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This is the best television series for children (and adults) ever. John Hurt is a great actor, with many excellent performances over many years, but he was born to play the storyteller. The scripts for almost every episode are superb pieces of craftsmanship, and the productions run the gamut of the emotions, being alternately funny, sad, happy, exciting, and always hauntingly beautiful. It is hard to pick a best episode from so many excellent contenders, but "The Soldier and Death", with its timeless pathos, is unbeatable. It is a series to watch with your children, over and over again.
I remember watching this show as a kid. It made quite an impression on
me, to be honest I was absolutely spellbound.
Quite recently I obtained a DVD-release and was somewhat amazed: It was just as good as I remembered it! This is not simply a bad case of nostalgia, this show is definitely something above the ordinary. We might have struck gold here..
The show is in nine stand alone episodes based on nine old folktales. (Mostly Russian or German) Not so "kidified" as most recent versions, just a little bit cruel, but always with a happy ending (with 2 exceptions)
The special effects (especially the creature effects ) still look really good even in this time of photo-realistic computer animation. If you take into account that this is a TV-production from 1987 the effects are absolutely outstanding! They give a much more living impression than many computer generated creatures I have seen of late.
The actor performances are maybe not always of academy award winning standard.. but I can live with that, and most probably so can you. Not all nine episodes are masterpieces either, but some come very close to being just that. "The Soldier and Death" is in my opinion one of the best and appears to be the first choice of most other reviewers. "Sapsorrow" (their version of Cinderella) is also worth mentioning. Maybe not for it's greatness but for the most enjoyable Disney reference. Very amusing.
When this was aired it had the added title: "Stories for grown up children" and that is a good description of what this is. Maybe not for the very youngest but perfect for anyone else. Especially anyone interested in folktales or anything fantasy-like.
i loved this series when i was 6 and now i own it on dvd i love it even more.The key to this(and all the other jim henson fantasies)is that if they had recreated all those monsters with a computer, it might have looked okay then but by now it would of been laughed at by any critical viewer.The stories are all so beautifully created they are extremeley hard to forget, and who said the title music was corny!! my favourite of all the stories is probably the three ravens in a close tye with the soldier and death. the only episode i dont like is hans my hedgehog, this can be forgiven as it was made as a pilot and probably had smaller budget, the camera is shakey storytellers makeup is different and hans mum and dad are two terribly annoying actors but all the rest are great buy and enjoy edward
Series as a whole - Jim Henson's best work. John Hurt *is* the
Often Oscar-caliber screenplays, not surprising when you consider
doing the writing. Oscar-caliber acting, always.
Sapsorrow - Everybody loves 'The Soldier and Death,' but something about 'Sapsorrow' pushes it an iota higher in my favor. In the first ballroom scene, the costumes, the music - perfection. Hurt and the dog typically semi-interact with the story, but this time Minghella pushes it up that extra notch in the 'ring' scene between Hurt and Sapsorrow. The chemistry between characters is especially well-developed, more so than usual in the series, in reference to the friendship between Straggletag and the prince. Seen it? See it again. Pay more attention (to those of you who don't fanatically adore this 22-minute piece of cinematic perfection). Never seen it? I am so, so sorry.
Luck Child - not as sophisticated as Sapsorrow, but very clever in its own right. This is a story about irony. Irony upon irony, within irony... I love it. Every character is acted to perfection, with the exception of the ferryman. He was doing drama; everyone else was doing romantic comedy. I forgive him. This is my favorite of the primarily comedic episodes, 'Sapsorrow' and 'The Soldier and Death' being examples of more dramatic episodes.
Side note: Greek Myths. What it lack in Minghella subtlety (different writer) it partially makes up for in boldness as it portrays the four chosen myths with more sympathy and respect and history than is usual. Also check out the Jim Henson Hour if you can get your hands on it. For Storyteller adicts, it features The Man Himself introducing the myths, the lion from 'True Bride,' and... No Annoying Opening Theme! Half Storyteller, half pure, unadulterated muppet wit.
Although the Soldier's story was the best - they were all marvellous. Good
stories, well told, and despite the animatronics, taken seriously by the
It was tucked away on Channel 4 in the UK. I missed one or two of them, but where as most rubbish gets repeated ad nausium - Storyteller wasn't. Typical.
Do not miss out. If this is on - tape it !
Beautiful art direction, excellent editing and wonderful stories make this some of the best television ever produced. The fact that it was relatively short lived is sadly reflective on the state of television. I highly recommend snatching these up as they're released, you'll love them.
Despite its pedigree, the most interesting things about this series are not
the animatronics or puppetry, which, while charming, are little more than
sideshows, at least in the story I saw, A STORY SHORT. In fact, loathe
though I am to admit it, the programme's chief pleasure lies in that most
ancient art, storytelling.
John Hurt, in Rowley Birken QC-mode, grotesque, medieval make-up, relates a story about story telling, seated by the fire, accompanied by a cynical dog. One winter's day, starving and poor, he spots a fellow beggar thrown out of the Royal Kitchen by the nasty cook. The Story Teller tricks this latter into giving them an excellent soup. Furious, the Cook pleads with the King for permission to boil the villain, but, pleased with the Story Teller's wit, the monarch offers him a reprieve - for 100 nights, he must tell the King a new story: if he fails to do so, he will hand him over to the cook.
The story may be old, but it's told with great gusto. Anthony Minghella's script is excellently dramatic (as befits a playwright), witty, and with some disturbing concerns beneath the fun, such as fears for the self, or the culturally self-generating power of storytelling, linked to the continuation of ideological power. For a programme aimed at children, it is bracingly self-reflexive (with little nonsense about film being the new oral culture); despite the Americanised style, there is a charming sense of medieval bustle, its grotesqueness and arbitrary terror, as well as its magic and power.
The Storyteller is a series that will age well, despite some use of primitive computer generated effects. It appeals to young and old, as long as there is still a sense of wonder and magic in the individual. It is beautifully, lyrically written and based on ancient stories that have been thoroughly researched. The actors are magnificent, as are the creatures which Jim Henson's team creates. The medieval score lends an authenticity to each episode and is thoroughly enchanting in its own right. There is a richness to the series that is not found in Disney, as there is no attempt to dumb down the stories for children. The best episodes are "The Three Ravens", "Straggletag" and "The Soldier and Death".
I wish I could remember more of this fabulous series. My memory is patchy, but I DO remember it being one of the most inventive, beautifully made and acted series ever shown on British television. It is insanity that they don't repeat
This is perhaps the best thing from Jim Henson since he did "The Dark Crystal".It's dark,brooding,and beautifully done. There are no cutesy poo monsters dancing around breaking out into broadway-esque songs. These are based on folk-tales from Britain, Scandinavia and Russia. There is not one episode I dislike. If you want more brooding fantasies from Jim Henson, also watch some segments from "Jim Henson HOUR".
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