Thursday, October 27, 2011

Once upon a time...

In a land far, far away, Snow White was kissed back to life by her Prince Charming. They planned a beautiful wedding and right as they were about to seal the deal...the Evil Stepmother/Queen/Witch appeared and cursed them. But it wasn't just Snow White and the Prince that got cursed, oh no. That evil bitch was pissed AT THE WORLD. So everyone in fairy tale land got the smack down. And what was her revenge? To rip them all out of their magical existence and dump them into the most horrible, soul-killing, darkest place imaginable.

Our world.

That's the central premise of ABC's Once Upon A Time. The former fairytale residents have been zapped into the "real world" where they live boring lives without any memory of their former existence. Their only hope is Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter, Emma (House's Jennifer Morrison), whom it was prophesied would put in motion their salvation on her 28th birthday.

The most unbelievable thing about the show is that Jennifer Morrison is supposed to be 28.

Of course I was attracted to the show; who doesn't love story book characters? And as it has many of the writers from LOST attached to it, I was hoping for a twisty story that would keep me guessing. I've read a lot of other reviews of the show; some loved it, some hated it. But for me, it's not that easy. Let's just say that while I recognize the show has many faults, I still found myself pulled into the story and am looking forward to the second episode.

One thing that other reviewers have identified as a fault is the show's bleak tone. If you're looking for a happily ever after, this isn't the place you're going to find it. But that's actually kind of the point. Sure, it's a bit depressing to identify our world as the most horrible place you could possibly be sent to...but that's the course this show wants to follow. Whether you agree with it or not, that's your call. But at least Once Upon a Time is straight forward with their point of view.

Something that did pleasantly surprise me was how much time we actually spent in the fairy tale world. Based on the previews I was pretty convinced we would only see the fairy realm in the very beginning of the show, but the time was close to equally split between the two places. In the fairy world, Snow White and the Prince worked with the other magical people to devise a plan to defeat the Evil Stepmother/Queen/Witch. Sure, it didn't really work out (or did it???), and those scenes were pretty tense as Snow White had developed a quality anxiety disorder, but still. Magic, yay! Based on the previews for the second episode we'll still spend more time in the magical world as we learn how Snow White and Prince Charming met. I am holding out hope that the show will be structured similar to the later seasons of LOST, where we follow characters in two separate time lines and places.

Oh, and there's an adorable precocious kid. OF COURSE. Also, what is up with Snow White's clothes? All of her dresses look like she got attacked by some swans. Which makes sense, I guess. Swans are actually mean mofos and will seriously fuck you up. And now this picture caption has gotten way out of hand.

So overall, I would recommend the show. If you're someone who is bothered by fairy tales not adhering to their traditional structure, or the idea of someone thinking the world we live in is the worst possible hell imaginable, you might want to steer clear. But I recommend you at least check the show out and see if you can get past the bleakness. I think with a little time to grow (and based on the ratings it's not going anywhere soon) we might be surprised how it ends up. Maybe happily ever after?

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8:00 on ABC.

Oh, and if you dig stories about fairy tale people in "the real world" I also recommend you check out the comic/graphic novel series Fables. Word on the street (i.e. the internet) is that ABC originally started to develop a show based on Fables several years ago and while that deal fell through, I think Once Upon a Time is the result. There are some similarities but enough differences that it doesn't feel like a complete rip-off.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I loved the pilot! This is my new favorite show. I can't wait to get home tonight and watch episode 2!