Television Review: Once Upon A Time

OnceUponATimeby Michael D. Pederson

 

Once Upon a Time
ABC

Fortunately, I’ve held off until mid-season to review ABC’s entry in the fantasy game, Once Upon a Time. When the show debuted I initially wrote it off as cloying Disney sweetness. It’s really grown on me though.

In a nutshell, imagine all the fairytale characters you know and love living in a classic storybook setting. Then transport them all to a small town in Maine via an evil queen’s curse. The queen is now mayor of the town of Storybrooke and none of the residents can remember their mythic pasts (except for the mayor and maybe Rumpelstiltskin). At first, the show seemed simplistic and overly saccharin. Throughout the first half of the season though we’ve been able to explore some of the backstories and seen how we got to where we are. The main focus of the story is on Snow White (adorably played by Ginnifer Goodwin of Big Love) and her rivalry with the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla, gleefully stealing every scene she has).

Two characters are immune to the curse: Emma Swan (the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) and her son Henry (who she gave up for adoption); both grew up outside of Storybrooke, where time had stopped for 28 years. Yes, this show layers the mythology fairly densely but with a quirky whimsical touch—sort of a cross between Lost and Pushing Daisies.

I’m glad to see that Once Upon a Time has been well received but we have a tragic history of genre shows starting off strong and then losing ratings (and focus) after the holidays (FlashForward, Life on Mars). Keep watching!