TV.com Throwdown: Once Upon a Time vs. Grimm

Sometimes it's not enough to let two similar things coexist amicably. Sometimes, it's necessary to label one of them as "better" so we can keep order in the world. We see similar trends, facsimiles, and straight-up rip-offs in television all the time; as such, we've decided to do our part to determine who does what better. And so we present our new Throwdown series, a semi-regular feature in which we'll pit two like things against each other and ask you, our good-looking and intelligent readers, to help us name a winner.

Our first topic is simply too easy to ignore: Two of the fall season's new shows—ABC's Once Upon a Time and NBC's Grimm—have brought fairy tales to primetime. And while yes, the fairy tale thing has been done before, we've never seen two such shows present new takes on "Little Red Riding Hood" and its ilk within a week of each other. But we're not here today to decide which show is better, we're here to ask...


Which show is more successful in bringing fairy tales to television, Once Upon a Time or Grimm?

Under a microscope, Once Upon a Time and Grimm are very different shows. Once Upon a Time is a serialized, high-concept mystery that alternates between two different universes, one fairy tale and one "real." Grimm is a procedural and always stays within a single, modern-day world. Their different approaches to bringing fairy tales to life have yielded very different results. Let's run down the basics and throw out some pros and cons with each approach:


Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time has left the world of fairy tales completely intact by giving the stories their own alternate universe. This creates a fantasy world where Snow White can be Snow White, and Prince Charming can be dashing as all heck. It's a place that looks like Disneyland after dark, full of elaborate get-ups, community theater-style makeup, and embellished acting as everyone really gets into character.

Pros: The mainstream vision of fairy tales isn't damaged in any way, we get to see ridiculous witch fights, and actual dwarves show up!

Cons: The two universes don't really cross over (yet?), and are we too old for these familiar fairy tales?


Grimm
Grimm, meanwhile, has opted to incorporate fairy tales into the real world by saying those old stories were actually real, creating a universe where fairy tale creatures both good and evil live in secret among normal, everyday people. The fairy tales themselves are tweaked or rewritten to fit into our universe, for better or for worse. Grimm also presents its take on fairy tales in a creepy alt-art way, rendering them almost unrecognizable from the pop-culture interpretations popularized by Disney and others.

Pros: We get to see cool, artistic interpretations of fairy tales in the real world (did you see the Big Bad Wolf's house in the pilot?), and the idea of fairy tales as legitimate folklore leads to real-world scares. Our hero can actually interact with the fairy tales.

Cons: The fairy tale creatures don't necessarily adhere to the classic stories we know them from, so really, what's the point?


So which approach do you prefer? Once Upon a Time serves up a traditional fairy tale preparation, complete with costumes and a self-contained fantasy world, while Grimm presents a scarier, more alternative take by recasting the familiar stories so they fit into the real world. And which show do you think is more successful in bringing fairy tales to TV? Make your case in the comments!

The best arguments will determine the winner, so come out swinging but please remember to keep it clean. (P.S. Got an idea for a future TV.com Throwdown? Email it to us at mailbag@tv.com!)


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Once upon a time is meh. Grimm is good but its a clear ripoff of lost girl
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I think both shows are absolutely awesome but my fav show ever is Grimm. i gotta say it's pretty cool! anyone who thinks both these shows suck need 2 watch them again (or for the first time) and then they will see how awesome they are and if they still dont think theyre the awesomest shows they should go away and get a life
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If I wanted to see a Fairy Tale I'd watch a Disney Movie but Grimm has more artistic thought put into it. Taking Fairy Tales and adding some imagination is something I want to see. Not the same boring crap we see. Unfortunately America doesn't really like very different shows and only want the crap they know and have seen, so it will fail like shows such as Pushing Daisy. SAD really.
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I stopped watching Grimm a long time back. I guess that shows which one I think has a better take on fairy tales.
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Both are boring as hell. Grimm is for teens (where the main character is stylized after Dylan Dog) and Once is just fallowing recent Hollywood fairytale boom. Nothing special.
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Once Upon a Time is like a lollipop, after two sucks its fainingly familiar. Grimm is like peanut-brittle you never know how it will crack.
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Staff
CLOSING THE POLLS GUYS! This was a surprisingly big response! Look for the wrap-up and winner announcement tomorrow, along with our next edition of Throwdown. And it's a good one!
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Final tally:



Once Upon a Time: 96

Grimm: 27
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I like once upon a time better then GRIMM. I find Grimm to be too much of a Supernaturalv(Which is the best show hands down) rip off and instead of focusing on the cool being a Grimm aspect it is too much of a cop show. I find the episodes are a long slow predictable build up to a quick finish (like most cop shows) Once upon a time keeps me wondering who will show up next and who each character is in the real world and what will happen next. I will keep watching Grimm when I can to see where it goes but I'm not as interested or excited about it as I am with Once Upon a Time.
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for me it is definitely Grimm.. it is dark, realistic, and gives a better perspective on "fairy tales re-visited for adults" premise.. whereas OUAT seems just like a "fairy tales re-produced", which feels too "family-friendly"..
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I prefer Grimm, but disclaimer I love both shows. Grimm is much darker, which I love, and reminds me a lot of Buffy & Angel (not surprising considering there is overlap with writers I believe). I hope Grimm's ratings pick up! I hate getting invested in a show only to have it cancelled.
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The main drawback of Grimm -and the reason I didn't watch anything past the pilot- was the cop drama aspect of it. If I want my creepy crawlies to have a procedural aspect to it, I'll stick with Supernatural. With Once Upon a Time, it has mystery and intrigue, mixed in with humor and great characters -save for Henry- both in the fairy tale world and the real one. It's got a lot of genre aspects to it, which is what makes it so appealing, as it's many great things mashed together to make something awesome. But watching CSI with a Brothers Grimm aspect to wasn't really that engaging. Make the main character a private eye, a la Harry Dresden, and it could have been better. So Once Upon a Time definitely wins out.
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This is a hard choice, because to me, it's hard to compare the two beyond just being based on faerie tales. So here's a few thoughts on each before I give my verdict...



Once Upon a Time: I enjoy this show to no end, save for the Henry kid, who is utterly annoying. That aside, I love the concept behind it, which leads to a dramatic over-arcing storyline for the entire season. It takes the classic Disney interpretations of our favourite faerie tales and adds a few twists (beyond the big one of being forced into the real world with no memory of their real faerie tale existence). Regina is deliciously evil, Emma is bad-ass, and true love seems to overcome all, even comas and reality displacement.



Grimm: I am enjoying this show, but it really hasn't grabbed me just yet. The whole procedural cop-thing is almost a bore, but then again, that's probably my fault for watching to much L&O and CSI. That aside, I like the concept that the Grimm faerie tales were real and that the Grimm Bros. and their progeny are hunting them down to make the world safe for man (even if it is a little bigoted). I'm still unclear on how all these faerie tale creatures can hide and look like humans, but it's cool that your bloodline allows you the ability to see them for what they are. And I like that some of the creatures are good and/or redeemable. What I like most about this series, though, is the fact that it seems to base their faerie tale creatures off the REAL Grimm tales, not the romanticised Disney versions. I mean, sure, I grew up with the Disney versions and love them, but have you ever read the Grimm tales? Those things are downright nasty!



So, in conclusion, which do I think does a better job of bring faeries tales to the small screen? Well, Once Upon a Time does good by Disney, and Grimm does good by the source material, so I am voting GRIMM, because the original trumps the remake 90% of the time.
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I prefer Once Upon A Time; it has a better storyline.
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I like both shows, but I find myself anticipating Once Upon A Time more than anything else that I watch right now.
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I watch them both - no need to choose! Now between either of these and a Reality show? No problem - definitely these!
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For me, there is no versus. They both stand alone just fine and I like them both for different reasons.
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something like that for me too :) always been a fan of fairy tales, so OUAT does it all for me.

I also like how Grimm is trying very hard to copy and be like Caprica - the darkness and etc.... but I don't like the main character, who in my opinion is in the show just too look like a model and acts also like one. You know when you get the feeling: oh it's a pretty boy trying to act - let's watch if he'll make it - and you get disappointed all the time. And that partner of his - omg - from the first moment on screen i could not and still cannot buy that he is a cop. Everything about him - i just can't buy it. no and no and no. But the rest of the cast and the story is still watchable or comes pretty close to that.
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Lead actors in TV shows are usually attractive aren't they? Either that or very sarcastic.;) Sometimes the whole cast is beautiful. I reckon Giuntoli's acting isn't that bad and will probably improve as the season progresses. :)
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TV show Throwdown? Did you guys ever finish that darn Network Throwdown?
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Good question.
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That was just Round 1. The announcement of Round 2 will be unveiled during an elaborate press conference at Staples Center.
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I don't like either. Neither make the best use of the material they're shoehorning in but if I have to choose one, Once Upon A Time has Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin. Clear winner. But, if neither make it to a second series I won't care.
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Grimm is good but for me it did not live up to the hype. It just seems like Law and Order with monsters. Once Upon a Time is AMAZING and well crafted and simply an amazing show!
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I like Fables, the comic book series that both shows ripped off.
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I read Fables, from the start. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but don't they know who they are in Fables? Aren't they all aware of who they are, where they are from, etc.? I don't see that in Once Upon a Time. And Grimm a ripoff of Fables?



Maybe you should go back and reread it.
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I agree with CoffeeCake225. They are both very different shows. One Upon A Time let's me relive the fairytales of my childhood. While Grimm shows me how the characters would live in our real world today. I find both of them entertaining and would love to see them grow and evolve... I can't wait.
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Grimm is very much the way the fairytales were written while OUAT is a modern take on the classics, and both have a lot of value it just depends what you are looking for
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Grimm has better art direction/ set design, character development and more genuinely dark and mature themes.

Once upon a time, on the other hand, seems to be initially for both children and adults and therefore is far more tame and uneventfull. Besides that the fairytale sets/costumes are very tacky and uninspiring. For me Grimm is the clear winner!
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both shows are good. you can't really compare them though, even if they both have a "fairytale" quality thats pretty much all they have in common.
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Both shows are awesome but if I have to choose only one than it would be Once Upon a Time.
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Both shows amazing but trying to pick one don't think I could.
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There was some confusion about my last entry, to be clear: Once Upon a Time is a well written show with a unique take on the fairy tale universe while maintaining our familiar ideas of that universe. Grimm is (and I hope most commenters agree) a cop show with fale tale stuff. Grimm is cheesey and derived, yet a solid show for those reasons. I like them both, but it is more like a 7:3.
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Hmm, that's a tough one, because I prefer the style of Grimm but feel it has been lacklustre so far, whereas OUaT isn't my cup of tea, but it is better done. So I'm going to have to vote for Supernatural. ;)
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I really love both Once and Grimm. They are really totally different in every way, and they are both well written and well played; also, they both leave me wanting more each time they end. Bravo that we have these two excellent shows to watch!
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I'm enjoying Grimm way more than Once Upon a Time. Grimm may have it's flaws, but to me OUAT is just utter crap. I especially dislike the flashbacks, mainly because I feel like I already know how things are going to play out and I'm just watching the obvious happen. Very slowly.

Actually, I feel the entire series has that problem; we already know what's going to happen: the residents of Storybrooke will figure out what's going on (that at least a full season right there), they'll confront the Evil Queen, they'll figure out a way to get back, they'll have to decide if they really want to go back, and then Emma and the kid will have to decide as well.



I hope I'm wrong and something unexpected will happen, but I'm afraid it won't, because this seems to be working for most people just fine.
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I will agree that the stroylines can be predictable; however, the great thing about Once Upon a Time is that you get to have a plausable twist to familiar stories, whereas Grimm is a Cop show with fairy tale stuff in it. By its very nature, Grimm is exceptionally predictable. Once Upon a Time's entire premise is how to get back to the happy endings, what you described above is there plot not the path.
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People seem to hate the fact that Grim is part cop show but really thats a great idea. So many shows where its good vs evil in a Supernatural way either have to get a cop on their side or face been arrested. The Winchester brothers are always getting in trouble with the law and have to pretend to be FBI agents to get on a crime scene. In Charmed I believe there was a cop involved...(that show was awful) Buffy was OK cause when she killed vampires they disappeared into dust. In Teen Wolf the side kicks dad is a cop. etc etc In Fringe and X Files its FBI agents exploring the paranormal...and although I don't really want to put Grimm in the same category as these two pieces of televisual genius its the same in that they won't have to keep running from the law or lying their way onto crime scenes. Don't get me wrong...I love Supernatural but the number of times they have managed to escape from prison....I think their faces would be plastered all over the FBIs most wanted board.

Also lots of shows have shaky beginnings. Sometimes its not till half way through the 1st season that things really start getting good...I can't help it...I tend to stick up for the underdog....
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I actually really enjoy the fact that the Winchesters have to act outside the law. It adds a whole new level of jeopardy when they have to escape the police, and I really enjoy when they have to act as cops, priests, students, reporters or whatever. It adds an element of fun, and it keeps it different from week to week. Mostly, I really enjoy the feel of the hunting world in Supernatural, how it's a deeply underground subculture, and the people who are hunters cannot live normal lives, they are isolated from mainstream society. It gives it a darker, edgier feel. And there are so many cop shows on TV, and so many paranormal shows have had cops as their leads or sidekicks, it's fun to have an outlaw supernatural show. And remember that cops might have the advantages you mention, but they have the disadvantages of having to play by the rules, and always having other cops looking over their shoulders. And the Winchesters aren't plastered all over the FBI Most Wanted board because they're officially dead. I think outlaws are much more entertaining than cops in this context.
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Supernatural is one of my favourite shows. Grimm has just started and I have no idea whether it will end up being any good or not, I was merely defending a paradigm that so many were saying was a bad thing. Also by the 7th season of Supernatural they have had to lie, escape prison, fake their own deaths so many times....I know that they are "officially dead"...I watch it too.... but without any DNA evidence or any evidence at all to prove that, save the words of one cop, I really don't think the FBI would believe it. I am however prepared to suspend belief for the sake of the Winchesters and a show that I love and am loyal to. I agree outlaws are more fun but I think 7 seasons should be the limit. :)
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Well, to be fair, in seven seasons they have only had to escape from jail twice (I'm not counting Folsom Prison Blues because they went into the prison on purpose with the help of the warden to get rid of a ghost) and they faked their own deaths twice. So twice in seven seasons isn't like it happens all the time. And I'm really hoping for a season 8, personally. Season 7 is kicking ass, and the new writers are awesome. Also, it wasn't just the word of the Sheriff, it was also the coroner, and the coroner would've filed a report with photos, DNA, evidence, etc., because that's what coroners do. They couldn't leave the cloned bodies intact because the leviathans would've revived.
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It's my favorite ep of the season, I may have watched it a few times. :) And I agree, I much prefer talking about Supernatural too. Nice talking to ya!
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I bow to your superior knowledge of the episode. :) I think we've gone slightly off topic here. I much prefer talking about Supernatural than either of those other 2 shows :)
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Once Upon a Time is better than Grimm dont know why it just has better story and is more addicting.
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Here's the updated official tally, with the help of diamonddust: (Once again, because I had nothing better to do.)



One Upon a Time: 86

Grimm: 22

Undecided: 21

Hates Them Both: 2

Supernatural: 2



Some new categories were added, but Once Upon a time continues to maintain a more than healthy lead.
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Wow! Two spelling mistakes in one post. This guy is an idiot.
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Well, if I'd known we could vote for Supernatural, I definitely would've voted for that! :)
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Haha! Yeah, a few commenters took it upon themselves to add Supernatural to the debate.
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Arch_Angel88 I love you. Just thought you should know.
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I really like both shows and I never miss the airings of either one's new episode each week! Still, an easy choice for me between the two because I actually look forward to the next episode of Grimm each week. Whereas with OUAT, I do enjoy the plot's strong similarities to the original fairy tales and how they've gone about making it a more "updated account" of all the separate stories, all pulled together.and incorperated into present-day times. Although its brilliant how they've done that so far, the show is still so chessy and just not nearly as exciting anticipating the coming week's episode. And unlike OUAT, Grimm caught my immediate attention and liking from the first episode, Leaving me already wanting to see the next episode just knowing the one I'm watching has nearing ended. I can't wait to see how this TV version of the "tales of Grimm"(if you will... those that we all know and love,) are portrayed and explained as they lay them out throughout the rest of the series. With that said, without any doubt, I side with Grimm over OUAT!
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Is it too late to put in Supernatural above both? Hell, Supernatural had a great episode entirely devoted to the Grimm fairy tales done in a 'real world' way as it is. I honestly had a hard time watching the pilot of Grimm and not seeing it as a watered down Supernatural.
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GRIMM - - at least it doesn't have Jennifer Morrison on board.
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NON!

both are very very bad tv shows
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Once Upon A Time, definitely! It's the same old stories but in some new, fresh & funny way!
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Once upon a time. I think Grimm is slightly too predictable. You could guess the ending of the pilot, which is not an impressive start for a show.
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Once Upon A Time. Grimm would have been better if the leads weren't (yet another) investigators.
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Seriously is this real? GRIMM hands down, it seems like once upon a time is another drama with childhood twists. I want something original and unique and GRIMM has it I dont even care for sci-fi movies and I love this show!!! It revamps interest in fairtales with the adults who have heard these tales forever and gives it a whole new perspective where as once upon a time simply sticks to the original plot of the fairytales?> Also has anyone ever even read the real Grimm fairytales they were dark and twisted not some disney toddler story.
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Perhaps it is because you don't care for sci-fi that you find Grimm so much better than Once Upon A Time. Personally, I don't see the new perspective on Grimm. The fact that fairytales are darker than what Disney made them out to be has been done before, both in television, novels and whatever medium else. Most of the people here have indeed read the real Grimm fairytales, but just because Once Upon A Time is of a lighter tone, doesn't mean it isn't original or unique. The placement of the show, it's parallel world and the fact that fairytale characters are, for once, exactly as you remember them from childhood stories, is more unique than Grimm's procedural cop-against-a-supernatural-twist set-up.



To each his own, ofcourse, I like Grimm as well, I just wanted to add this.
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Someone doesn't like scifi and therefore that might be why they like Grimm better? What does either show have to do with scifi? They are both fantasy. I love scifi and prefer Grimm so far... but I'd rather watch Fringe;)
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I think scifi was just short for the scifi/fantasy genre--they're always lumped in together. And Anouk was responding to Jamie saying Grimm is"original and unique," and her point was that, not being an adept of the genre, he hasn't seen all the movies, books and tv shows that have done it before. She wasn't saying that, in general, people who don't like scifi will like Grimm. Just that if they like Grimm because they think it is "original and unique," then not being a fan of the genre and not having seen it done before could have something to do with it.
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Point taken. I've seen it and done it all before;) I'm not so bothered about lack of derivation as I am about good writing, hopefully with a sense of humour. Fingers crossed for both shows:)
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Once Upon A Time is much better. Grimm is something I put on when I want to take a nap.
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OUAT is the chessiest show on TV! Did anyone see the witch fight with the woman from True Blood?!? I was sooooo embarrassed I had to change the channel. Give me a scare over the cheese! Grimm hands down.
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i don;t watch grim but i watch Once Upon a Time because it's a good story and it;s written by the guys who helped write lost.
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I really enjoy both shows. They appeal to different things that I want. I have always liked things ,like the 10th Kingdom, that modernize fairy tales or bring them into the real world. If forced to choose, I will say OUAT (that is the one I have bought the season of on Itunes) but I really look forward to watching both each week. I simply put OUAT a little ahead because it tends to be more feel good, and I love watching Prince 'James' Charming interact with Snow White.
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Once Upon A Time is better. Want proof? Just watch the friggin show!
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Staff
Supernatural
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Very cynically I'd like to add that as ABC is a Disney owned company Once Upon A Time could simply be a case of the largest media conglomerate in the world advertising its wares by way of a new TV show. All references so far to fairy tales have all been the Disney versions and not the original stories. I'm not saying its a good thing or a bad thing or that there is anything to dislike about the show. I'm just saying...
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This is the kind of anti-corporate conspiracy theory I would like to see more of on this site. It's actually a good theory! Just wait 'til they're advertising the 40th Anniversary DVD for Snow White every commercial break during OUAT...
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Once Upon a TIme is better! It actually makes me want to know what's next and find out more about the characters. Grimm is just a procedural with fairy tale characters as the bad guys and i'm not really convinced with the actor that plays Nick. I watch them both though.

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