Tor Post: Once Upon a Time Vs. Grimm – THE FINAL BATTLE

Well, we’re finally here! The moment Oncers and Grimmsters have been waiting for. The winner of the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows has been announced at Tor.com! But first, reviews of the season finales of Once Upon a Time and Grimm

Excerpts:

Once Upon a Time

Everything that needed to happen, like Emma kissing Henry with the Kiss of True Love, happened predictably in a by-the-numbers way. And when things were unpredictable, like Emma suddenly believing in the curse despite being so reluctant for so long in the most inorganic moment I’ve seen in a while, they didn’t make much sense. The way that moment was handled, it looked as if she touched Henry’s book and it sent visions of the truth shooting into her, which was hugely unsatisfying. I’ve seen various explanations online that say that she believed in that moment either because “she was ready,” or because “Henry’s condition primed her to believe, the way that people will suddenly turn to God when loved ones are ill even if they’ve never believed before.” I would’ve believed either of those had they been indicated in the script at all, but they weren’t. Emma just went from not believing to touching the book and believing. Had there been moments of her deliberating in previous episodes, or even in this one, that moment might have been earned, but it was not. She’s been so adamant about not believing for so long that I just couldn’t buy this sudden turnaround, and it tainted the rest of the episode, because I couldn’t be as invested in her quest.

Grimm

However, that doesn’t mean there were no hiccups. The moment when Nick finally tells Juliette about being a Grimm was handled surprisingly poorly. I know that it was important for Juliette not to believe him, certainly not right away, but did Nick have to suddenly forget how to speak English? Rather than starting with the fact of the hair she couldn’t explain, as well as the fact that she brought up the point that perhaps stuff like Bigfoot was real, he just starts naming things around his trailer like a babbling idiot. Meanwhile, Juliette was way too skeptical from the get-go. She wants the truth, and yet everything she says and does leads us to believe that she’s dead set on not believing him no matter what he says. That entire section between Nick and Juliette didn’t play the way I think it was supposed to. Either that, or it did, and the way it was supposed to play was just wrong.

For the full reviews, to comment on the post, and to FIND OUT WHO WON, CLICK HERE!

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Tor Post: Once Upon a Time Vs. Grimm – Stepmothers and Stepsisters

Oy, oy! You lucky people! (anyone get that reference? Anyone? Lemme know in the comments below!) You get second helpings of Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows goodness this week, and this latest post brings us totally current!

Excerpts:

Once Upon a Time

And Henry. Wonderful, fabulous Henry. I knew the moment that Henry came over to Emma’s apartment that the only thing that would spur Emma to action would be if he ate it. But honestly? I wasn’t sure if they’d do that. Putting kids in danger, even fairy tale danger, is less palatable in a real-world setting than it would be if, say, Henry existed in the fairy tale world and we watched him be trapped by a witch. However, I’m so glad that the show was brave enough to allow this young character to do the necessary thing. One of the things I love most about this show is that it treats children with respect, and allows them to make choices for themselves, even questionable or harmful ones. In this moment, Henry got to be as noble and heroic as any fairy tale character, and watching him do it was magic.

Grimm

This episode was so bad, I found myself getting progressively angrier as it went on. Not since Episode 2 (ie: Gilda and the Stupid Bears) have I been so disappointed in an episode of Grimm. And they both contain blondes stripping down to their underwear for no good reason. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The fact that this was actually an episode written by the show’s creators was hugely surprising to me, considering that the biggest problem I had was that the main characters and plot were hardly a part of it. This felt like an episode they handed off to someone else, and that someone else got it wrong, but they had to use it anyway. This was not the case. *sigh* “Happily Ever Aftermath” was way too unbalanced in favor of the guest stars.

For the full reviews, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: Once Upon a Time Vs. Grimm, Part 16 – Wood and Beavers

We’re finally back to another installment of the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows! And there’s some clarification on the scoring process that I lay down in the comments, so make sure to give those a look, too.

Excerpt:

Once Upon a Time

Two things stood out during this episode. The first, of course, being the clever retelling of the story of Pinocchio. We all know the ending of Pinocchio — the Blue Fairy turns him into a Real Boy. But what happens after that? We don’t take into account the fact that the Blue Fairy did leave him with a challenge to remain “good, brave, and true,” and so it’s interesting to see that what has brought Pinocchio (now August) dangerously close to reverting to his wooden self is his inability to be true. It was inspired to put him in a long-term situation, like protecting Baby Emma, that would challenge the most difficult of the three things expected of him.

Grimm

However a majority of the episode, most of which had to do with Nick coming into his own as a Grimm, was wonderful. The humorous opening scene of Nick doing weapons training with Monroe set the stage for more humor between them as they try to navigate their relationship during dinner with Juliette. The humor of those interactions then proved a wonderful counterpoint to the end of the episode, where Nick is flipping over Reaper scythes to kill two Reapers who’ve come after him, and Monroe helps him chop their heads off so that he can send them to Europe as a warning. It was a delight to see Nick be his most badass self, Monroe at his most clingy and flustered, and the cracks starting to show in Juliette’s tolerance.

To read the rest of the review or post a comment, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: Once Upon a Time Vs. Grimm, Part 15 – Hunting Season

Yeah, yeah, I’m late. There’s stuff and things going on. Sorry! 🙂

BUT, the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows is back, and you’ll be getting a twofer this week! First, my reviews for last week’s episodes of Once Upon a Time and Grimm are up at Tor.com.

Excerpt:

Once Upon a Time

As good as the episode was, it promised a resolution that didn’t come. Obviously, resolutions don’t always happen when we want them to, but in the case of August Booth, the mystery had been coming to a boiling point, and should have bubbled over in this episode. We should’ve learned who he was. Yet, the entire episode was a red herring, and that felt cheap. Like a plot twist for the sake of a plot twist, a la M. Night Shamaylan in every movie after The Sixth Sense.

Grimm

This episode has given Grimm a global scope after hints in previous episodes, and it effectively introduces an entirely new aspect to the Grimm mythology by unironically tying the Wesen World to real historical events. The seamless blending of “Old World” and modern world has always been one of the strengths of the show, and “Cat and Mouse” is a prime example of how well it can work. Even as Nick resides in a thoroughly modern world, I couldn’t help but imagine the entire cast in period 1940s costume.

For the full reviews, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: Keep Your Mouth Shut, and Keep Your Hands Off the Cookies!

The Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows was back on this week! Once Upon a Time gave us a perfect Ginnifer Goodwin clone, Grimm gave Monroe a girlfriend, and characters on both shows learned some very important lessons the hard way.

Excerpts:

Once Upon a TimeIt is completely understandable that Snow would see one’s relationship with one’s mother as paramount, considering the loss of her own mother, and it makes sense that she would consider helping someone “not lose their mother” as a great kindness, unable to imagine a scenario where this would be undesirable. This is fascinating, because of how Regina reacts. She has lost her One True Love at the murderous hand of her own mother. Yet, rather than take her rage and sadness out on her mother, she takes it out on the little girl who made an understandable mistake. The punishments Regina inflicts on Snow/Mary Margaret do not fit her crime. They are misdirected. But this speaks volumes about Regina’s tragedy. Not even losing the only man she ever truly loved was powerful enough to allow Regina to act against her mother. Regina exhibits symptoms of an abused child. She’s been so intimidated by her mother’s magic and power that she is incapable, even when she’s acquired powerful magic of her own, of punishing her mother. It seems that Regina is as protective of motherhood as Snow.

Grimm – It opens with a wonderful scene between everyone’s favorite schemers, Renard and Adalind, complete with witty banter and a deeper glimpse into their relationship and Renard’s personality. There’s the way that the neighborhood wesen have taken to showering Nick and Juliette with gifts to appease them. There’s the fact that Monroe has a new lady love, because no one deserves a lady love more than Monroe. And, of course, there’s Wu’s new condition, which seems to have moved beyond a bad skin condition. The problem with the episode was that the wesen drug storyline was just plain boring. Watching Nick and Hank actually work the case just seemed like filler in between all the stuff I actually cared about.

For the full reviews, or to leave comments at the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Posts: Mad Hatters and Magic and Geek and Sundry

Hello there, everyone! When it rains, it pours!

I’ve got two faboo posts up at Tor.com today. First is my very, very late Once Upon a Time Special for “Hat Trick” as part of the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows. Sorry. Life’s a bitch sometimes, and sometimes she’s a bitch who won’t let you write things.

Excerpt:

While the story behind the Mad Hatter is interesting, the character of Jefferson is not. There’s also the fact that this episode revolved around a character we’ve never met before and in whom we had not yet become emotionally invested. Once Upon a Time works best when characters emerge organically and step into the spotlight, rather than when it continually has new characters pop up out of nowhere for their own episodes. Jiminy Cricket and Red Riding Hood are two great examples of character exploration done right. Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel? Not so much. Now, we can add the Mad Hatter to the “not so much” list.

For the full review and to leave comments, CLICK HERE!

Me, Tom Merritt, Veronica Belmont, and Felicia Day at the Geek and Sundry signing at WonderCon 2012.

Next up is my write-up announcing the premiere of Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry YouTube channel, which provides an entire slate of geek programming for your viewing pleasure. I’ve actually watched all the eps that premiere today, and they’re awesome! Go check them out!

Excerpt:

Yesterday, [Day] hosted a Google+ Hangout “subscribathon” for Geek and Sundry, bringing together high-profile geeks to encourage people to subscribe to the channel, and as of this writing Geek and Sundry has 106,949 subscribers (by comparison, Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Channel, also featuring an entire slate of upcoming shows premiering today, has 45,235 subscribers). Clearly, Day owns New Media. The truly great thing about Geek and Sundry is that all of the shows seem to come from a genuine, unironic, fun place. These aren’t geeks trying to be hipper than thou. These are wonderfully dorky and earnest people doing geeky things, and we love them for it.

For the rest of the write-up (as well as descriptions of Geek and Sundry’s programming) and to post comments, CLICK HERE!

Lastly, I also received my long-awaited copy of Womanthology: Heroic today, along with a copy of China Mieville’s Embassytown – my first of his novels. Very excited to read both! Such a great geek day today! 🙂

Tor Post: Once Upon a Time Special – “Heart of Darkness”

Well, the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows won’t be including Grimm this week, as Grimm didn’t air a new episode last Friday (didn’t air one last night, either – the next new episode of Grimm airs March 30th). The good news? Grimm is getting a Season 2! Huzzah!

Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time aired a wonderful episode on Sunday night, and I wrote all about it over at Tor.com!

Excerpt:

Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have written a surprisingly dark and harrowing episode. Even more surprising are the shocks of humor they managed to inject into the script. Watching Snow White doing her signature singing and attracting a little blue bird was made hilarious when we see that she’s only doing so to swat it with a broom! The intervention scene was amazing and funny, and I wanted to punch Snow in the face myself for making Happy not happy! However, all that humor existed to take the edge off of the episode’s greater darkness.

To read the full review, or to leave comments, CLICK HERE!