Television

Tell Me a Story Contemplates Moral Responsibility in Bloodcurdling Fashion

The fairy-tale foundation never materializes, but the show will rattle your bones.

|

Tell Me a Story. The CW. Tuesday, July 28, 9 p.m.

Tell Me a Story is probably the oddest debut of the summer TV season, because it's not actually a debut at all. This series has actually been running for two years on the streaming service CBS All Access, and every episode that will air on The CW is, not-so-technically speaking, a rerun.

But somebody at CBS apparently figured Tell Me a Story—a sort of armed soap opera with a significant high school hot-bod component—could do bigger business on its over-the-air cousin The CW.

This was probably a pretty good guess. Tell Me a Story is not the reinvention of TV that producer-writer Kevin Williamson apparently hoped when he announced he was creating a program based on the Jungian dread of fairy tales.

But the veteran Williamson—who's masterminded everything from the maniacal Scream franchise, to the terrifying murder-cult drama The Following, to more teenage vampire claptrap than can be listed on cyberspace—can really rattle your bones even when he's not necessarily engaging your intellect.

And he certainly does so with Tell Me a Story, in which a bunch of dull and seemingly unrelated stories suddenly merge into a shudder-filled whole.

Tell Me a Story starts with four story arcs. In one, three seedy goofballs (including Michael Raymond-James of True Blood) are planning something unspecified but grim. In another, a moody teenage girl (Danielle Campbell, Runaways) has moved from California to New York, where she immediately clashes with her take-no-shit grandma (Kim Cattrall; yes, that Kim Cattrall). Cattrall, gleefully riffing on her own TV past, dismisses the girl's first-day-at-school outfit: "I was slutty when I was your age, too."

Then there's Jordan (James Wolk, Zoo) and Beth (grown-up teen star Spencer Grammer), whose mundane arguments over friends' at-home videos hint at the pair's dying relationship.

Last and arguably least, trainer Hannah (Dania Ramirez, Devious Maids) and her sleazy go-go dancer brother Gabe (Davi Santos—surely you remember him as the gold Power Ranger?) blunder into a crime that starts small and ends big and then turns huge.

For the first hour, these stories—inching forward in excruciatingly tiny bits because there are so many of them—range from dull to tedious to where's-the-remote? Telling the characters apart is way more work than it ought to be. And the closest thing to a laugh from the dialogue is a dotty line from a placard somebody's carrying at an anti-Trump demonstration: "THIS is my resting bitch face!"

But as the tales intersect and the characters collide, Tell Me a Story gains bloodcurdling momentum.

The supposed fairy-tale foundation of the show—it's theoretically built around Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and Hansel and Gretel—never materializes in a meaningful way. (Unless you count wondering whether Cattrall is going to actually be eaten by a wolf.)

Instead, Tell Me a Story is more like a contemplation of the moral responsibility of tossing, or even accidentally dropping, a pebble in a pond. Who's responsible for the ripples, or that "one tiny thread pulled in the universe that triggers a human hell of suffering," as one character puts it.

Though Tell Me a Story originally aired on a considerably more racy premium cable network, there doesn't seem to have been much cutting involved in bringing it to The CW, just a little blurring of some bare butts and bad words. It left me wondering whether The CW censors just missed, or deliberately left intact, a joke made after a teenage three-way: "It's like we're a triangle on one of those teen shows on a network I don't watch."

NEXT: Judge Orders Federal Officers in Portland To Stop Harassing and Assaulting Journalists and Legal Observers

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. job opportunity for everyone! Work from comfort of your home, on your computer And you cAn work with your own working hours. You cAn work this job As A pArt time or As A full time job. You cAn eArn from 65$ An hour to 1000$ A dAy! There is no limitAtions, it All depends from you And how much you wAnt to eArn eAch dAy…..click for jobs its a limited offER.

    1. Start earning today from $600 to $754 easily by working online from home. Last month i have generated and received $19663 from this job by giving this only maximum 2 hours a day of my life. Easiest job in the world and earning from this job are just awesome. Everybody can now get this job and start earning cash online right now by just follow instructions click on this link and vist tabs( Home, Media, Tech ) for more details thanks……Click for full Details

    2. ●▬▬▬▬PART TIME JOBS▬▬▬▬▬●

      I am making $165 an hour working from home. i was greatly surprised at the same time as my neighbour advised me she changed into averaging $ninety five however I see the way it works now. I experience masses freedom now that i’m my non-public boss. that is what I do…… ↓↓↓↓COPY THIS SITE↓↓↓↓

      HERE►Click for full Details

  2. The only show on the CW that was good was Supergirl and that was BEFORE they cut back on Melissa Benoist’s skimpy outfit.

    1. I love Benoist
      She makes me moist.

      1. Google easily work and google pays me every hour and every week just $5K to $8K for doing online work from home. I am a universty student and I work on my part time just 2 to 3 hours a day easily from home.NVc Now every one can earn extra cash for doing online home system and make a good life by just open this website and Follow instructions on this page…

        ►══════► Online Income Websites

    2. That’s a terrible show. It’s like every director tries to get Chyler Leigh to top the previous one in overwrought delivery, and every writers room team eventually remembers to undercut any nuance that finds its way into a plot.

  3. Google easily work and google pays me every hour and every week just $5K to $8K for doing online work from home. I am a universty student and I work n my part time just 2 to 3 hours a day easily from home. Now every one can earn extra cash for doing online home system and make a good life by just open this website and follow instructions on this page……click for jobs its a limited offER.

  4. Making every month from home by working online more than $18000k just in part time. I have made $1975300 in my last month from this easy home based job.Everybody can now get this job and start earning money online by follow instructions on this website.Go to this site home media tech tab for more details thanks you………… USA Dollars.Com  

  5. a nice post

  6. the news is very complete, I really like reading this blog dominoqq

  7. Making money online more than $15k just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job. Click For Full Detail.

  8. My last month paycheck was for 11000 … All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hourHERE? Read More

  9. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… FDe after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

    Here’s what I do………..► Home Profit System

  10. I have been working from home for 4 years now and I love it. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder and I make my own hours. The tips below are very informative and anyone currently working from home or planning to in the future could use these.Make 5000 bucks every month… Start doing online computer-based work through our website……………………<Click For Full Details.

  11. Thank you a lot for providing individuals with a very spectacular possibility to read critical reviews from this site. http://www.atlphotoboothrentals.com/

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.