I’m slacking with the new shows of fall 2011, predicting who will last, what shows I’ll be watching, etc. I’m so late, there have already been a number of cancellations like Charlie’s Angels, The Playboy Club, Free Agents, How To Be A Gentleman… am I missing any? It doesn’t matter, I don’t think anyone is going to miss them. I only watched two of those four shows just to get the flavor of it and predicted it’s demise.
But right now I’m talking about new comer and later fall debut of Once Upon A Time, a sorta retelling or a modern-ish look at classic fairy tales. Actually I live-tweeted the show and decided mid-way that I’d write a review about it. The other boasting property this show has is that it features a couple of the writers from LOST lore. That’s an important fact for later.
Unfortunately for you readers trying to get a good idea of the show, I’m feeling incredibly lazy.
On the wedding day of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Prince Charming(Joshua Dallas), the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) arrives and delivers an ominous threat about a powerful curse she intends to release upon them. Some time later, a pregnant Snow White is worried about the curse and visits Rumplestiltskin(Robert Carlyle) who issues a prophecy that the Queen’s curse will take them all someplace terrible where there will be no happy endings, except for her. He also reveals that Snow White’s unborn daughter, Emma, will return when she is 28 years old to rescue them, thus beginning the final battle with the Queen. On advice from the Blue Fairy, Geppetto (Tony Amendola) and Pinocchio fashion a cupboard from a magical tree which will allow one person to escape the Queen’s curse. On the day Snow White gives birth to her daughter, the Queen’s curse strikes. Prince Charming places their daughter in the magic cupboard, but is mortally wounded battling the Queen’s henchmen. The Queen stands triumphantly over Snow White and Prince Charming as the curse takes them to “someplace horrible”.
In present day Boston, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) lives a lonely existence working as a bail bondsman and bounty hunter. She is approached by a ten year old boy, Henry, who identifies himself as her son, whom she had given up for adoption as a teenager. Not wanting a relationship with him, Emma agrees to drive him back to his home in not-so-quaint Storybrooke, Maine. Along the way, Henry shows her a large book of fairy tales he has, insisting that all of the stories in it are real. When they arrive in Storybrooke, Henry informs her that everyone in town is in reality a fairy tale character, exiled by the curse and with no memory of their real identities. This includes his therapist, who is really Jiminy Cricket, and his teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard, who is really Snow White. He claims that time is frozen in Storybrooke and the people are unable to leave, but that the curse will be broken by Emma. A skeptical Emma returns Henry to his adopted mother, the town Mayor, who is really the Evil Queen. When Henry soon runs away again, Emma finds him and decides to stay in Storybrooke temporarily. This decision causes the hands of the town clock, previously frozen, to begin moving again.
Overall, I liked it. The story began and it just moved. Nothing felt forced or dragged on which is a good sign that these writers know where they’re going and what they want to do. Needless to say, character development isn’t too hard since most of these are well known characters already, they are just reimagined… sorta. Think of Shrek, but without Shrek and the comedic sing-a-longs.
I was intrigued enough to want to see what happens next, or how her stay will change the residents in this magical town. I haven’t done it yet, but I will set my DVR to season pass mode. It seems to be some good entertainment for the kiddies too. Well, maybe not wee kiddies, but Sunday at 8pm at one time was the time to sit around the TV as a family. I dunno, I’m just saying when I was a kid that’s what we did.
As for the LOSTies, savvy tweeters and I caught a few LOST references such as Emma’s eye opening shot, Emma’s room number (#108), and a clock tower stuck on 8:15 (and just for extreme fans, it did change to 8:16). Another Lostonian-esque note to mention is what I started calling flash-fairy tale (like flashback, flash forward, flash sideways). It won’t catch on, but you get the idea.
I approve of this show. Will it last? I think it has potential, but I have no idea how it did in the ratings yet. I didn’t see it trending, so who can say? I’ll be watching for as long as it’s on. I recommend tagging along for this adventure though. Fun for the whole family!