Fairy tales don't show up on television too often, unless you count those mindless 30-minute DVDs that parents use to preoccupy the little one while mommy makes lunch or daddy folds the laundry.
In fact, you have to visit a far off land called the 1980s to find television's last successful visit with Mother Goose. Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre had a nice five-year run on Showtime, bringing classic tales to life with a pretty amazing cast, including Jeff Bridges, Billy Crystal, Mick Jagger and Robin Williams. Even more impressive were some of the episodes' directors, such as Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola.
But twice-told tales have returned to the small screen after a long slumber. ABC is sprinkling some fairy dust on its Sunday night lineup with Once Upon a Time. NBC is dimming the lights on Fridays with a much darker Grimm.
Once Upon a Time, a highly original conceit, mashes up everyone from Snow White to Jiminy Cricket and then traps them in, horror of horrors, modern-day Maine. An impressive cast is led by Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow. You may know her better from five seasons on HBO's acclaimed drama Big Love. Ironically, one of her Big Love co-stars, Amanda Seyfried, starred earlier this year in a big screen re-telling of Red Riding Hood.
NBC's Grimm unleashes some of the same characters on modern-day Portland, Ore. In this fantasy/crime series, a homicide detective sleuths out Grimm-esque creatures wreaking havoc on the city.
Fairy tales spill over to the big screen in 2012 with dueling productions of Snow White, one starring Julia Roberts and the other starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron.