Tell Me A Story started off with such promise, and although it didn’t completely fly off the rails by the finale, I kind of wish it didn’t become so ridiculous by the end of its debut season.
Note: if you haven’t finished the season, jump straight to the conclusion below or read my non-spoiler review of the premiere episode here.
Little Red Riding Hood
The most obvious fairytale of the bunch, this storyline rested squarely on Danielle Campbell’s shoulders. I’d never seen the actress in anything before, but she did a good job this season. It’s unfortunate that her Kayla had to replay the same beats over and over again, but I’m glad the show didn’t make her a damsel in distress in the finale. In fact, she singlehandedly took out the Big Bad Wolf (played to unhinged perfection by Billy Magnussen). She also had some great chemistry with Sex & The City‘s very own Kim Catrral. The misstep here is Kayla’s dad played by Sam Jaeger. Talk about a complete waste of potential. His Tom interacted with a bunch of characters across all three storylines, but he never really served a purpose. After ten episodes, I know nothing about him that I didn’t know in the pilot, and that’s a real shame.
Three Little Pigs
My least favorite of the season’s three arcs. Jordan’s wife getting murdered in the pilot was actually the show’s most affecting moment, but his downward spiral was cliche and dull. James Wolk tried his best, but he simply couldn’t salvage a tedious storyline that had him face off against an unimpressive Paul Wesley and an unexciting villain in Sam Reynolds. The best thing about this storyline? The pig masks (as unsubtle as they were).
Hensel & Gretel
Gabe and Hannah on the run was certainly the most thrilling of the three story arcs, but it doesn’t really doesn’t hold up in retrospect. Why didn’t Hannah just give up the money (that wasn’t even hers to begin with) to save her brother from immense torture? What happened to the entire subplot with their bizarre mom? Is Katrina being revealed as the Big Bad the most unrealistic thing of all time (not to mention her mom being in on it)? But, hey, at least the whole thing was a hell of a lot of fun in a bonkers sort of way. I mean… kitchen fight scene!
Ultimately, I’m intrigued by Tell Me A Story. Sometimes it feels like the show is going all out with the fairytale references, and sometimes the homages are subtle. Nevertheless, as uneven as the show is, it’s never boring. Recommended if you’re looking for an amusing diversion.