One of the more unusual shows on network television is “Once Upon a Time“, currently in its second season on ABC. The fantasy-drama show is set in the fictional town of Storybrooke (a wordplay to storybook), in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the “real world” town and robbed of their real memories by the Evil Queen. She used a curse that froze time for the residents for 28 years, although no one realized that they had not been aging. Also, no new people arrive and nobody can leave Storybrooke. Unless you are the gorgeous, blonder than ever, former “House” actress Jennifer Morrison who plays the main character Emma Swan.
The series starts with Swan working as a sexy bail bondwoman until the son she gave up for adoption ten years earlier shows up at her doorstep to ask for help. She goes to bring him back home but sees that he has been adopted by the Evil Queen and decides to stay a little longer… Big twist! Turns out she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming who they had to give up so she would not be cursed as well. Henry, her son went to get her so that she could break it and free everyone. The kid is charming and street-smart but also slightly nuts, he tells everyone of this curse but no one believes him. Swan just wants to be near her son so she keeps feeding his imagination.
There is really no easy way to summarize this show. Each episode switches between the “real world” and the fairytale world, driving the main plot forward, as well as giving everyone a back-story, respectively. There are lots of filler episodes dealing with random fairytale characters, although it is kind of fun to guess who is who according to childhood fairytale memories. Although these episodes don’t add much to the overall plot.
I dreaded watching “Once Upon a Time” as i had this preconceived dislike for a fairytale show/fantasy genre as a whole. I must say i was pleasantly surprised with the outcome, enough happens to keep you entertained and the characters are fairly street-smart which adds the necessary wit to an otherwise unbelievable, childhood throwback premise. While the acting is good and the characters are not annoying, it feels like the show is too convoluted for its own good. It might have worked by slashing the huge cast in half and making the show into a 10-part miniseries.
I would still say it is worth watching but i cheated after 12 episodes and checked out the season finale and season two opener. Overall, i don’t think i will keep watching unless some cool actor will guest star. It isn’t the show’s fault though, it just represents a genre that gives me the yawns rather than the thrills.