Recently I started watching the first season of the television show Once Upon A Time based off of some friends’ recommendations. Once Upon A Time is the story of an evil queen that places all fairy tale people under a horrible spell (Snow White, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, just to name a few) where they are trapped in the small town of Storybrooke, Maine and don’t remember their true identities. I feel like this show should be something I absolutely love since it is fairy tale oriented (and let’s be honest I devoted an entire blog to all things fairy tale, so clearly it is a passion of mine). But alas, there are a few things that simply fell flat for me. I do plan on watching season two for further analysis. Sometimes a new show just takes a while to really pick up momentum and this series just started in October of 2011.
The acting is great. I am a big fan of Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) after I saw her in the film Something Borrowed and Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), who was one of my favorite characters on the early seasons of the series House. Lana Parrilla (the Evil Queen) does an excellent job conveying pure evil and fully encompasses what it means to be the villain. Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin) is positively creepy and devious which is perfect for the story. And for reasons I can’t really explain, I like Meghan Ory as the sassy, trampy waitress when you know she is really Little Red Riding Hood. Perhaps it reminds me of the the old cartoon where Red is a drop dead gorgeous lounge singer and the wolf can’t contain his desire for her.
The costumes and settings are spot on for a fairy tale.
I like the love story between Snow White and Prince Charming in both the fairy tale and in modern day Storybrooke.
Snow White is my least favorite fairy tale so it was hard for me to be excited about the first episode and the fact that the main plot centers around this particular story. Luckily the series does cover other fairy tale characters as well to help balance it out a bit.
I know this series is trying to put a modern spin on fairy tales, but some of the plot points are hard for me to accept. In fairy tales, the villains are 100% evil and the heroes are 100% good but in Once Upon A Time this aspect is lopsided. The Evil Queen is always nasty and mean spirited, but Snow White is all over the place. In the Fairy Tale she is a tough, wise cracking, thief lacking all of the stereotypical princess qualities. While in modern day Storybrooke she is a kind, nurturing teacher and volunteer at the hospital. Shouldn’t this be exactly the opposite? The fact that she is a better person in real life than in her own fairy tale makes no sense to me.
Another miss I feel is that Prince Charming is engaged to another woman in the fairy tale and married in Storybrooke yet he has feelings for Snow White. In fairy tales what makes the prince of each story so wonderful and appealing to all women is that he is available and only has eyes for the women meant to be his princess. If Snow White has to steal Prince Charming from another woman, how is that magical? Seems more soap opera than fairy tale to me.
The idea that no one knows who they really are is just odd to me. Reminds me of the film Lady in the Water that I wasn’t all that fond of.
The main hero of the series is Emma Swan, Snow White’s daughter in the fairy tale and a tough, unapologetic bail bondswoman in Storybrooke. I find it is always difficult to really root for the main character when they aren’t very likable but I will admit she is growing on me over time.
Rating: 3 Breaks The Spell