“We either live happily ever after or we get killed by horrible curses.” – A quick glimpse of “The 10th Kingdom”
Mushrooms, swamp water, Wolf, and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” are some of the things that come to mind first whenever someone mentions “The 10th Kingdom”.
I’m not sure how I missed it when this miniseries first aired on television but I only ran into a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I put it on my Netflix queue, all three discs, and when the first one arrived I sat down expecting something rather cheesy. And for the first hour I have to admit that I found the plot, the acting and everything kinda corny. It wasn’t until after that first hour (out of nine) that I realized I was hooked on the story. I devoured the rest of the series and by the end I was wishing there was more to it!
The basic premise is that of two worlds: one is our own, normal as ever with Virginia who works as a waitress near central park and lives with her father (her mother left them when she was young) who is the “handyman” for their apartment building. She’s the type that feels like nothing exciting will happen in their lives and have resigned themselves to that.
Then we have the world of the Nine Kingdoms. These are divided up and based on what we call fairy tales but were about real people in that world. The focus is on Prince Wendell, who is soon to take the throne as king of the Fourth Kingdom, he is the grandson of Snow White and has to make a stop to overhear his evil stepmother’s parole request when things go terribly wrong.
From the beginning the two world collide and characters hop from one to the other and back again, dragging Virginia and her father, Tony, with them into danger and adventure while all they want is to find a way home. With characters such as the Troll King, his three children and the rather dashing and rakish Wolf, it’s hard to resist smiling and laughing as the action continues to draw you in.
At least, it drew me in. There were actually parts in the series where I found myself heartbroken and other moments where I was in tears. Toward the end I was biting my nails, unsure of what would actually happen. Believe me, I was surprised that a series that had started out so cheesy could suck me in so completely. Let’s top that off by saying that any time I hear “A Whiter Shade of Pale” I suddenly think of mushrooms. Singing mushrooms.
Watch it and you’ll see why.
Yes, it seems girly and cheesy and made for kids but trust me, there are many bits in it that are probably only understood by adults. And while I agree that it was hard for me to sit through the first bit, after that I didn’t want to press the stop button. Now when I rewatch it the beginning seems sweet and cute, not nearly as cheesy as I thought on that first watching.
If you need more to convince you, how about an amazing cast? Ed O’Neill as the Troll King (he’s hilarious!), Rutger Hauer as the Huntsman, Warwick Davis as Acorn the Dwarf, Dianne Wiest as the Evil Stepmother/Evil Queen, Scott Cohen as Wolf (if you’re female you’ll probably love him in this), and even John Larroquette as Tony, Virginia’s father. There are so many more amazing actors in it but those alone should be enough to convince you to put this on your Netflix queue and give it a try.
Let me know what you think if you watch it after reading this post. And if you’ve already seen it, did you like it at all? What were you favorite or least favorite parts? (I loved anything with Wolf in it. I just adore him!!)