By Samantha Lee
When reality becomes too much to handle, ABC Family’s series “Once Upon a Time” may contain enough fairy dust to be the cure. Journey to a far, far away land and indulge yourself in a world filled with fairytales, magic and evil curses.
“Once Upon a Time” takes place in a quaint town, Storybrooke, Maine, where the evil Queen Regina, played by Lana Parilla (“Boomtown”), has cast away every single fairytale character within the realms of the enchanted forest. Whilst in Storybrooke, Regina serves as mayor, time stands still and the characters neither remember their past nor the fact that they are fairytale characters. The only identity they can recollect is their “normal” person identity, but things start to shift when the mayor’s adopted son Henry, played by Jared Gilmore (“Madmen”), leaves town and returns with his birth mother Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison (“House M.D.”).
Early on, the audience soon finds out that Henry was given a fairytale book which led him to discover and believe in the curse, and in this book, Emma is the only person who can save the victims of Storybrooke. Throughout Henry’s journey of trying to convince Emma that the curse is real, the fairytale alter egos of the residents of Storybrooke are revealed.
The show was created and is written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and the show aired its first episode in 2011. Though the show has already completed its first season and has commenced its second season, the show is one that can easily be marathoned due to its attention grabbing tendencies.
While Snow White, portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin (“He’s Just Not That Into You”) and Prince Charming, played by Josh Dallas (“Thor”), are the main focus throughout the majority of the first season, the show is constantly introducing new characters throughout the episodes. For the most part, the show does not contain any Hollywood name droppers, with Goodwin being the most recognizable name to the common folk.
The story’s plot is easier to follow and more intriguing if one is familiar with the basics of fairytales, as the show throws in twists to almost every tale incorporated. The entire guessing- game mentality of trying to figure out which character belongs with which fairytale also gives the show a constant invigorating concept, and it is refreshing to be presented classic stories that many know and love in a nontraditional way. With the many storylines involved, it is easy to become lost within the story timeline, as the show is continuously switching from the past in the enchanted forest, to the present time in Storybrooke, leaving very little transition. But if one is willing to immerse themselves within the stories, the show becomes easily addicting.
Though the concept of intertwining and weaving the various fairytales gives the show some intricacy, the script, at times, lacks complexity and depth. Yet the brilliant acting of the characters compensates for the script. One of the standout actors is Robert Carlyle (“28 Weeks Later”), who plays the infamous Rumplestiltskin.
Even though the show may seem like a one level, simple fairytale based show, there is much more than meets the eye. Those who enjoy puzzling through story lines will find themselves immersed within the trails of hidden characters and innuendos, and those who find themselves fascinated by fantasy and are willing to put reality on hold will find the show captivating.
Photo courtesy of go.abc.com