The newest series from CBS’ fledgling streaming service has artfully combined three of the most recognizable children’s stories into a daunting tale of lost loves and new beginnings, all with a touch of the madness that seems to be going around.
“It’s a sandbox I haven’t played in in a really long time,” creator Kevin Williamson, whose varied résumé includes “Dawson’s Creek,” “The Following” and several “Scream” movies, told the Daily News.
Fresh off an eight-season run at The CW with “The Vampire Diaries,” Williamson seemed poised to take advantage of the no-rules playground at All Access, where his characters can curse and get naked whenever they like. But where shows on HBO and Showtime have struggled to find a balance, every R-rated moment in “Tell Me a Story” serves a purpose, from James Wolk standing naked in the shower, watching his girlfriend rejoice over a negative pregnancy test, to Paul Wesley’s torso-wide “F–k You” tattoo.
The plot, though scattered and interlocked with moving parts, is actually rather simple.
The first narrative thread, in “Three Little Pigs,” finds Jordan (Wolk) surviving a jewelry store robbery by three men in pig masks, including Wesley’s Eddie.
“He experiences trauma like he’s never experienced it before,” Wolk (“Zoo,” “The Crazy Ones”) told The News. “It pushes Jordan to this emotional state that the guy we first see starts to disappear. Because of the trauma that unfolds before him, he is hard set on trying to fix it. He has to put things back together. He needs to feel whole again. And to do that, he’s tracking down the people responsible.”
Wesley, reuniting with Williamson after starring as Stefan Salvatore on “The Vampire Diaries,” said he was looking for a new challenge after eight years as the do-good blood-sucker. He found that, he said, in the reluctant Eddie.
“There’s a relative passivity to Eddie. He’s one of these guys who’s not a natural-born leader,” Wesley told The News.