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)?TVREVIEW | Once Upon a Time, Season One – Enjoy ABC's Creative Fairy Tale Click To Tweet
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.
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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.
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