Monday, April 30, 2012

Grimm | Once Upon A Time - TV Guide: Ask Matt Apr 30 '12

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Grimm 2

TV GUIDE: Ask Matt: House, Once vs. Grimm, Fringe Renewal

Apr 30, 2012
by Matt Roush

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Question: ... For us, the most entertaining new show of 2011-12 is Once Upon A Time, but, like us, when you started watching, did you get the impression that the show might be the victim of its own success? After all, when the heroine rescues everyone, the show's over — which might take years — but that's what we've all tuned in to see at the end of this year. Now we love the show: They've done a wonderful, creative job within the bounds of the traditional characters and stories (and no ugly sweaters in sight), but doesn't any show having a singular pillar holding it up have to feel the strain from the diametrically opposed force from the obvious commercial need to keep such a popular show in production? How long do you think the show can postpone its resolution before it devolves into "How I Met Your (Fairly God) Mother"? — Wes From Cincinnati

Matt Roush: ... your question about Once, so cleverly phrased, touches on the challenge facing any high-concept premise: how to keep it going in the long run without frustrating viewers (who'd like to see the Evil Queen vanquished, and soon), which often means finding a way to reinvent and refresh the show from season to season while staying faithful to the spirit and tone of the conflict that drew us to the show in the first place. There's no easy way to handle any of this, but the fun is in watching them try.

Question: It's been a while since we saw Belle's character on Once Upon a Time and wondered if the show has any plans of exposing the truth about where she is being held and who is holding her, and Regina knowing that she is alive and not dead. Or do the writers plan to just let this go and focus on other plots? — Estela

Matt Roush: I try not to get ahead of where the story is going on shows like this, but I think it's fair to assume (given these producers' track records) that all of these characters will be revisited at some point, when it helps drive the plot. That includes Belle.

Question: Now that the season is winding down, what are your thoughts about Grimm vs. Once Upon a Time? When the two fairy-tale shows premiered last fall, I really thought I'd prefer Once Upon a Time, because Grimm looked too, well, grim. But now I enjoy Grimm tremendously, while Once Upon a Time is annoying me more and more each week! I find good character growth in Grimm, as Nick wrestles with the effects of his new calling on his relationship with his girlfriend, and I love his growing friendship with the Blutbad, Monroe. And it's a hoot watching him trying to keep Wesen from panicking every time they realize he's a Grimm! But Once Upon a Time is getting boring and frustrating for me and I'm not keeping up with it anymore. What's your take on these two shows? — Pat

Matt Roush: Regarding the frustration element of Once, see the earlier question. It comes with the territory. My take on these fairy-tale-derived shows is that they're very different creations aimed at very different sorts of audiences. Once Upon a Time is trying to reach as broad and demographically wide an audience as possible, which means it lapses frequently into the land of the corny, obvious and twee. But despite a few thudding episodes, and a general yearning to throttle the sanctimonious Mary Margaret — and how stupid is David for getting drawn into Regina's web (by lasagna?) — I tend to enjoy Once as a pleasurable, relaxing hour of mass-appeal entertainment. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's easily my favorite ABC show on Sundays now. I also figure if Once was going about it the way of Grimm, it might also be airing on Friday nights to a fraction of the audience. Which isn't a slam on Grimm, which has grown on me as well, as it has deepened its mythologies while finding its own clever horror twists on fairy-tale legends. I'm still not enamored with the lead Grimm, but I can't get enough of Monroe. Bottom line: I enjoy them both for what they are, and am not inclined to give one higher critical marks simply because it appeals to a passionate cult. One of the nicest surprises about this TV season is that both of these shows were able to defy expectations and find their own path to success...

Once Upon A Time airs Sunday at 8/7C on ABC.

Grimm airs Friday at 9/8C on NBC.

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