Earlier today, I reviewed NBC’s entry in the new Fairytale wars Grimm. Now it’s time for me to look at ABC’s far superior concept Once Upon A Time. Both Grimm and Once Upon A Time are Crime Procedurals set in the world of Fairytales. While Grimm’s conceit is the fables are all “figurative” the folks over at ABC took a more literal approach.
All the characters in the Once Upon a Time universe are actual well known characters from childhood stories trapped in the real world with no memories of their former selves. We are immersed in the world the fictional town of Storybrooke when 28 Year Old Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is contacted by the son, Henry (Jared Gilmore) whom she gave up for adoption. He believes his stepmother is evil, literally the evil queen from the Snow White fable and that everyone in the town is really a character from the stories.
Regina (Lana Parrilla) somehow managed to turn their Fairy Tale world into a modern day New England town. The only one who remembers their previous existence is the equally evil and manipulative Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle). Emma happens to be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Both of whom are unaware of who they really are. In this world Snow White is Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) a good hearted former Nurse’s assistant and Prince Charming is David (Josh Dallas) a man who wakes up from a comma and is set to marry someone else.
The Evil Queen’s plan all hinges on Snow and Charming never getting back together. Like all good evil people her motivations are not all purely evil, she seems to really care about Henry but hate Snow, Charming and Emma more. And Mr. Gold is one character whose intentions are never clear. Its one of those shows that is fun to watch just for all the political intrigue.
The show uses the same flashback storytelling style as LOST. Each episode is told in multiple parts we get the present day “character” of the week and their backstory is told through flashbacks, this is interspersed with a season long story that delves into the history of Snow White’s romance with Prince Charming told primarily through the eyes of the evil queen who is now Regina the Town’s Mayor.
- Once Upon a Time: Origins – Very neat little feature where Josh Dallas discusses the origins of all several of the classic stories that are featured in Once. We get nice background info on Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and Others.
- Fairy Tales in the Modern World – A 20 minute feature about the creation of Once Upon A Time
- Building Character – The writers/producers discuss how they selected the characters for the show.
- Welcome to Storybrooke – We visit Steveston the real town that is used for Storybrooke
- The Story I Remember…Snow White – The cast talks about their memories of Snow White.
- Audio Commentaries – Episode Specific Audio Commentaries
- Season Play – Season Play – Really cool feature that tracks your TV Season viewing. So if you stop an episode and watch something else, it’ll remind you where you where you left off. I love this simple, but useful feature.
Once Upon A Time is one of those shows that instantly sucks you into its world and mystery. Unfortunately the incessant month long breaks kind of broke the show and made it hard to stick with. Watching it as a complete season on Blu-ray is really how this show was meant to be watch. It’s hard not to get addicted and enchanted with it.
- TV Show – A
- Extras – B
- Video/Presentation/Audio – B
Final Grade – A-