A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Many of the stories have lessons within them, especially the importance of courage. Negative behavior usually has consequences, though some villains escape without facing up to their actions.
Positive Role Models
A mixed bag, depending on the story and its characters, but villains typically are greedy, scheming, and vindictive, while the protagonists tend to be innocent, well-meaning, and altruistic. Even so, some resort to unsavory behavior such as stealing, which has consequences.
Violence & Scariness
Suspense and some scary moments as characters' fates hang in the balance. Some villains are cruel, and they use magic to hurt and ensnare people. Some characters wear masks that can be scary, too. Guns are used. Threatening comments such as "I'm going to make his brains into soup." No gore or even visible blood, though.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Veiled hints and wink-wink moments that will go over kids' heads, as when a man asks his wife if she'd like a cucumber as they start to kiss in bed.
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Name-calling such as "idiot" and "stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre is an award-winning series in which accomplished actors and actresses act out adaptations of well-known fairy tales such as "The Frog Prince," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Hansel and Gretel." Because every story is different and the live-action format can make precarious scenes seem even scarier than usual, this is a real know-your-kid situation. Some stories deal with threatening themes (vindictive stepmothers, baking kids in an oven, and a grandmother-eating wolf, for instance), weapons are visible, and magic is used as a weapon. Many of the tales offer lessons about positive traits such as honesty and humility. The show's dated special effects and elaborate costumes and sets might not be an instant hit with kids more attuned to CGI, but this superb series is quality entertainment for the whole family.
Is It Any Good?
They don't make TV shows like this anymore, which makes this vintage offering even more unique among families' many entertainment choices. Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre has a kind of grab-bag appeal because every story is different, and even the stories familiar to viewers have plot twists that often yield surprises. And then there's the show's unusual (by today's standards) production value and costumes -- a fun departure from modern entertainment styles, likely an acquired taste for younger viewers but delightfully suited to this presentation. Best of all, though, is the veritable who's who of Hollywood stars who lent their talents to the show over the years.
But although Faerie Tale Theatre makes for excellent family entertainment, it's also unpredictable in its content, so parents should take care in choosing episodes without scenarios that might scare their young kids. Whether it's a character's frightful costume or a threatening suggestion (talking to strangers could get you eaten in these kinds of stories), the fact that it plays out in live action makes the potential for scares a little greater than in cartoon or book versions. What's more, in many cases, the stories take unexpected turns, so even if your kids know the stories, there might be unexpected turns in these adaptations.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.