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[personal profile] cjwatson
[livejournal.com profile] ghoti and I have been watching our way through Once Upon a Time. It's basically televised urban fantasy, subgenre "mining folk mythology for fun and profit". The central conceit is that fairy tales are real and their characters live in other realms, until an event where an ensemble-cast-ful of them are cursed into our world and lose their memories of the Enchanted Forest. Each episode interleaves the main present-day plot with flashback sequences from the fairy-tale past, which are used to great effect to develop individual characters. We're up to season four at the moment and still thoroughly enjoying it; the setting means that the show's creators can mix in new underlying tales from time to time, which does a good job of keeping things fresh.

Today [livejournal.com profile] ewx linked to a news article about a paper on phylogenetic/linguistic analysis of the roots of folktales. With this recent TV consumption, the main thing that jumped out at me was how neat it is that the "Beauty and the Beast" and "Rumpelstiltskin" tales are about the same age given the Belle/Rumpel relationship in "Once". If you're willing to accept the poetic reading of "time" as something like "recorded history" or "civilisation", "Beauty and the Beast" being around 4000 years old also puts a nice gloss on the Disney song "Tale as old as time / Song as old as rhyme" (which I only just found out was sung by Angela Lansbury in the film!).
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