I'd completely missed the promos for the newest (5th, half-sized, and final) season of Chuck
... Perhaps that's because NBC completely failed to promote it?
In any case, I happily stumbled upon the first episode last night, even though I'd missed the first few minutes. It was good. It was fun.
(Without divulging too
Over the last four seasons, Chuck
completed one of the most satisfying, character-focused story-arcs I've ever witnessed on the small screen. Were it in a prose novella format, ('cause, really, television dramedy seasons can all be reduced to chapters with a dozen or so pages), it could have been used as study material in an English Fiction-writing course. The titular character was given both internal and external conflicts to face, and as he faced each one, the solutions led to both personal growth and further complications. The final episode of season four satisfactorily and happily resolved every one of the conflicts presented in Season One, Episode One.
In the first episode of season five, Chuck is confident in his self-identity which is almost the the polar opposite of his self-identity in the very beginning. But then, everything on which he bases
that identity is taken away or threatened, and he is once more a fish-out-of-water, on his way across an entirely new story arc -- with an entirely new, mysterious and conspiratorial Baddie to face.
Oh, and it also gleefully mocked the tropes of spy fiction with balletic slapstick and witty dialogue.
The one sour note was that this was the first episode in the entire four-plus years in which a wheelchair appeared on screen... and it was being used by the scheming and incompetent employees Jeff and Lester to scam money out of the customers at the Buy More via Pity Porn. Bletch.
Immediately following Chuck
was the American broadcast (legal) premiere of Grimm
, which I checked in on because both jekesta
panned it. So I was curious.
They were right.
First of all... I dunno... it was visually ... flat
-- dingy lighting, or something. But with lots of camera flare mixed in anyway. It was not particularly pleasant to look at. Which is a bad idea in a television show.
Second of all, the premise
-- ick. Somehow, "grimms" are now a thing -- a special category of people, like the vampire-hunters of the Buffy-verse, who can see the "baddies" of fairy tales (and of course, all the fairy tales are literally true). And the protagonist of this show is one of the last, and it's his job to hunt them down. But really, all the baddies just appear to be werewolves. And it was completely unclear, beyond that, as to why
the baddies are bad, or dangerous to us, and what the nature of this fictional universe is, and how goodies and baddies fit together. Besides the fact that baddies are secretly ugly and snarl a lot.
As someone who loves stories, and the power of good storytelling, it makes me sad to see people forget that Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm were actual, individual, people
who recognized the power and beauty of good stories and so collected them the way a wine connoisseur collects wine, and spent their lifetime working together to polish them and bring them to the public in the hopes of changing their country's direction and bringing justice to their still-feudal state. ... I don't agree, ultimately, with their particular notions
of proper justice in all details. But I do admire their ambitions and methods (and I'm really grateful they did all that work, so that the stories they recorded and published would not be forgotten).
By insisting that the stories are literally true, and erasing the presence of the storyteller, (rhetorical) you sap stories' greatest magic: the ability to spark the imagination and create new
Oh, and there's another fairy-tale show, that aired last Sunday (Once Upon a Time
) on ABC-- here's my rant about that, from comments I left in jekesta
I wouldn't mind the Fairy Tale Show so much (I kind of half-watched it last week, out of morbid curiosity) if it weren't based almost completely on the Disney versions. But the television network that's producing the show is owned by the Disney Corporation. So what else could anyone expect?
And no: "It's because they're afraid of copyright violations if they do anything else!" doesn't work as a defense, 'cause the original tales (collected by Jacob, and given their poetic turns-of-phrase by Wilhelm [sp? Sorry, W.]) were put into writing before copyright laws even existed.
So the deliberate copying of the old Disney movies [Even down to the personalities of the 'Seven Dwarves'] is just a blatant pitch to sell more home DVDs...
If Fairy Tales happen upon a time, that means they kind of exist separate from time -- floating, skimming, over its surface, rather than embedded within it. So if, say (To borrow "Once Upon a Time"'s hook), fairy tale characters are trapped in our, real, world, but are surfing over time, then, they could, Quantum Leap-like, find themselves hopping to different periods of human history -- from the Medieval / Renaissance periods the stories (as we know them) are set, to our present, to our future -- in a space-traveling culture -- And, unlike "Once upon a Time," the Baddie would not announce him/herself, or her motives, or her methods. But they'd have to look for clues in each time they find themselves.... And I'd draw on some of the stories Disney hasn't touched, yet (the other 190, or so, to choose from).