Don’t expect Disneyfied fairytales in psychological thriller Tell Me A Story S2. The re-imagined fairytales are just as dark and twisted as they were in S1, when we saw a nail-biting version of The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel.

S2, which stands on its own and isn’t linked to S1, will reinvent Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Beauty & The Beast into something dark and sinister… or at least highlight the disturbing elements already hidden deep in these children’s stories.

“I think it’s more fun to live in the real world and play with all these ideas in the series. And it’s fun to reinterpret them, because you get to add things, you get to put your spin on it. But really it is just taking the ideas because there are so many different versions of these fairytales in any given country,” says series creator Kevin Williamson, who combined the classic storylines to highlight their themes in a modern tale of love, lust, greed and murder.

Kevin adds the success of the new versions lies with the writers. “Most of them are female, and they took these storylines and really twisted them up in a fun way, and in ways that I wouldn’t have even imagined or that I would have thought of myself.”

Family first

The new season focuses on the Nashville-based Pruitt family, which connects the three fairytales. Mom Rebecca Pruitt (Carrie-Anne Moss) is the matriarch of this dysfunctional family, and she is trying to help her children, troublesome Jackson (Matt Lauria), middle-daughter Maddie (Odette Annable) and rising music star Ashley (Natalie Alyn Lind), in their own respective stories.

“Rebecca starts off one way, and pretty quickly gets humbled, and has to kind of put things together because of an event that happens right at the beginning of the season. It’s like the rug comes right from underneath her and now she has to look out for her family,” says Carrie-Anne.

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Sleeping Beauty

Maddie’s fiancé, aspiring writer Tucker Reed, played by The Vampire Diaries’ Paul Wesley, carries a dark secret that reveals itself early in the season. “He’s a guy who had a lot of trauma in his childhood, and I think, as a result of that, he’s with it just in a really unhealthy way. I think we all deal with things, but it’s about how we deal with them. And Tucker is the extreme example of how not to deal with things,” warns Paul.

Tucker combines elements of both the Wicked Fairy who curses Sleeping Beauty, and Sleeping Beauty herself, when he falls into a deep coma after a shootout. His fiancée, Maddie, tales on the role of the Prince in the Sleeping Beauty story, and comes to Tucker’s aid every time when he finds himself in a crisis. Maddie is the peace-keeping overachiever who tries to maintain calm and control while her loved ones spiral.

Olivia Moon (Danielle Campbell) – a self-possessed, strong, smart and sly individual – also forms part of this Sleeping Beauty story. Olivia has left small-town life behind (including a small-town boyfriend) and moved to Nashville to pursue her Master’s degree in Philosophy And Comparative Literature. But fate has new plans for Olivia, and she’ll be forced to rely on every ounce of strength, brains and craftiness she’s got simply to survive. She befriends Tucker and Maddie and become part of their daily lives as she gets pulled into Tucker’s dark, secretive side.


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Cinderella

Simone Garland (Ashley Madekwe) is Tell Me A Story’s Cinderella. She returns to Nashville for her dad’s funeral and comes face to face with the rest of the Garland family, including her evil stepmom, Veronica (Garcelle Beauvais). She believes her dad was murdered and she suspects her stepmom had something to with it. As she digs around for incriminating evidence against Veronica, she meets Jackson Pruitt, a character who stands for the Prince from the Cinderella story. He strikes up a special relationship with Simone when their paths cross, even coming to her rescue when her life is in danger.


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Beauty & The Beast

Series creator Kevin Williamson has also put Beauty & The Beast through the gender-bender blender. Ashley’s music career takes a big knock in the beginning of the season: A car bomb explosion by a fanatical fan leaves her face disfigured and she holes herself up in her house, becoming the “Beast”. “This storyline has always been a male-dominated storyline. I thought, ‘Why can’t a woman be the beast in the story? Why can’t she be the one who has the journey?’” reveals Kevin.

Although disfigured, Ashley does find love in a way, in the form of her Beauty, Beau Morris (Eka Darville). He is a disgraced cop and now the head of Ashley’s security team. Through their daily interactions with each other, the two soon start a special relationship with a romance around the corner.


Colour coded

There is one Disney parallel that sharp-eyed fans might spot, though. Each princess story gets its own colour code. All three of the storylines intertwine, but the costume designers and set decorators came up with a colour scheme to set the three stories apart. The Sleeping Beauty storyline has a green-and-grey colour scheme, Cinderella has a red and more chaotic theme, while Beauty & The Beast is all about blue and gold.

Tell Me A Story S2 starts on Saturday, 23 May at 21:00 on M-Net (DStv 101) on DStv. Or watch it on Catch Up.

And if you want more, binge S1 from the beginning on Showmax.

Download and watch later

Get the DStv Now app (Apple or Android) and download episodes to watch on your phone or tablet – just remember to connect to the Wi-Fi first so there are no surprise data costs.

How to get Showmax

If you’re a DStv Premium subscriber, Showmax is included in your subscription - just go to the website to sign up. DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers can add Showmax to their subscription for just R49pm.