You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s focus being ONCE UPON A TIME, ABC’s attempt to bring fairytales back.
The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.
The Plot: And they all lived happily ever after – or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She’s a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything starts to change. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma’s help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Of course Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.
The First Impression: Is positive. Which should really come as no surprise when one takes into account that ONCE UPON A TIME is the brainchild of two storytellers (Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis) who spent the better part of the last seven years honing their craft under LOSTerminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Also working in the new ABC series’ favor is a writing staff that includes Liz Tigelaar (LIFE UNEXPECTED) and Jane Espenson (CAPRICA), a perfectly cast ensemble (Including Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, and the deliciously delectable Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen), not to mention, an imaginative and original plot that already has us wishing we could flip to the back of the storybook to find out how it all ends.
The Concern: Is twofold. Aside from not having the foggiest idea as to how ONCE UPON A TIME will actually evolve into a weekly television series, our biggest concern is managing expectations. Which is to say, ABC may wish to reconsider the historically family friendly Sunday night at 8PM timeslot if the show is going to continue down the unexpectedly dark and mythologically dense rabbit hole the series premiere journeyed through. We’re just sayin’
The Verdict: Fairytales have never been this fun.
ONCE UPON A TIME premieres on ABC this Fall (CTV in Canada)