Fairy Tale TV


The difference between GRIMM and ONCE UPON A TIME:

The one that was created by ex-BUFFY personnel is the one about a hero who discovers they’re the latest in a long line of monster-killers and has to take on the role relatively unprepared, but with the help of an aged mentor and a quirky helper.

And the one created by ex-LOST personnel is the one where everyone’s stuck in a location that’s pleasant on the surface, only there’s a complex mystery going on they have to unravel and lots of flashbacks to their earlier lives before they got stuck in this place.

As for tone, the one created by the Buffyistas feels like BUFFY and ANGEL but at least so far, thinner, and the one created by the Lostians feels like LOST but at least so far, much thinner.

We’re following both, here at Casa Busiek, to see what they develop into. They’re both watchable, though I’m used to Jennifer Morrison from HOUSE, so I keep wanting her to have snappier, faster-paced, smarter dialogue. Or at least be quicker on the uptake.

[On the great FABLES question: I can readily believe that GRIMM isn’t terribly influenced by FABLES, since there aren’t that many similarities and there’s been a spate of fairy-tale movies that could certainly have gotten the genre some notice. ONCE UPON A TIME has more similarities, though, and in the pilot, the fairy tale characters are referred to as “fables” once, which is odd because, well, they’re not. Hard to believe they didn’t pick that (and other things) up from Willingham.]




So, Rob Lowe’s leaving Brothers & Sisters.
I can’t say it bothers me much. I liked his character, but I stopped watching the show at some point in the second season. But now that it’s been announced that he’ll be departing the show at the end of the season, it’s got me thinking.
And I know the show I’m thinking about is never going to happen. It’s sheer fantasy on my part.
But Lowe was originally intended to be the star (or at least, the lead actor of a strong ensemble) on The West Wing, as the smart, idealistic, committed but prone-to-personal-stumbles speechwriter Sam Seaborn. And the President character, Jed Bartlet, was intended to be recurring but not regular, as the show focused on the West Wing staff, not on the President himself. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the show, Martin Sheen was such a revelation in the pilot (best entrance in TV history) that the word came down to use him a lot more. So Martin Sheen became the lead actor in a strong ensemble, playing smart, idealistic, committed but prone-to-personal-stumbles Bartlet.
And a hit was born, but with the cast orbiting around Bartlet, there wasn’t as much need for another smart, likable, straight-arrow idealist, and Lowe became something of a fifth wheel, playing his part well enough, but the Seaborn-centered plots tended to come off as side issues while everyone else was dealing with Oval Office-centered stuff. And in time, Lowe started to feel that the show had become something other than what he’d signed on for, and he negotiated an exit.
Much as I loved the show, I can’t say I blamed him all that much. For Sheen, falling into a starring role on a hit show was a welcome surprise (and since he hadn’t been contracted to be in every show, allowed him to secure a great contract). For the other actors, being ensemble players was what they’d signed on for, so when the show was a hit and was winning Emmys left and right, who wouldn’t be delighted? But Lowe had been expecting the central role, and it didn’t work out.
So he went on to The Lyon’s Den, and that didn’t work out either.
But now…
Wouldn’t it be great if one of those new 10 PM dramas NBC now desperately needs was Seaborn, starring Rob Lowe as freshman Congressman Sam Seaborn? Created and written by Aaron Sorkin? Smart, committed, idealistic, drama-prone—and with the show built around him this time? I mean, we already had The West Wing, so it wouldn’t be taking away from that. It’d be a way to get some of it back.
Yeah, yeah, it isn’t going to happen. Lowe wouldn’t do it. Sorkin wouldn’t do it. Not in a million years. But wouldn’t it be great?!