It kept the side-kick dog and the overall concept from the first incarnation, but it changed around everything else. And yet it remained a glorious, witty, beautiful show that didn’t last long enough. I’ve always been a fan of Jim Henson and his studio, and The Storyteller series is amongst the best work his studio has put out (whether dealing with fairy tales or Greek myths).
Although this second incarnation doesn’t quite have the same kind of appeal as the first one. At only four episodes, the watermark and pressure for maintaining a high artistic quality is nearly unfathomable. And, really, only one episode takes a major dive into mediocre/almost-bad territory and that is “Orpheus and Eurydice.” That the two leads in this segment never generate any chemistry is one part of the problem, but the other is that so much of the wit and imagination and creativity on display in any of the other episodes is in such muted quality here as to be nonexistent. Luckily, this episode occurs second and the following two return us to the former glories.
Michael Gambon is less playful as the storyteller than John Hurt, but his gravitas works much better for Greek mythology which was more concerned with bloodlines, acts of violence, sexuality and humanity-versus-divinity than the fairy tale set (although there can be/is a tremendous amount of overlap). Brian Henson returns as the main puppeteer/voice of the dog, and the series continues to get an astounding assemblage of British acting talent with Derek Jacobi and David Morrissey being just two examples. While The Storyteller may be the slightly better version of the show, Greek Myths more than holds its own with a limited number of episodes, but the same high artistic quality.