Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fantasy on TV

One weird thing that came out of that "where are they now?" thing at the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books site is that an editor for a romance line e-mailed me to say that she couldn't help me continue my series, but she would love to see any manuscripts I had that might be suitable for her line. I must confess to enjoying a moment of ironic glee at writing a "your line doesn't suit my needs at this time" letter to an editor, since all my manuscripts contain fairies, wizards or other forms of magic and use romance as only a subplot. Not that I'm really in a position to "reject" an editor, but my writing really would not be a good fit for her, and trying would only make me miserable and would likely fail. If only an editor who might want the kind of stuff I write had seen that post and the response to it and had come recruiting.

It does seem like there's a TV cultural trend possibly brewing that fits my style. I caught up with the premiere of Once Upon a Time last night (since I was out singing when it was on), and it seems like the kind of thing I might write. In fact, I have written something similar, except I was using the Piney Woods of East Texas instead of Maine (that area reminds me of some of the forests in Germany, and it gives me a fairy tale vibe). I did a spin on Sleeping Beauty, using the ballet version of the plot, in which the good fairies (enchantresses in my story) took the infant princess away to raise her in obscurity and hide her from the wicked fairy (enchantress) until after her sixteenth birthday, only in my story, they brought her to another world entirely, so this Disney princess with all those magical gifts of beauty and song had grown up in a small East Texas town. Everyone thought that her tendency to walk down the street doing her own musical numbers with lots of small animals following her around was kind of weird, but they couldn't help but love her. Then on her sixteenth birthday the evil enchantress had managed to find a way to open the portal and send her men to fetch the princess, only there was a mix-up and they got the wrong girl, so a very ordinary, non-princessy (but very practical) teenager was in this fairy tale world where everyone thought she was the princess, but once she figured out what was going on, she had an advantage because she knew how the story went, while everyone around her was living it and didn't realize they were characters in a story. The sequel took place in our world, when they found that Sleeping Beauty wasn't the only person who'd found their way here to take refuge. They found Snow White working as an aid in a nursing home, where she was looking after seven feisty WWII veterans, and the evil queen had come looking for her, setting herself up in a beauty parlor where she was surrounded by mirrors. I wrote the whole first book, but no one wanted it, so the series didn't really get developed.

Anyway, I really liked Once Upon a Time, since I'm a sucker for fairy tale stuff. It looks like it could be fun. My only complaints were that the "fairy tale" parts of the story suffered a little from the curse of SyFy fantasy movies, where the characters in this quasi-medieval European fantasy world speak colloquial modern American English -- except when they don't -- and that they seem to be doing a very Disneyfied version of the fairy tales (since ABC is owned by Disney), so that the dwarves have the Disney dwarf personalities, and they seem to be considering everything made into a Disney animated movie to be part of the same fairy tale world, like Pinocchio. Still, I like the characters and the situation so far, even if I now have an urge to dig out my Into the Woods DVD.

However, there was something oddly familiar about the set-up: A snarky blonde with no friends or family who doesn't even know anything about who her family was travels from Boston to a small coastal town in Maine, where she learns that the town is under a kind of curse, the town may be the key to her mysterious past, and she may be key to breaking the curse. Now, where have we seen that recently?

They had a sneak preview of Grimm OnDemand, about 20 minutes of the pilot that I think may be enough highlights to let us know what's going on and to get into the plot, and then cutting off at a cliffhanger moment, and I think I may like it, too. It's like a fantasy procedural, and I like what we saw of the characters. Also, on a shallow note, the main character is really cute and has a very pleasant speaking voice (he would make a really good Owen), so that alone would get me to give it a try.

Apparently, the ratings for Once Upon a Time were pretty good, so maybe this will start a trend. And then maybe they'll want more contemporary fairy tale-like series. I know of a good possibility ...

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