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A Tale Dark & Grimm Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
A pair of great doors open and we approach a large book on a stand as the narrator tells us “once upon a time, fairytales were awesome”.
We’ve heard the tale of Hansel and Gretel before; kids get ditched by a wicked stepmother in the woods, leave a trail of breadcrumbs to try to find their way home, end up in the hands of a child-eating witch. Some of this may ring true on A Tale Dark & Grimm, but this series wants us to know straight away that this might not be the story you remember. Gretel (Raini Rodriguez) and Hansel (Andre Robinson) live a happy life as the children of the king and queen, spending their days playing games and being sung lullabies by their doting mother. That all changes, however, when their father suddenly beheads them both and sews their heads back on with some kind of magic golden thread to bring them back to life.
Horrified by their parents’ choice to kill them (“Parents shouldn’t slay their children. Not even once!”), Hansel and Gretel set off into the woods in the hopes of finding a new family – one that will dote on them, feed them well, and never make them do any chores. They encounter a kindly turnip farmer on their journey, but reject his offer to stay with him as they’ve only got one option at the front of their minds: Mrs. Baker, the baker who brings delicious cakes to the castle. If they can make her their new mother, their lives will surely be better. The catch? These kids and Mrs. Baker have very different ideas of happily-ever-after.
I really wanted to be on board with A Tale Dark & Grimm; the concept is interesting, the voice performances are strong, and the animation is engaging. Unfortunately, however, I emerged from the pilot episode totally confused about who this is actually for. I’m all about letting the most gruesome Grimm tales see the light of day, but in the context of A Tale Dark & Grimm – a show we’re repeatedly reminded by the Fourth Wall-breaking crows is intended for tough kids to see – it feels icky and weird. Perhaps if it was a series intended for an older audience, it might make more sense, but combining this kind of warm, fuzzy animation style with content that includes beheading children, eating children, and impaling a witch on a giant candy cane feels a little wacky.
If I hadn’t spent the entire episode asking “who is this for?”, I may have enjoyed A Tale Dark & Grimm a little more. Unfortunately, however, the show’s strange, offbeat tone set against its doe-eyed protagonists made it impossible for me not to spend most of its runtime scratching my head. If you have a precocious preteen who gets a kick out of dark humor and horror, this might be right up their alley. But for the younger kids this style of show might typically appeal to, A Tale Dark & Grimm will almost certainly be too much to take.