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The Modernization of Fairy Tales

Updated on August 26, 2013


We all grew up with Fairy Tales, so we all know and love the classic tales. We have dressed up as a princess or a hero or possibly even the villain. Fairy Tales take us to an ideal world where there are always happy endings. In fairy tale world most things are black and white - the villain loses, the heroes succeed, and true love can solve all problems. It is basically utopia.

Lately, in TV there as been a trend of modernizing the classic Fairy Tales. Culture has forced fairy tales to mirror out society. No longer are they about a passive female protagonist, but instead they are about a strong female lead making and changing her destiny. Besides women getting an active role in the story, these modernized fairy tales have more grey area. They give a background not only to the heroes, but also to the villain. It shows that life is messy, and people choose their own destiny and can change. This makes all the characters more dimensional. Along with classic fairy tales these modernized tales teach us just as much about life. One of my favorite lessons will always be that love is the most powerful weapon.

Here are my four favorite modern interpretations of fairy tales on TV.

Once Upon a Time

Fun Fact

In the series, Prince Charming's name is actually James. Snow White gives him that nickname "Charming" when they first meet as an insult, then later she says it affectionately.

Once Upon a Time is a show from ABC that is currently on its 3rd season. If you have never seen it the first season is on Netflix. This series takes all the classic characters and pulls them from their happy endings into our world where there is no magic. The series brings whole new dimensions to Snow White, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and the Evil Queen. Each season ends with a cliffhanger so it is hard to wait for the next one.

The 10th Kingdom

The 10th Kingdom is a mini-series that aired on NBC in 2000. The whole mini series is currently on Netflix. In this version there is a secret portal in Central Park that leads to the nine kingdoms where the fairy tales are all true. The story takes place after the golden age of fairy tales, and our heroes are trying to prevent a takeover from the evil queen. There are so many plot twists and turns that it keeps the story interesting. It is a little bit kitschy at times, but that also gives it its charm

BBC's Modern Fairy Tales

BBC's Modern Fairy Tales are four one hour episodes based on Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Emperor's New Clothes, and Billy Goat. These are definitely the most modern telling of fairy tales as the most similar things between these and the originals are the general story-lines. Of course there is that added British humor, which makes them a little more tongue in cheek. The full episodes can be found on YouTube.


GRIMM is darker then the other fairy tale modernizations because it takes on a police, crime-drama element. The twist is that murders are committed by someone from the fairy tale realm, and a Grimm is the only one who can see them and stop them.

The premise for the show is based on this quote from NBC: "There once was a man who lived a life so strange, it had to be true. Only he could see what no one else can—the darkness inside...the real monster within...and he's the one who must stop them. This is his calling. This is his duty. This is the life of a Grimm."

The show is currently starting its third season on NBC.


Do you like the modernization of fairy tales?

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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      3 months ago from London England

      merrie we meet.

      This day marks the winter solstice here in 'olde London towne' or the shortest hours of daylight.


    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      3 months ago from London England

      The modernisation of Mary Poppins does not 'come across' as the quintessential English Nanny at all !

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      3 months ago from London England

      I think that the 'Fae' have retreated further from the populated habitats due to the burgeoning technology blanking out the ethereal realms. Oh i don't blame the late Walt Disney for plagiarism, it is the corporation using his name.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      11 months ago from London England

      Not too impressed with how Disney portrays our folklore these days.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      2 years ago from London England

      merrie we meet merrie we meet merrie we meet

      many blessings to all kindred spirits

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      Tis a tragedy that our rich folklore has been plagiarised by computer apps and the anime. I have never seen the Fae but have certainly had a good grounding by the works of children's story tellers as well as the bards of long ago. We can actually trace the Fae back to the very dawn of time. They were always ruled by a Faerey Queene as is the case with Elfhame and infra Lyonesse among other enchanted realms.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      So interesting and thank you for sharing.



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