WHEN I FIRST HEARD about Once Upon a Time, I wasn’t too fond of the idea. Fairy tale characters in the real world? Lame. I saw the trailer in theaters, before the show began to air, of the Evil Queen crashing Prince Charming and Snow White’s wedding. The green screen effects were obvious, I didn’t agree with their choice of actors, and the costume designs were awful. None of the characters looked, or even evoked, a feeling of who they were supposed to be. Of course, this was simply the trailer for the series.
ONCE UPON A TIME is a television series created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Season one premiered on October 23rd, 2011, ran for 22 episodes, and concluded on May 13th, 2012. It follows the story of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrision), a young woman led to a town called Storybrooke, by her long lost son, Henry (Jared Gilmore). He guides her with the aide of a fairy tale book, that holds all the answers and reveals that she is the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). The Wicked Queen cast a spell on the people of Storybrooke, and all the residence, in truth, are fictional characters who have lost their memories. Only Emma has the power to break the spell.
INTERESTING PREMISE, but I eventually forgot about the show all together. I was too busy taking a romp through space and time with the Doctor, reliving different lives with Doll House, and following the exploits of the Knights of Good, in the Guild. I didn’t have time to follow another show, and honestly, Once Upon a Time never caught my interest.
ABOUT A MONTH AGO, my wife decided to watch Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I sat through the first few episodes with her, and I hated it. The most glaring, and annoying, character was the boy, Henry. I didn’t like how he knew everything, and accepted it so willingly. He’s a pesky little know-it-all, that wasn’t weened into believing. He just did. For no reason. A really irritating aspect of his character is that he would constantly push the idea of the fairy tale world on Emma, without giving her a moment to acclimate to the idea.
RIGHT OFF THE BAT, “You’re the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.” Really? How do you know that for sure? I would have liked a little more explanation on why he was so faithful to this book. How did he just know each characters true identity, just by reading the story? Perhaps if he was capable of seeing people as they really are, since he was Emma’s son, maybe that would have made more sense. You know? I don’t know, I’m just saying…
THE DIALOGUE for the whole show also wasn’t very poignant or well thought out. Every character said exactly what was on their mind in the most vapid, cliched way they could. There was no nuance, no interesting snippets of conversation, or anything quirky in their actions. Everything was so dull. Perhaps I’m spoiled by the dialogue in Doctor Who, but I digress… I stopped watching the show completely.
I’M NOT SURE which episode it was, but the show began to unravel Rumpelstiltskin’s past. Of all the characters, he had the most defining back story. I started to connect and feel for his grief, about his son, and about Belle (Emilie de Ravin). His speech was interesting, he never said exactly what was on his mind, and his jester like actions made him really intriguing. You were able to see his fall into darkness, his rise to power, how love was able to tame the beast, and eventually turn him into the psycho everyone would eventually fear. His madness had purpose. Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is by far my favorite character, in the entire series.
I STARTED TO WATCH, simply because I wanted to know more about Rumpelstiltskin. Then I learned about Red (Meghan Ory), the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen’s past and her loss of true love because of Snow White. I love how they didn’t decide to make the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) evil for evils sake. She, like Rumpelstiltskin, has a very intricate back story, that eventually leads you to care about her. There is a reason for her hate, for her domination, and the exploration of her character is one of the best parts of the series. It took me by surprise.
PINOCCHIO WAS TRYING to help, slowly turning back into a wooden puppet, the Mad Hatter helped the Evil Queen with his magical spinning hat, and Emma was finding it difficult to accept the fantasy of the story book as her own reality. Everything was coming together. The more they revealed the pasts of the characters, the more Once Upon a Time became something I started to care about. I was hooked!
WE STARTED WATCHING every episode together, mesmerized as every new thread in the tale began to weave into one another. We recently finished season one on Netflix, and it was so good! I don’t want to spoil anything, but we were both like, “No…are they going to…really? Oh my gosh they did. They do! She’s smiling…Wait? It’s over? What the fu—!” And of course, season two isn’t on Netflix, yet. We’re both really disappointed about that, since we don’t have any form of cable, or satellite, so we can’t watch like normal people do. Thank you Lord for the internet!
THE GREEN SCREEN is still really noticeable, but it isn’t as distracting as it was before. The characters feel more believable, and I can now accept them as Prince Charming, Snow White, and so on, without thinking they’re terrible for the part. It just seems right, somehow? Oh Once Upon a Time, how you’ve grown on me…I will add you to my list of favorite shows. Yes, you are allowed a place next to Doctor Who!