Once Upon a Time, Season One – Enjoy ABC’s Creative Fairy Tale


Some of ABC’s best ratings of 2011 came in a surprise seasonal package. Its premise revolved around something most shows haven’t tackled but viewers everywhere are enthralled by, and finally, it has made its way into my living room.

Once Upon a Time, Season One (2011) ABC TV Review

Once upon a time is where each story begins… but not every ending is happily ever after. Some cannot be altered by the perfect fit of a glass slipper or true love’s kiss. Sometimes, the memories are stripped away leaving those who deserve a happy end lost to everyone they once loved. Every story has a beginning and Emma’s is one bad memory after another. Abandoned as an infant by the side of the road, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) grew up in the foster care system never feeling loved or wanted. In the twenty plus years since then, she learns to rely solely on herself.

On her 28th birthday, Emma is doing what she does best, catching the bad guys. Her greatest surprise arrives when young Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore) knocks on her door. Ten years ago Emma gave up a child for adoption, a son who landed in the sleepy town of Storybrooke, and the son of Mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla). Emma’s trip to return Henry to his mother baffles her almost as much as the tale Henry spins.

He claims that every person living in Storybrooke is really from the book of fairy tales his teacher Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) gave him. None of them know who they are or where they came from and are being held captive by a spell created by the evil queen, Regina. Emma’s destiny is to break the curse as the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). The fate of everyone rests on Emma’s shoulders but first she must come up against not only Regina but also her cohorts… and who is the mysterious Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle)?

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Once Upon a Time, Season One - Enjoy ABC's Creative Fairy Tale. Review of the ABC series with Ginnifer Goodwin, and Josh Dallas. Review text © Rissi JC

Already home to a favorite (depends on what day of the week) show, ABC is 2-for-2 in the 2011 television season when it came to finding new shows. The only thing overruling viewers curiosity about this delight of a show is the credibility of some characters. We are constantly on our guard with each one. This really attests to a fabulous cast. Every actor puts his or her best into their roles, each person effecting every evil or appropriately princess-ly gesture needed in their expressions of acting because, well… they are that good.


Also part of the recurring cast list is Meghan Ory; Raphael Sbarge; Anastasia Griffith (Royal Pains); David Anders (now of iZombie fame); Emilie de Ravin; Jessy Schram; and Eion Bailey (Covert Affairs) as a mysterious stranger. What’s perhaps the best about characters is that it’s up to us to find out who they are. Unlike most shows, ‘Once’ writer’s don’t hand out information readily. Instead we must uncover the good and bad of each person.

For a show that I expected to love (so, I am a lover of sappy stories – you aren’t just now figuring that out, are ya’!?) It does surprise me that I’mmore enamored with the “real world” than fairy tale. Though pretty to look at, from a scenic perspective, none of the costumes or make-up appeals to a vision of authenticity. Similarly, save for the outdoor scenes, the settings are modern and really, too “big.” Those transitions between fairy tale and real world are usually well timed but for a girl who was expecting to find the fantasy elements of the show more interesting, I was surprised at how caught up in the modern counterparts I was. Just as I was hooked, the show backspaced to storybook land which sometimes upset the intensity of a scene but is after all, the best way to keep suspense – and the viewer, on top of their guessing game.

Once Upon a Time, Season One - Enjoy ABC's Creative Fairy Tale. Review of the ABC series with Ginnifer Goodwin, and Josh Dallas. Review text © Rissi JC

Regardless of petty complaints, this show was very whimsical in its own fashion. It’s really quite clever in the ways it introduces and compacts so many fairy tales into one idea. No matter what you may think of it, your initial perspective may be turned upside down. It strengthens the further it investigates each character and it features every genre you could possibly want; mystery, drama, comedy, romance, fantasy, all in a package that effortlessly cumulates together forming a beautiful, if not sometimes, transparent story.

If there is only one thing I would wish television did different, it’d be the song-and-dance it puts its fan through. I “get” the need for complications and incentive but this particular scenario is running amuck with such stories so please give Snow/Mary Margaret and Charming/David more than a tragedy and stolen glances. Believe me, I will still watch, as would the hundreds of fans. The more happiness characters receive, even in strife, the happier fans will be. Or maybe I am just speaking for myself but… I seriously doubt it. The good guys need some victories as happily ever after shouldn’t be taken from beloved characters, and the sooner writer’s realize this, the better.

Tell me, what did you think of the latest television phenomenon, Once Upon a Time?

Content: Two people are in a sexual relationship without marriage [revealed only in implications and one shot of the pair in bed, dressed], another woman struggles with her feelings for a married man; others call her a “tramp” and later shun her. In town, another young woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock. There is some violence and magic but nothing graphic. People rips the hear out of the chest of other characters; another dies from snake bites. Murder is plotted. There is some mild profanities. The show is TVPG

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I love this show, but then again you already knew that…

    I'm particularly excited to see where the writers will take us in Season 2. They set the stage with Season 1. :-)

  2. I loved the pilot episode!
    But the affair between a man that was married bothered me. If that ends I would defiently like to start watching it again:)

  3. so rissi I know that I can't get you to post a picture of yourself becuase heaven knows iI've tried:) but since I really need a picture of you for reasons that aren't anyones business yet, is there a celeb or someone that you'd like to represent you in said picture? haha maybe you could email it to me if you have time, or just let me pick one of them?

  4. Rosie – I did, girl! But I don't mind reading that again. You can never say you like a show like 'Once' TOO many times. Seriously, that is fact! ;-D

    I would love to be kept up to date on your thoughts about S2 of this show as it unfolds. I will be watching the DVD set next summer. Like you though, I am THRILLED at all the spoilers I am reading about it – sounds just awesome!

    Charity personally, I don't believe Mary Margaret and David did anything beyond stealing moments alone and kisses – not that I am saying that is GOOD, mind you, it was just my impressions. Mainly because Mary Margaret was all about doing what was "right" and even though engaging in even a "mental" affair isn't right… I just don't see her allowing for anything else to happen.

    The CGI is BAD in the fairy tale world. Still… who cares!? LOL!

    BTW: Love your new blog layout, girl!

    Ella – there is a point in S1 when that element does basically go away but not before a lot of stuff happens. Below are a few SPOILERS in regards to that subplot:

    First, David's wife is mad when she finds out, then she decides that David and his love, M.M deserve to be together because they are in love (keep in mind this is all after they went behind her back). Secondly, Mary Margaret decides that she and David cannot be together so though they still talk, she no longer "sees" him – until the very end again. END SPOILER

    I think overall, this show was well done, and even quite clever. S2 will probably step away from the affair because I am assuming certain characters won't return.

    KayleeBeth – my thoughts EXACTLY! *high five*

    Great that you dropped by!

    Emily – hmmm… you certainly have me curious. :-) May I ask what you are working on?

    Photos: you could use any of the ones I put up on Twitter (though none are of me). I did have one up – a cropped one – the other day for all of 5 mins. before switching it out to the one I am currently using (it matches my background – what can I say!? :-D) or I have a "Google image" (found it on Google) that is of a sky and a girl that I think is cute. You could also check out my recent "fashion post" as there is one photo at end you could use – though again, it isn't one of me. As for celebrates… gosh, I don't know! :-)

    My reason for NOT putting up a photo is twofold. One being I believe in using discretion in what one puts up on the Internet for the world to see because once it is out there, it's OUT there. Secondly, I am not a very photogenic person. I may at some point use one of my "real" photos but it would still not be a full shot because… yeah I am sort of "weird" that way. ;-D

  5. I’m glad to see other people are following Once Upon A Time (and Castle, but that’s another thing altogether). I have the entire first season saved on my Hopper DVR, which has tons of recording space. I love it because I don’t have to delete episodes just because season two is starting tonight. I’m actually going to miss the premiere because I’ll be working at DISH when it airs, but I think you may get a little of what you’re hoping for. It sounds like season two will give characters a little happiness (I hear Snow White and Charming are together), while still retaining the strife that keeps us interested. Did you see the premiere of Castle? They did the exact same thing. :)

  6. Yes, 'Once' is a very unique spin on a genre that fans adore. Or that has been my impression. It is nice to see it getting such great recognition because it's worthy of that and then some. Seeing Snow/Mary Margaret and Charming/David together more will be great – I saw a Tumblr GIF that shows the two of them re-connecting with Emma that looks so special! I cannot wait to see it. :-)

    Actually, I watch all my shows on DVD aside from occasionally watching a pilot ep. on TV. So, no, I've not see the S5 premiere of Castle – YET! Though I cannot wait. :-)

    Thanks for stopping in, Hannah. :-)

  7. Definitely, I like how there are two fairy tale shows out there right now, Once Upon A Time and Grimm. Personally, Once Upon A Time is my favorite. And watching everything on DVD is smart, there’s a lot less cliff-hangers when you can just skip to the next episode. I’m not patient enough to wait for the DVDs, so I watch everything on my DVR. I love skipping past commercials, and having enough memory to save all my favorite episodes.

    I won’t say anything about Castle since you haven’t seen it, but I think you’re definitely going to enjoy it when the DVD set comes out, the season is starting out great! :)

  8. I've not checked out Grimm just yet but my impressions of it are that its MUCH darker – so you like 'Once' better then? I think generally that is the verdict. I may rent it sometime though… until then, I am biding my time for the S2 DVD set of 'Once.' :-D

    I prefer watching the DVD sets no matter how anxious I get – skipping commercials is just a bonus. ;-D

    If there is one thing you should know, it's that I like the spoilers as relates to TV shows – I wouldn't mind if you talked about Castle at all, Hannah. :-)

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  9. I love Once Upon a Time. So sad I don't get to watch 'till it comes out on DVD… so I'm listening to my friends comments on Facebook and cringing for all the spoilers. :S

    1. LOL! I am right there with you, Rachel – I wait for the DVD set also. In my case though, I appreciate spoilers – especially the shattering ones. ;)

  10. I adore Once Upon a Time–the only problems I have with it are David and Mary Margaret's affair and certain bedroom scenes–especially with unmarried couples–that I wish they'd have left out. But besides those things, I'm loving Season 2!

    1. Oh, hooray! I love hearing "updates" on season two, Hannah – the first season was delightful. My family waits for the DVD sets so any newsy tidbits you all offer is awesome. :)

      Thanks bunches for the follow and comment – appreciate it. Visit anytime. :)

  11. I LOVE Once! I started watching it when it first came out (I was ten), and I got so excited that I was finally watching a "grown-up show" (otherwise known as something besides PBS TV for kids). ;) Once Upon a Time is such a wonderful show! :D


    1. I'm SO far behind with this show, Olivia. It's really NOT even funny anymore. *sigh* But someday I do hope to catch up even though I don't like the sound of how the writer's have twisted the stories. Glad to know you're enjoying it – and I know that feeling too! We probably all remember the first "grown up" thing we watched especially if we were raised in a house that had rules about movies and TV. :)

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