Once... Upon a Time

As some of you may remember, last May I tweeted this:

It's no secret that I often do online surveys for market research purposes to earn credits towards gift cards, etc. This particular one for eRewards required me to view a potential pilot for an upcoming show. The survey length was approximated at about an hour, which I was a bit hesitant at first, but thought I'd check it out - if the show sucked I could just exit out of it.

Anyways, the show ended up being the test pilot for ABC's new fantasy series Once Upon a Time. It premiered at the end of October, but with football season and the return of AMC's The Walking Dead, I didn't get a chance to watch it when it aired on Sundays and just got caught up on the series this past week.

And it's as good as I remember it being!

The synopsis is this - in the town of Storybrooke, Maine all the residents are actually fairytale characters, trapped in our world with no memory of their previous lives in fairytale land due to a dark curious that the Evil Queen placed on them all. In order to provide a possible way of breaking the curse, Snow White and Prince Charming placed their newborn daughter Emma into a magic wardrobe that sent her to our world prior just before the curse hit everyone. It was predicted that on Emma's 28th birthday she would return to them and break the Evil Queen's curse. Flash forward 28 years later, Emma works as a lone bounty hunter in Boston and has built up walls emotionally around her due to her being an orphan since birth and having grown up in "the system." She also gave birth to a baby boy when she was 18, whom she placed for adoption, however, 10 years later, a boy named Henry claiming to be her son shows up on her doorstep on her 28th birthday. With him is a storybook, which he says explains the curse of the residents in his town of Storybrooke and that Emma is the daughter of Snow White and that she must come with him to break the spell. Of course she doesn't believe the kid, but she does need to return him to his adoptive mother, who just so happens to be the mayor of Storybrooke and whom Henry says is really the Evil Queen, so Emma accompanies him to Storybrooke and our adventure begins as things start to happen once Emma arrives.

When I first screened the test pilot back in May, my biggest concern was how in the world where they going to make this into a full-blown series with more than 1 season? The premise seemed like something that could be solved and dealt with in the course of a mini-series, kinda like the fairytale-based The 10th Kingdom mini-series. And I could be wrong, but I remember there being some kind of set time limit that once Emma came to Storybrooke the curse would be broken and everyone would get their memories back within a set time frame - that was part of the whole significance of the town clock ticking once again at the end of the pilot, which made me pose the question as to how this could be continued into a full series as once the time frame was up, then what? They seem to have removed that entire aspect though so that there is no set time limit that everything has to happen by. My other concern was that the transition between the real-world scenes and fairytale flashbacks didn't seem very smooth, but they've fixed that as well as it didn't bother me watching it a 2nd time around.

A great thing about this series, is that it's pretty family friendly. The violence borders on PG/PG13 stylized fantasy violence (ie: mainly sword fights or people fighting with magic), the language isn't bad for network TV and there's very little sexual content seen or implied (that is, nothing you'd have to worry about explaining to your kid).

Main Cast from Left to Right:
Town therapist Archie/Jiminy Cricket, Mayor Regina/Evil Queen, Henry, Emma, Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman, Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, teacher Mary Margret/Snow White, David/Prince Charming
It's neat as the residents who hear about Henry talk about his storybook and who he believes they really, when things start falling into place, they start to wonder if perhaps what the kid says is true. After 7 episodes, it seems that the mayor IS starting to realize who she really is, and well, Mr. Gold, that man that "owns the town"... the entire time you wonder if he's always known what's really going on, as just like his Rumpelstiltskin counterpart in fairytale land, he continues to pull the strings... but is he a good guy wanting the curse to be broken or is he just toying with everyone to see what they do?

They also include back stories for some of the characters - we learn how Jiminy Cricket came to be Geppetto's guide, what became of Cinderella and her prince after the wedding, how Snow White and Prince Charming came to be, among others. It's also interesting to see how Rumpelstiltskin works his way into everyone's back story, playing some part behind the scenes of their infamous tales.

I loved how Pam from True Blood (Kristin Bauer van Straten) makes an appearance as the Evil Queen's "friend" Maleficent, with the Pam attitude and all, lol... and you can tell Disney owns ABC and has a hand in the show as well - Belle and Gaston fairytale flashbacks are in an upcoming episode and there's talk of an Ariel appearance in the works too.

If you like dramas, mysteries and fantasy stories - be sure to check out Once Upon a Time on ABC - new episodes start airing this Sunday at 8/7c and they're currently all up on Hulu for another week or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What's your thoughts?