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A drama series about fairly tale characters....are you kidding me?
Once Upon a Time - Series 1 (DVD)
Member Name: compbren
Once Upon a Time - Series 1 (DVD)
Advantages: Great casting, Robert Carlyle in particular is brilliant
Disadvantages: The main storyline gets off to a slow start but it's to be expected I guess.
After my current favourite TV show 'Fringe' ended after 5 seasons I was stuck for something else to watch. I saw 'Once Upon A Time' season 1 DVD going cheap and thought I would give it a go. Buying TV Series DVD sets is a favourite pastime of mine, and I have so many that I didn't actually watch the DVD until about 2 months from buying it!
Anyway, 'Once Upon A Time' is a fantasy drama series about your favourite fairly tale characters. When I read the synopsis for the series I was a bit unsure about it, would it work? would it be any good? It is written by a couple of the guys who did 'Lost' and that was a great series (early on in the set) so I decided the give it a try.
The Plot (Without giving too much away):
In Fairy Tale land, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) is plotting revenge over her land after her step daughter Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) awakens from her evil sleeping curse and marries Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Queen Regina has been long after revenge on Snow White after an incident in her earlier years which she blames Snow for. The Evil Queen has decided that everybody must be punished and sets about a curse that will destroy the Fairy Tale land. The Queen is planning to take everybody from the Fairy Tale land and take them all to a place where there is no magic and where their memories will be wiped forever. Upon learning about this curse Snow White and Prince Charming set about trying to stop the Queen and seek advice from a rather shady character Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). He has his own issues with the Queen and tells a pregnant Snow and Prince that the curse will not be broken from 28 years and their unborn daughter will be their saviour. Snow and Prince are told that their daughter, when she is born, must be sent through to 'our' land via a magic wardrobe and they'll not see her for 28 years. Faced with this heartbreaking decision, Snow and Prince place the newly born daughter into the wardrobe and pray for the best. Just as the curse is about to take place Prince Charming is fatally stabbed.
The next part of the story involves a young boy named Henry turning up at a woman's house claiming to be his son. Emma Swann is shocked that the boy she gave up for adoption 10 years ago has now showed up and agrees to take him back home to a town called Storybrook. On the car journey home, Henry reveals a book full of Fairy Tales and claims to Emma that she is the only one who can lift this curse. Emma instantly rejects the claims and returns Henry to his adopted mother, who he hates. Viewers can see that his adoptive mother is the Storybrook Mayer, otherwise known as Regina (The Evil Queen). After a couple of encounters with the locals, Emma decides to stick around for a while...The following morning time has started to move for the first time in 28 years.
In Storybrook, time hasn't moved for 28 years. All the residents have false memories and have not aged since being placed under the curse. Snow White is now a timid School Teacher known as Mary Margaret, Prince Charming is now a John Doe after being in hospital unconscious for the past 28 years, Rumplestiltsin is the local Antique/Property dealer known as Mr Gold (get it?). Many questions need answering and will be answered throughout the season such as who knows about the curse?
After watching the Pilot episode, I managed to watch a further 3 in a row as I was instantly hooked. I never thought this show would be my thing but it's clever, fast pacing and has some great cliffhangers. The main plot is well thoughtout, the characters are complex. Unlike Lost the story doesn't drag on too long and the finale reaches a fantastic conclusion which sets about a change for Season 2.
I love the little twists the show takes on classic fairytales, for example, it's safe to assume that in this programmy Grumpy is the 'leader' of the severn dwarves, not 'Doc' like in the classic tales. Rumplestiltskin is a fascinating character too and I like what they have done with him regarding several other fairytale characters too (think Beauty and The Beast). The show introduces many fairy tale characters throughout the season. It is also a bit like Lost in the way that each episode tends to have a 'flashback' episode as to when a Storybrook character was in their Fairy Tale land and these Flashbacks tend to pose more questions too. You find, for example, what made the Evil Queen the way she is. On a different note, I love the Evil Queen, just when you think she's showing some signs of redemption, she tricks you and goes back to her evil ways. I still don't buy that she's 100% evil though judging by some of the Evil Queen centric episodes later on in the season.
I don't have many negatives about the show either. The casting is great although I would say that I find Prince Charming a bit of a wimp compared to the expectation of this hero, although a twist in around episode 8 or 9 may explain that. Also, some characters you see for one episode and never see again (ie Hansel and Gretal) so it seems strange that they have a H&G centric episode and they're not heard from again. Also, you may find that the 'main' story arc gets a bit slow pacing every now and then. For the majority of the show you are willing for Emma to believe the curse, but to be fair to the writers, would you actually believe fairy tale characters are living among us?
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy watching this show. It has the same basis as Lost but it is not as complicated and suitable for the whole family. If you're looking for a fantasy drama then look at this!
Roll on Season 2!
Summary: Brilliant and clever show with many twists and shocks along the way
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