the home, we often have no idea what is going on in the world of entertainment but on occasion, we do find a show or two that absolutely thrills and inspires us. A simple Netflix account lets us keep up with old and new favorites, ( Dr Who, The Hobbit, Larkrise to Candleford, documentaries etc etc) but every once in awhile we come across a gem.
The latest of these is the network series "Once Upon a Time" which weaves the characters of every fairy tale ever told into one story. I had my doubts. . . trying to modernize fairy tales can be like stepping on sacred ground. . . and often is poorly done. With the exception of some pretty noticeable CGI effects the show is really intriguing and solidly done (though one could argue even the CGi "works" as the scenes using it all take place in the old fairy tale realm and, hey, everyone can't have the Game of Thrones budget!). The character or Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is truly the anchor of the show. You might recognize the actor from roles in The Full Monty and Trainspotting. . . but he takes the character of Rumple to a new level and carries the weight of trying to tell such a tale very well.
It is so delightful to watch a "fantasy fiction" show that is not focused on death, misery, war and gruesome effects. And to see the old fairy tales brought into a new, modern light is the most inspiring part to me. Like any show, it takes time to build such a world so the first five or six episodes take a little patience to let it develop (something I am amazed at when a show is actually given that time these days) but here it is two full seasons in and beginning a third. . . and I find it interesting that the show's viewership has declined each season after a really strong start.
And that, my dear friends, is the real point of this post. . . It's hard to build a lasting fairy tale, let alone watch one every week. . . it somehow makes perfect sense to me that, over time, a show like this might not have the staying power to hold ever-decreasing attention spans. And perhaps, most of all, the idea of a short, classic fairy tale is more alluring than the drawn out reality which all tales eventually become without the viewer or the person experiencing it, making the effort to see it through. . . just as in real life. Making life magic is more than a short jaunt. . .it's a journey of the heart and soul and one that requires complete investment of us to make it a reality.
That's life. . .
And as the dark and devilish Rumpelstiltskin says often in this production; "Magic, always comes with a price."
And maybe the truth is that most, in our modern fairytale seeking world, just aren't willing to pay that price.
As always, thank you for reading. . .