Hi I want to talk to you about The 10th Kingdom


Almost two decades ago the world’s best ‘modern fairytale’ fantasy tv series was made. Before all the new ones with edgy writing and bundles of CGI. While I visited @sugarkillsall we watched it and found out the whole thing is actually on YouTube so I can freely advise everyone to CHECK THIS SERIES OUT this very second. 

It’s sometimes silly and campy but when you get to the end it smacks you full across the face with the most genuine, raw character development. It brings me to tears even 20 years later. It has the guy from Blade Runner in it.

The story: all our old fairytales are the true history of a world in a parallel dimension. Separated into 9 kingdoms, it’s been 200 years since the golden age of the Five Women Who Changed History – Snow White, Cinderella, Queen Riding Hood, Gretel the Great and the Lady Rapunzel. Snow White’s descendant, Prince Wendell, is soon to be crowned King of the 4th kingdom, but an evil Queen imprisoned for years has been plotting her escape and revenge against his family. 


In New York, a Central Park waitress named Virginia ends up finding the gateway to the fantasy realm with her father Tony. She rejects the idea that it’s her destiny to stop the Queen, but will find out the world of magic and legend holds answers she has wanted for most of her life. They also meet Wolf, a half-wolf man who embodies hunger and lust in the way Big Bad Wolves do, sent to infiltrate them on the orders of the Queen, but who falls in love with Virginia at first sight. (He reminds me of an Edward Cullen written well – in constant despair over his conflicting urges but hamming it up to its fullest extent) (Also after Virginia rejects him he spends the entire series trying to find ways to improve himself until he can be worthy of her)

The series references many typical fairytale aspects and tropes, but is centrally tied to the story of Snow White, her grandson, and the stepmother who tried to poison her child with an apple out of jealousy. Virginia’s story is one of finding how to trust and love again after emotional trauma, and that the relationships you make yourself are stronger than the ones you’re born into.

Each episode comes to 1h20m long and there are 5 episodes. (These youtube vids run longer because part of the episode repeats and can be ignored, I assume to evade copyright rules)

Episode 1 (above): The opening of a portal in Central Park enables the two worlds to overlap. The Evil Queen escapes prison and turns Prince Wendell into a dog, who escapes to our world trying to find help before she takes over his entire realm. He returns with Virginia, her father Tony, and Wolf trying to catch them, transported through a magical travelling mirror. [Starts a little slow but doesn’t rush the characterisation]

Episode 2: After a prison escape, the mirror ends up on a boatful of random antiques, and the group chase after it to try and return home, requiring passing through a forest patrolled by the remorseless Huntsman. Virginia’s natural empathy gets her cursed. [6/10 slight unfortunate racism that wouldn’t fly nowadays]

Episode 3: The evil Queen’s supposed partner in crime, the Troll King, has gone rogue and is ravaging villages in the 4th kingdom against her plans. The mirror has ended up in a little country town and been set up as a prize in the annual village fair – for the winner of the best shepherdess competition, which Virginia must now try to win… but the Peep family, descended from Bo Peep herself, always take every prize. [10/10 repeat everything said in a west country accent for best viewing experience]

Episode 4: After discovering that the mirror is up for auction in Kissing Town, the group need to find a way to drastically increase their wealth to bid on it, and attempt gambling. However, the innate romanticism of the town nudges Wolf and Virginia closer, and puts Wolf in a crisis. They then trek to the underground dwarven mines in search of answers and find some unexpected ones. [Yeet that singing ring out of here 8/10]

Episode 5: Prince Wendell – or rather, the Queen’s fake Wendell, a dog in the body of the Prince, is finally to be crowned King, and dignitaries from every kingdom will attend. In a swamp Virginia discovers the forgotten crypt of the original evil stepmother, and learns how to defeat the Queen – and then doubts that she can go through with it. [GHGFG HEART HURTY]

And I’m going to spoil a little part near the end for how important I think it is, when Virginia meets the actual Snow White. The woman who was targeted for death for her sheer beauty. The legendary woman who was known objectively as The Fairest of Them All. She appears and she looks like this. 


She is not young and she is not thin, and she is the most gorgeous person the realm has ever known, and she retells her tale in her own words, from fleeing her home to biting a poisoned apple. She comforts Virginia for not knowing how to navigate a world, her world, of dangers and risks. 

“You’re still lost in the forest. But lonely, lost girls like us can rescue themselves. You are standing on the edge of greatness.”

“No I’m not! I’m not, I’m nothing… I’m useless.”


“You will one day be like me. You will be a great advisor to other lost girls. Come. Stand up.”

Virginia barely remembers her mother and has never had good loving advice from anyone and has grown to pretend she doesn’t need help, and gets one fleeting moment where she can admit her vulnerability and fear of being too worthless to be loved. And the most renowned woman in this universe tells her she’s going to be amazing. 

This short series is both a love letter and a deconstruction of the genre and it did it earlier and better than the slew of other modern ones which followed. It ties a magical fantasy together with a very complex and understandable emotional heart. Please give it a shot if you want a relatively short series with great characters to settle into! 

And if none of that convinced you, I’m begging you to watch this clip: