Faerie Tale Theatre: “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (1985)

To its credit, “Faerie Tale Theatre” has made no qualms about dealing with the darker side of fairy tales and children’s entertainment despite being intended for families. Other episodes like “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers” have embraced the dark undercurrent of their source material, and that’s very much true for this episode as well: Based on the Robert Browning poem, the episode uses the language of the poem to create a sing-song rapport among the characters, which mercifully distracts from the overwhelmingly dark themes of the poem. Director Nicholas Meyer has a keen visual eye and manages to turn a macabre, punishing poem into an entertaining, striking forty-five minute episode appropriate for children.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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