Once upon a time, fairy tales were pure feel-good stories that conveyed a sense of wonder without a sense of irony.
But yet, the original Brothers Grimm stories were a reflection of their troubled times. They were once dark and gritty fables that were understandably toned down as time passed, and shaped into the Disney-esque incarnations that we know today as the classic versions.
Over the past decades, many have sought to reimagine a more gritty telling on those old fables, much like Bill Willingham’s Fables, or Neil Gaiman and Chriss Riddell’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, and it’s a formula that never seems to get old. A Tale Dark and Grimm is based on a series of books by Adam Gidwiz, whose reimaging of the classic Hansel and Gretel evokes the, err, grim atmosphere of the original, but adds an irreverence and subversion that’s par for the course in modern-day storytelling. And complete self-awareness – don’t worry, this is fine.
The Netflix series sees Hansel (Andre Robinson) and Gretel (Raini Rodriguez) escape their home to seek out better parents who won’t try to kill them, at least, and their journey brings them on a European, middle ages road trip of epic proportions, where they effectively gatecrash other familiar fairy tale stories and archetypical fables. Exposing the truth behind the famous tales and then rewriting the narrative on their own terms? Sounds like an average day on Twitter. This will probably be a good one to catch together with the younglings when it is released this Friday, 8 October.