Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Syfy's Fairy Tale Films

The Silly, oops!, Syfy Channel* is making fairy tale movies, rather along the vein of the BBC's Fairy Tales of a few years ago.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Syfy is reinventing fairy tales and pop culture characters as part of its Saturday night TV movie franchise.

The network is airing five titles that give a contemporary twist on a classic story, from Hansel & Gretel (years after escaping the witch in the haunted forest, Hansel returns seeking revenge) to Little Red Riding Hood (a descendant of Little Red discovers her family secretly hunts werewolves).

"It's exciting to take a treasured brand and put our own sideways spin on it," said Thomas Vitale, executive vp programming and original movies at Syfy. "By turning familiar timeless stories inside out, we're creating an entertaining new genre for our popular Saturday night movie franchise."

The series is partly inspired by the network's mandate to find projects with broader appeal that began in earnest last year with the network's rebranding from Sci Fi to Syfy.

Beauty and the Beast, the first movie, airs on February 27th and I will try to post a reminder here closer to the date.

There isn't much information on the Syfy site yet, just the promo pic seen above which provides a glimpse at the tone of the movie.

But I did find this information at TV.com:

In this gritty celebration of Valentine's Day, a young Beauty (Estella Warren, Planet of the Apes) with a gift for healing helps a deformed Prince (Rhett Gilles, Wraiths of Roanoke) regain his throne and defeat the ruthless nobleman who wants to be king — and then together they try to destroy a power-hungry witch. Beauty and the Beast was directed by David Lister and written by Gavin Scott.

Said Thomas Vitale, Executive Vice President, Programming and Original Movies, Syfy:

"By turning familiar timeless stories inside out — like retelling Little Red Riding Hood as a werewolf tale or envisioning a dark version of Shrek — we're creating an entertaining new genre for our popular Saturday night movie franchise, which has become the television destination for fans of action-packed independent sci-fi, horror and fantasy films."

Here's a look at some of the other films in development:

Red — A young woman who is a descendant of the real Little Red Riding Hood brings her fiancé home, where he meets the family and learns about their business – hunting werewolves. He's skeptical until bitten by a werewolf. When her family insists he must be killed, Red tries saving him.

Hansel – Twenty years after his encounter with the witch, a grown-up Hansel returns to the haunted forest, seeking revenge. But there's a surprise waiting – his sister Gretel (who he thought had been killed) is the witch's protégée. (My favorite of the bunch.)

8TH Voyage of Sinbad — Sinbad searches for the golden head of the long lost Colossus of Rhodes and, instead, discovers an island where the mythical Minotaur still rules, protecting a vast treasure. Sinbad and his crew have to battle the creature and its minions to get the treasure and save their own lives.
Aladdin (working title) — After accidentally releasing an evil genie from an ancient lamp, Aladdin must find a way to imprison the genie again before it wreaks havoc on the world.

Black Forest – A group of naïve tourists take a sightseeing tour into a supposed enchanted forest, where they encounter evil creatures from the world of fantasy. Trapped in the Black Forest, their only hope of survival is fighting their way out.

I hope the series is successful and makes it onto DVD, too. So many of the made-for-tv movies enter the realm of 'never seen again' but I'm sure Syfy will rerun these frequently enough as well as distribute them internationally.

Once Upon a Blog also reported on this yesterday...

*I am NOT calling science fiction and fantasy silly here. I am still protesting SciFi Channel's rebranding into a silly name as well as logo design that now looks like Silly whenever I first look at it. I know there's a long standing debate over the diminuitive term 'sci-fi' which never much mattered to me--see 'Science fiction' vs. 'sci-fi'...? None of the above or Science Fiction vs. Sci-Fi for example--but I find syfy rather insulting myself for some reason.


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  2. While I am usually dubious at best about SyFy's brand of original films, these don't sound half bad, seeming to be in the vein of Tin Man. I'll have to DVR them.

    As a side note: I think the new name is dumb too, but I'm pretty sure a big reason for the change had to do with SciFi being the name of a genre, and therefore not able to be copyrighted, whereas SyFy can be. They didn't have a whole lot of options, except for changing the name altogether, and that probably would have caused more outcry.

  3. What gets me about this is that the executive of programming referred to fairy tales as a "treasured brand." Not beloved stories, not familiar favorites, but a marketing brand. Bodes ill for the series even coming close to the spirit of the originals.