This is a hybrid review/check this out post! Here at Urban-Fantasy.com, we don’t just cover the absolute newest Urban Fantasy for you. We’ll dig deep into the annals of UF television history for you too!
The 10th Kingdom is a sort of proto-Once Upon A Time type show. So if you’re a fan of that, you’re sure to enjoy this one.
This was a TV miniseries originally released in 2000, and that is when I saw it the first time, too. I happened to be staying with a family friend while my parents were out of town. They were recording it…otherwise I might have never even known about it. The show wasn’t even rereleased on DVD until 2013, after it had been unavailable for quite some time. I personally haven’t run into very many people that have seen it, so if you’re looking for something new, this might be a possibility for you. Even though it is eighteen years old now, my most recent viewing of it held up quite well.
It’s more than 150 years after Happily Ever After…and again the nine kingdoms are in upheaval. Prince Wendell White (the grandson of Snow White) is preparing for his coronation. The escape of his wicked Stepmother from prison has endangered him and his entire kingdom.
The story follows Wendell, and his unlikely companions – Wolf, a halfwolf escaped convict, and Virginia and her father Tony, New Yorkers. After Trolls invade their apartment looking for the runaway Prince, they must escape through a portal in Central Park. New York is the mythical 10th Kingdom, only reachable by magic mirror. This is where the Urban Fantasy elements of the story come in. Very little of the miniseries actually takes place in modern New York, leaving the audiences the newcomers into the fantasy realms just like Virginia and Tony.
It is a fun, tongue in cheek paean to fairy tales, with a good story to match. It happens to have two of the more impressive villains from fantasy shows from the aughts – the Evil Queen and her Huntsman. The Huntsman is unrelenting, calm, and intimidating, while the Queen hits all the right notes to be a truly feminine villain.
Virginia, the female lead of the show, is neither a manic pixie dream girl nor a badass flippy girl fighter. She is a normal girl, a waitress…slightly self absorbed, wary, and defensive, but not too bitchy or unsympathetic. It is refreshing for both Virginia and the Queen to be interesting and strong in their own way, without covering them with a veneer of masculinity.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story but I do present The 10th Kingdom for your watching consideration.
Each character has a definite arc, the setting is fun, and the story works well. The writers manage to hat tip most of the well known fairy tales without being too excessive about it.
The 10th Kingdom also has one of my favorite TV openings of all time:
Twisted fairy tales, evil huntsman, werewolves, trolls, dwarves, fairies, witches and singing mushrooms….The 10th Kingdom has it all. It may be more on the fairy tale/fantasy side of Urban Fantasy, but it’s definitely worth a watch. You can use all 400+ minutes of it to fill in some your time waiting for the next Dresden book.