The 10th Kingdom


5 90-minute episodes

fantasy elements

Grimm's fairy tales


[Video sleeve]

In the Nine Kingdoms, the lands where Grimm's fairy tales are real, it is two hundred years after the events of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Snow White, and "Happy Ever After" hasn't lasted. The Troll king breaks the evil Queen out of the Snow White Memorial Prison, and she turns Prince Wendell, Snow White's grandson, into a dog, as the first step in her plans to take over the Nine Kingdoms. But the dog escapes through a magic mirror, into New York's Central Park, where he runs into Virginia, a waitress on her way to work. The Queen sends a Wolf, and three Trolls, through the mirror to recapture the dog-prince, but the Wolf teams up with Virginia and her father instead, and the race is on to save Prince Wendell, and the Nine Kingdoms, from the Queen's evil plans.

We bought the videos a year ago when they first came out, and they've been sitting on the shelf ever since, waiting for an opportunity to view. The reviews were rather lukewarm, so we were in no great hurry. But once we started watching, we realised this was a little gem of a series, were rapidly hooked, and polished the whole thing off in less than a week.

From the marvellous opening credits of New York transforming into a fairy tale land, with the great title song sung by Miriam Stockley, this is a wonderful show. It is inventive and clever, being always witty, occasionally grim, and sometimes very funny, as the two very ordinary every-day heroes come face-to-face with their childhood fairy stories, yet are more interested in getting home again than in fulfilling their destiny and saving the day. All the cast, including the excellent dog, play it perfectly straight, as is necessary to stop something like this descending into silly camp nonsense, yet the whole thing is chock full of invention, and lovely absurd little details, that makes it great fun to watch. There are wonderful sets, stunning scenery, great use of all the details from the fairy stories themselves, and a plot that often defies cliche just at the point where you think you know what's going to happen next. Marvellous.

Rating: 2.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | unwatchable | unfinishable ]

reviewed 30 June 2001