Tell Me a Story (TV series)
Tell Me a Story is an American psychological thriller web television anthology series, based on the Spanish television series Cuéntame un Cuento created by Marcos Osorio Vidal, that premiered on October 31, 2018, on CBS All Access. The series was created by Kevin Williamson and stars James Wolk, Billy Magnussen, Dania Ramirez, Danielle Campbell, Dorian Crossmond Missick, Sam Jaeger, Davi Santos, Michael Raymond-James, Zabryna Guevara, Paul Wesley, and Kim Cattrall. On December 17, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.
|Tell Me a Story|
|Created by||Kevin Williamson|
|Based on||Érase una vez|
by Marcos Osorio Vidal
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–53 minutes|
|Original network||CBS All Access|
|Original release||October 31, 2018 –|
Tell Me a Story takes "the world’s most beloved fairy tales and reimagines them as a dark and twisted psychological thriller. Set in modern day New York City, the first season of this serialized drama interweaves The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel into an epic and subversive tale of love, loss, greed, revenge and murder." The second season of the show, set in Nashville, Tennessee, reimagines the princess-themed tales Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.
Cast and charactersEdit
- James Wolk as Jordan Evans, a restaurateur in New York City who sets out to exact revenge against the men responsible for his fiancée's death. He is also Tim Powell’s best friend. Evans' fairy-tale counterpart is the Big Bad Wolf from The Three Little Pigs.
- Billy Magnussen as Joshua "Nick" Sullivan, a high school teacher who engages in a relationship with one of his students. Sullivan's fairy-tale counterpart is the Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.
- Dania Ramirez as Hannah Perez, an Army veteran who returns to her hometown of New York City and who has issues with her mother and her stepfather. Perez's fairy-tale counterpart is Gretel.
- Danielle Campbell as Kayla Powell, a high school senior who recently moved to New York with her father and is still processing the death of her mother. She is in a sexual relationship with her teacher Nick Sullivan. Powell's fairy-tale counterpart is Little Red Riding Hood.
- Dorian Crossmond Missick as Sam Reynolds, the leader of a group of criminals, who is also an NYPD detective. Sam's fairy-tale counterpart is one of the Three Little Pigs.
- Sam Jaeger as Tim Powell, a widower father who moves to New York City with his daughter following his wife's death. Powell's fairy-tale counterparts are Little Red Riding Hood's mother and the Woodcutter.
- Davi Santos as Gabe Perez, Hannah's brother who accidentally kills someone and who has a drug addiction. Perez's fairy-tale counterpart is Hansel.
- Michael Raymond-James as Mitch Longo, a blue collar worker who struggles to provide for his wife and who occasionally pulls off crimes with his brother Eddie. Longo's fairy-tale counterpart is one of the Three Little Pigs.
- Zabryna Guevara as Renee Garcia, a detective with the New York Police Department
- Paul Wesley as Eddie Longo, a bartender and low-level drug dealer who struggles with a drug addiction himself. He operates as a part-time thief with his brother Mitch in order to pay a debt to his drug dealer, Manny. Longo's fairy-tale counterpart is one of the Three Little Pigs.
- Kim Cattrall as Colleen Powell, a former chorus girl and Tim's mother. Powell's fairy-tale counterpart is Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother.
- Paul Wesley as Tucker, an aspiring writer trying to prove his worth who struggles with a dark and catastrophic secret
- Matt Lauria as Jackson, the black sheep of a family who is torn between his demons and the desire to be a better man
- Eka Darville as Beau, whose adherence to a moral code has recently blown up both his personal and professional life and struggles to navigate his new reality
- Ashley Madekwe as Simone, who is forced to come face-to-face with the life she purposefully left behind, and will put her own life in danger to uncover her family’s dark secrets. Madekwe's fairy-tale counterpart is Cinderella from Cinderella.
- Odette Annable as Maddie, the peace-keeping, overachieving middle child in a broken family
- Natalie Alyn Lind as Ashley Rose, a rising country music star who survives a brutal attack, then confines herself to her home
- Danielle Campbell as Olivia, a self-absorbed school-oriented girl who moves to Nashville to further her career, but will have to really show her strength for survival
- Carrie-Anne Moss as Rebecca, Ashley's mother and a single mother of three, who faces relationship problems with her children, and who finally starts to live for herself
- Phillip Rhys as Damien Hewett, a slick, straight-shooting record executive to rising country music singer Ashley Rose
- Paulina Singer as Laney Reed, a classmate of Kayla's who she quickly befriends and shares her secrets with
- Kurt Yaeger as Terry, Hannah's veteran from the war who is also disabled, but still sharp at his craft for long range shooting. He joins forces with Hannah against the people who threaten her.
- Becki Newton as Katrina Thorne, the manager of the hotel where Tim works, and later his girlfriend. She also harbors secrets of her own, each with their own deadly goals. Thorne's fairy-tale counterpart is the Witch from Hansel and Gretel.
- Spencer Grammer as Beth, Jordan's girlfriend who was killed and later guides him on his quest as a figment of his imagination
- Rarmian Newton as Ethan Davies, a classmate of Kayla's who becomes obsessed with her and appears to have signs of a dangerous mental illness
- Justine Cotsonas as Carla, Eddie's girlfriend who he wants to run away with
- Tonya Glanz as Shelley, Mitch's wife who knows nothing of what he really did and who he is
- James Martinez as Olsen, a dirty cop working for Sam
- Debra Monk as Esther Thorne, Katrina's mother who works for her daughter in kidnapping and getting what she wants from their clients
- Luke Guldan as Billy, Gabe's boyfriend and roommate who is also a stripper and sex worker who accidentally kills a powerful man
- Jennifer Ikeda as Rita, someone working with Jordan to find out who killed Beth
- Sanjit De Silva as Mark, someone working with Jordan to find out who killed Beth
- Dan Amboyer as Blake, a male stripper and sex worker who works with Billy and Gabe
- Polly Draper as Madeline, Hannah and Gabe's mother who abandoned them and their father many years ago, and who Hannah resents
- Claire Saunders as Vicki, a friend of Kayla
- David Andrews as Richard Winston, Hannah and Gabe's step-father who truly cares for them and wants to help them
- Elliot Villar as Detective Herrera, one of two cops who are investigating Beth's murder
- Quincy Chad as Detective Grant, one of two cops who are investigating Beth's murder
- Simone Missick as Mariana Reynolds, Sam's wife who is in the dark
- Marguerite Moreau as Abby Powell, Kayla's mother who mysteriously died. (season 1)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Chapter 1: Hope"||Liz Friedlander||Kevin Williamson||October 31, 2018|
|Kayla and her father have moved from LA to New York to live with her grandmother, Colleen, after her mother's death. Kayla does not like the move and cannot relate to anyone. In an attempt to fit in, she sneaks out with a girl from school and gets into a bar using a fake ID. There she meets Nick Sullivan, who she quickly has sex with. She later finds out he is her new teacher. Jordan Evans and his girlfriend Beth have been fighting over Jordan wanting to marry and have children, while Beth does not want to bring a child into the world. Gabe Perez and his roommate Billy are dancers and escorts who take a man up to his room one night; when Billy tries to steal from the man, a fight ensues and the man is accidentally killed. Gabe calls his sister Hannah to clean up the mess and they stage it to look like an accident. A group of friends who each have their own needs for money decide to rob a jewelry store, just as Beth and Jordan decide they want to marry and go to purchase rings. The Three Little Pigs' job goes wrong, and Beth is shot dead.|
|2||"Chapter 2: Loss"||Liz Friedlander||Eduardo Javier Canto & Ryan Maldonado||November 8, 2018|
|Jordan is questioned by the police to see if he can identify anything about the murders, to which he only knows what Eddie looked like. The police are later able to identify Eddie and Garcia tells him she knows he did not kill those people, but wants more information. She later has him participate in a lineup and Jordan identifies him as the man who killed Beth. However, Eddie cannot yet be charged. Nick is worried about getting fired and possibly in trouble after having sex with Kayla, but she tells him not to worry about it. Kayla and her friends skip school the next day and Laney tries to get her to tell them what she is hiding, but she refuses to share. Hannah investigates the man who Gabe accidentally killed and learns that he was caught up in shady business. It is later reported on the news that his body was found in the bottom of the river. After a fight with her parents, Kayla storms out and ends up seeking comfort in Nick. Jordan later visits Eddie at work, which scares him, but Mitch tells him to not be paranoid as Jordan watches Eddie from outside his window.|
|3||"Chapter 3: Greed"||Mark Tonderai||Hollie Overton||November 15, 2018|
|Jordan feels like the police are ignoring him and that Beth's murder will never be solved. Hannah wanting to have something to protect herself, turns on Dan's phone and hears Sam on the other end of the line. She hangs up and throws the phone away but finds a storage unit card. Kayla must start working for Colleen, and is visited by Ethan, who knows about her and Nick, and tries to blackmail her. Laney confronts Ethan about what he knows, which almost leads to Kayla and Nick’s relationship being outed. Mitch and Eddie try to get their money from Sam, who threatens them. Jordan sneaks into Eddie's house and almost kills him but cannot go through with it. Hannah finds that Dan had two million dollars and wants to take it and start a new life with Gabe who does not want to. Kayla goes to Nick's to see how he is where they talk about their relationship, before having sex again. Gabe comes home to find Billy dead and tortured and realizes that whoever killed him is after Hannah. Before she can escape, she is attacked by a man looking for the money. She ends up killing him and leaving with the money.|
|4||"Chapter 4: Rage"||Mark Tonderai||Kim Clements||November 22, 2018|
|Jordan goes to the police but Garcia tells him that he has tampered with the investigation and he hasn’t helped. Kayla and Nick’s relationship grows, with Nick becoming worried about Kayla talking to Ethan after he finds he has a police record. Hannah and Gabe leave for North Carolina. Kayla spends the day with Ethan and he ends up sexually assaulting her, with Colleen breaking it up; which makes her curious at Kayla’s actions. Hannah reveals she was injured while serving in the military. Jordan tries to get Eddie’s girlfriend to reveal to him what he did, but she and Eddie end up beating him up and threatening him to stay away. Ethan later texts Nick a picture of him kissing Kayla, with the words “you’re done”. While Hannah is sleeping, Gabe instead drives them to their enstranged mother’s house.|
|5||"Chapter 5: Madness"||Solvan "Slick" Naim||Heather Zuhlke||November 29, 2018|
|Jordan has been seeing visions of Beth who tells him that she does not want him to go on revenge; he ignores them. Nick tracks down Ethan and ties him up and makes him delete all of the photos and everyone he sent it to. Hannah cannot forgive her mother for abandoning her family many years ago and does not want anything to do with her. Richard, her new husband, sets her and Gabe up with tickets to their house in Puerto Rico. Tim finds out about Kayla's wrongdoings and punishes her while she continues to ice him out. Jordan later taunts Mitch outside his house. Mitch goes to Paul's house to talk about Jordan when they are attacked with a decapitated pig head and threatened by Jordan for Sam's name. Before Hannah and Gave leave, she makes sure to crash her mother's wealthy client party where she lets her mother find out about how hard her life has been. Nick doesn't trust Ethan's word, so he kills him and buries his body. Kayla confronts Tim and wants nothing to do with him since he was cheating on her mom which indirectly caused her mother to die. Kayla once again turns to Nick and almost finds him with blood on him before they have sex again.|
|6||"Chapter 6: Guilt"||Jeff T. Thomas||Mary Leah Sutton||December 6, 2018|
|Nick is still posing as Ethan. Mitch gives Eddie four-thousand dollars so he and Carla can get out of town. Kayla skips school and spends the day with Nick; and things are going well until he tells her he loves her, which scares her. Jordan once again taunts Mitch, leading to him warning Sam about Jordan's motive. Hannah and Gabe are prepared to leave, until police officers show up looking to take them back to New York; they beg their mother to hide them, but she sells them out to the police. Kayla later breaks up with Nick because she can't be a part of a relationship and have him getting hurt. Nick takes the news violently and harms himself, before dangerously finding and approaching Tim at the restaurant. Hannah and Gabe realize that they are not with actual police officers and they are men working for the people after them. Handcuffed, Hannah and Gabe manage to disturb the drivers and cause the car to flip many times and down a hill. Jordan once again taunts and threatens Eddie, leading Eddie to shoot through the door. He is horrified to find he accidentally shot and killed Carla. Heartbroken and overcome with guilt, he shoots himself in the head, as Jordan watches in horror, realizing what he has done.|
|7||"Chapter 7: Betrayal"||Millicent Shelton||Andrea Thornton Bolden||December 13, 2018|
|The police believe that Paul killed Carla over drugs. Jordan refuses to give up his quest, something that is hindered when he begins to see and talk to Paul as his moral compass. Kayla confronts Nick about following Tim to the restaurant and warns him to have nothing to do with her. Hannah and Gabe manage to escape the men with the money, but are later hunted through the woods by them. Hannah buries the money and defeats her attacker while Gabe makes it to a rest stop where he is drugged by Esther, working with the company and kidnapped. Garcia asks Mitch if anyone wanted Paul dead; not believing the story. Jordan kidnaps Shelley and wants Sam's name in return for her. Mitch alerts Sam and they go to the trade-off together. Jordan holds Shelley at gunpoint; Sam instead kills both Shelley and Mitch and attempts to kill Jordan, but he gets away. Kayla and Laney investigate Nick, where they learn he is using his brother's name and is from Florida; his real name being Joseph. Tim and Katrina grow worried about Jordan and Tim asks Katrina out. Hannah meets Gabe at the rest-stop where she is attacked by one of the men. She kills him and Esther tells her they will be in contact with her for Gabe. Kayla searches Nick's apartment for an unknown item, while Laney messes up her watcher job, where Kayla is horrified to find Nick has a painting of her mothers. As she is heartbroken and horrified, we hear Nick opening the door.|
|8||"Chapter 8: Truth"||John Stuart Scott||Steve Stringer||December 20, 2018|
|Kayla is able to escape Nick from finding her, but she later confronts him about the painting and tells him to leave her alone. Flashbacks reveal that Abby was having an affair with Nick and he was growing more and more obsessed with her. One night Kayla was out with friends and Tim tried to confront her about the affair but she had to leave to break it off with a persistent Nick. When she tries to break it off, he grows violent, leading Abby to run away from him. He begins to chase her in her car, causing her to wreck. She is badly injured, but alive, she asks Nick to help her but he instead smothers her to death. Nick follows Kayla at the restaurant where she is saved by Katrina. Garcia questions Jordan, who she believes is killing for revenge. While being questioned, Jordan is horrified when Sam enters, who is actually a detective and investigating Garcia's case and knows all of Jordan's information. Gabe is held and tortured by Esther who wants the money; Hannah eventually agrees to give them the money for Gabe. Sam later confronts Jordan and proposes a truce-- peace; as he knows he would not be able to frame anyone for Jordan's murder. Nick stalks Kayla in her house before leaving when Kayla talks to Tim about how she has grown to like Katrina. Gabe is able to escape the basement he is being held in when he finds himself in a kitchen and runs into Katrina. He begs her to help him and is horrified when she has two men tie him up again, revealing herself to be the buyer all along.|
|9||"Chapter 9: Deception"||Adam Davidson||Heather Zuhlke||December 27, 2018|
|Jordan rages war on Sam and goes as far as to attempt to kidnap his child as "Mr. Wolf". Before he goes through with it, he realizes he's gone too far and calls Tim to discuss his next actions. Katrina and Esther, her mother, plan to kill Gabe and Hannah once they have their money back, while Hannah and Terry plan their defense for the trade-off. Nick lures Laney to an abandoned building and forces her to lure Kayla there as well. Garcia has been growing suspicious of Sam, believing he is a dirty cop. Tim advises Jordan to tell Garcia everything from the beginning, and he does. Garcia believes him and says she will begin to charge him the next day. Jordan plans to hide at the hotel. Kayla comes to where she was called and only finds Nick there. He locks her in so they can talk and begins to talk to her about taking a trip with her, she is able to distract him and stab him while she attempts to run away. When hiding, she finds Laney has been murdered and also finds Ethan's body. She is able to escape him and makes it out alive. She calls the police and tells them about his wrongdoings and also tells Tim the entire story. Mariana grows suspicious of his actions and questions what he is doing and gotten himself into. Hannah meets at the trade-off and she and Terry kill all but one of the many henchmen. She follows him back to the hotel where Katrina is; Katrina calls her and threatens her and her life, while Hannah tells her that she plans to kill her and get her brother back. Garcia is murdered by Olsen, who is one of Sam's men. Nick gets Colleen to give him a disguise, and then knocks her out and puts her into a suitcase, that he, under a new identity, checks into the hotel.|
|10||"Chapter 10: Forgiveness"||Craig Zisk||Kevin Williamson & Mary Leah Sutton||January 3, 2019|
|Hannah learns that Katrina is from a crime family and that her father is also dead. Jordan learns Garcia has been killed, prompting him to break into Sam's house, hold Mariana hostage and steal the diamonds. In the process, he lets her know that her husband is an evil murderer. Nick is still holding Colleen hostage and eventually demands that Kayla sneak out of her police barricaded house to come meet him, alone. Katrina is facing pressure from Sam for the diamonds and demands to set up a meeting with Hannah. When she does, Hannah tells her she has Esther held hostage and demands she go and get Gabe. Jordan calls Olsen and tells him he believes Sam killed Garcia and tells him he has the diamonds with him and takes him to them. Katrina returns and has Hannah tazed and then brought down to where Gabe is. Hannah tells Katrina she will have Esther killed, but she does not care. Hannah refuses to give up the money and while she and Gabe are being watched by the man, she causes a scuffle and right before she is killed, Gabe shoots and kills the man; freeing them. Kayla meets with Nick and he tells her Abby's dead was no accident and that he killed her. He explains he loved her so much since she gave him Kayla, that he followed her to New York, forced his way into the job as her teacher, and that he had been stalking her from the beginning. Kayla promises to go anywhere with him if he lets Colleen go. He initially agrees, but then sets the room on fire and does not free Colleen. Tim has followed Kayla there and enters the room and beats Nick while Kayla frees Colleen. They all escape as the room goes up in flames. Jordan and Olsen meet to see the diamonds, where Olsen has called Sam. Jordan leverages the situation so that Sam kills Olsen and Jordan is able to escape. Hannah and Gabe escape the basement and end up in a fight with Katrina, where Hannah ends up killing her and they finally escape. Jordan and Sam end up in a standoff. Jordan is about to shoot Sam but he sees Beth, who begs him not to kill him. While he is distracted, Sam shoots him and knocks him down a floor. Sam escapes with the diamonds, but as he runs out he is hit and killed by a car. Jordan lets go and happily reunites with Beth in the afterlife. Hannah tells Gabe they will go get their money, do some good with it, and live a happy life. At home, Kayla is once again attacked by Nick who tells her she will learn to love him. A fight ensues, and she knocks him down the stairs, killing him. She and her family reunite noting they are all finally okay. The series ends with an animated storybook showing Hannah and Gabe rejoicing in money, Jordan and Beth walking hand in hand in the afterlife, and Kayla is a painter as the words "The End" are put on the screen.|
On November 30, 2017, it was announced that CBS All Access had given Tell Me a Story a series order. The show is being developed for American audiences by Kevin Williamson and is based on the Spanish television series Érase una vez created by Marcos Osorio Vidal. Williamson is also set to write the series and executive produce it alongside Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor. The series is being produced by Kaplan's production company Kapital Entertainment. On May 9, 2018, it was reported that Liz Friedlander would direct and executive produce the first two episodes. On August 5, 2018, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual summer press tour that the series would premiere on October 31, 2018. On December 17, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.
In May 2018, it was announced that Billy Magnussen and Kim Cattrall had been cast in the series' lead roles. In June 2018, it was reported that Danielle Campbell, Paul Wesley, James Wolk, Dania Ramirez, and Sam Jaeger had joined the main cast. In July 2018, it was announced that Davi Santos, Zabryna Guevara, and Dorian Missick had been cast in series regular roles. In August 2018, it was reported that Michael Raymond-James, Kurt Yaeger, Rarmian Newton, and Paulina Singer had joined the cast in a recurring capacity.
On July 19, 2018, the series held a panel at San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, California moderated by Entertainment Weekly's Henry Goldblatt and featuring executive producer Kevin Williamson as well as series stars Paul Wesley and James Wolk. The panel included the premiere of an exclusive teaser trailer for the series. On August 5, 2018, a "sneak peek" trailer for the series was released. On October 5, 2018, the official trailer for the series was released, first premiering during the series' panel at the annual New York Comic Con.
On October 23, 2018, the series held its official premiere at the Metrograph theater in New York City, New York. Those in attendance included creator Kevin Williamson, executive producer Dana Honor, and cast members Becki Newton, Danielle Campbell, Dania Ramirez, and James Wolk.
The series has been met with a mixed response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 54% approval rating with an average rating of 5.31 out of 10 based on 13 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Despite an enticing cast and promising premise, Tell Me a Story's overly plotted, grim take on Grimm's Fairy Tales fails to enchant." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 43 out of 100 based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
In a positive review, Refinery29's Sesali Bowen commended the series saying, "Tell Me A Story captures its viewers to put themselves in the shoes of some of their favorite fables with its realism. So far it's better for it. This new CBS All Access program has enough to stand on without it thanks to an array of characters who are interesting if not a little cliche." In a more mixed critique, Variety's offered the series qualified praise saying, "For all its faults, the series is enthusiastically pulpy, moving with a propulsive energy that, to be frank, most streaming dramas lack. It's not nearly operating on the same prescient level as, say, The Good Fight, nor quite the radical re-imagining of fairy tales as advertised. But if nothing else, Tell Me a Story’s got a wicked bite that might serve it well when trying to grab curious viewers on a streaming platform that doesn't quite have anything else like it." In an outright negative assessment, RogerEbert.com's Brian Tallerico criticized the series saying, "There are talented TV veterans in Tell Me a Story, likely lured by Williamson's pedigree, but even they fail to give what could reasonably be called good performances. The pacing, the dialogue, the (complete lack of) visual language, the world building—it's impossible to point to a single element that works."
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- Andreeva, Nellie (June 11, 2018). "Paul Wesley To Co-Star In CBS All Access Series 'Tell Me A Story', Reuniting With 'The Vampire Diaries' EP Kevin Williamson". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 12, 2018). "'Tell Me A Story': James Wolk To Star In Kevin Williamson's CBS All Access Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 12, 2018). "Dania Ramirez To Co-Star In CBS All Access Thriller Series 'Tell Me A Story'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
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