Now that the first season in its entirety has aired, I can fully assess the perfection of ABC’s sci-fi/fantasy drama, Once Upon a Time.
Created by two of the writers/producers from Lost (Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz), OUAT bears a striking resemblance to the iconic series, albeit with its own crazy and fantastic twists.
The show centers around 28-year-old Emma (Jennifer Morrison), a woman who grew up in the foster system, who is found in Boston by the son she gave up for adoption ten years prior. Her son, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), tells her that he has been living in Storybrooke, a small town in Maine, where he was adopted by a woman he believes to be the Evil Queen from the Snow White fairytale (Lana Parrilla).
He also believes that Emma is the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), who take the form of a school teacher and a coma patient in Storybrooke. According to Henry and his fairytale book (pictured in the photo above), the Evil Queen cast a curse on the people of the Enchanted Forest, trapping them in monotonous small town life where she has removed them from the people and things they love.
Although Emma doesn’t believe his outlandish claims, she offers to take the boy back to his adoptive mother. Whether through her newfound relationship with her son or sheer curiosity around the strange town he lives in, she finds herself drawn to Storybrooke and decides to stay indefinitely.
Each of the 22 episodes center around a certain fairytale character. The writers link them with their Storybrooke counterpart through flashbacks that reveal why they are often unhappy in our world, showing what they lost through the curse that the queen placed on the citizens of the fairytale world.
The Dwarves, The Huntsman (Jamie Dornan), The Magic Mirror (Giancarlo Esposito), Belle (Emilie de Ravin), Rumpelstiltskin/The Beast (Robert Carlyle), Pinnochio (Eion Bailey), Geppetto (Tony Amendola), the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy), Little Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory) and her grandmother, Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), King Midas (Alex Zahara), The Mad Hatter (Sebastian Stan) and Cinderella (Jessy Schram) were highlighted throughout the season, with episodes centered around Ariel, Rapunzel and Aladdin to come in season 2.
Not only does the show highlight some of the favorite classic fairytale stories, but it digs deeper. By intertwining all of the stories into one all-inclusive tale, the writers create a much more dramatic storyline that can still shock audiences and leave them on the edge of their seats every Sunday night.
In a time where many popular scripted dramas often fall short of expectations, Once Upon a Time constantly surpasses my expectations, leaving me wanting more and satisfying my love for fairytales in a more complex way that makes me feel like the adult I supposedly am. No matter how you felt about Lost or how much you enjoy fairytales, OUAT is well worth the watch. It’s the kind of television that makes its audience think and is incredibly well thought out by its creators and team of writers.