The Big Bad Wolf as you’ve never seen him before
First of all, may we take a moment to talk about Kim Cattrall? CBS All Access’s Tell Me A Story (streaming on Showmax) is Cattrall’s first US television show since HBO’s Sex and The City, for which she was recognised with a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, five Emmy Award nominations, and three Screen Actors Guild nominations – all for playing a proud, confident, highly sexual woman.
In this psycho thriller series based on three fairy tales, Cattrall plays a grandmother. The arc from child to teen to prom queen, mother and wife is one followed by many female actors, with granny at the top of the ladder. Unsurprisingly, Cattrall’s sexy hot F-bomb-dropping Nana in the Little Red Riding Hood angle of the series is nothing like the one with which we grew up.
Neither is the Big Bad Wolf. There are actually two of them: one for Little Red, another for The Three Little Pigs. All the characters and storylines for the three intertwining stories are way outside the box, and bring a distinctly adult twist to the screen.
“We follow the stories to their ending, but we may not end them the way that you know,” says [director Kevin] Williamson. “We twist it around.”
It’s worth remembering the seemingly innocuous yarns we read to our children, beginning with “Once upon a time” and ending with “and they lived happily ever after” have little to do with the originals, which were for the most part gory, gruesome and terrifying cautionary tales.
Created by Kevin Williamson, Tell Me A Story has three prongs, set in New York City as a metaphor for the dark and dangerous woods.
Representing the three piggies is a gang of jewellery thieves and the fiance of the woman who gets shot during a heist. The names and faces you’ll recognise here are James Wolk (Mad Men, Zoo) as the grieving man who goes steadily out of his mind, and out for revenge; and Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries) as one of the meth-crazed robbers.
The Little Red Riding Hood saga includes a teenage girl, Kayla (The Originals‘ Danielle Campbell), her grandma, her widowed father, and a perfectly smooth man she meets at a nightclub – who turns out to be a lot more than he first appears.
Hansel and Gretel, the brother and sister who face up to a wicked witch who wants to eat them, are played by Dania Ramirez (the intensely irritating Rosie in Devious Maids) as Hannah Perez, an Army veteran; and Davi Santos as Gabe, a party boy who accidentally kills someone, sending them both on the run.
How they all link up and crossover is something you will find out when you watch.
“We follow the stories to their ending, but we may not end them the way that you know,” says Williamson. “We twist it around.”
Tell Me A Story had mixed reviews but ultimately it comes out as a winner. The opening credits are particularly beautiful, sucking you in until you almost believe you’ll be watching an animated show.
As this is an anthology series, some of the core cast members will be returning for Season 2, which promises the princess-themed tales Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.