Welcome to Parallel Tuesdays, where magic and science are two sides of the same coin…
What if your happily ever after was taken away along with everyone you ever loved? What if you were ripped from your world and imprisoned forever, without hope or even the memory of hope? What if your one chance at freedom didn’t even believe in happy endings?
That’s the premise of the new ABC show Once Upon a Time. Jealous of Snow White’s happily ever after with Prince Charming, the Evil Queen works a terrible curse on the fairytale world, trapping the inhabitants, including Snow White, Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Gepetto, Jiminy Cricket and Rumpelstiltskin, in Storybrooke, Maine, a seemingly idyllic small town in our world, without their memories and without hope. Only Snow White’s daughter Emma Swann, now a tough bail bondsperson, can save them but she has no idea who she really is.
The cast of characters and their dual realities are intriguing:
- Emma Swann (Jennifer Morrison)- Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter. When her parents learned that she would one day save them all from the curse, they hid her in a magic wardrobe built by Gepetto. Emma comes through into the human world beside a freeway and winds up in the foster system. She grows up, has a son of her own, who she place for adoption, and becomes a beautiful but tough bail bondsperson. On her 28th birthday, she’s drawn to Storybrooke by her son Henry.
- Henry (Jared Gilmore) - Emma Swann’s son, placed for adoption at birth and adopted by Regina, mayor of Storybrooke and really the Evil Queen. Given a book of fairy tales by his teacher, he learns of the curse and how his biological mother can save them. He tracks Emma down and convinces her to return to Storybrooke with him.
- Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard (Ginnifer Goodwin) - Becomes a schoolteacher in Storybrook and is the only one who seems to still believe in happily ever afters even though she’s forgotten her own.
- Prince Charming/John Doe (Joshua Dallas) – Having suffered a serious sword wound after hiding his and Snow White’s daughter Emma in a magic wardrobe, he becomes a comatose man in the hospital who Snow visits but doesn’t remember.
- The Evil Queen/Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) - Becomes mayor of Storybrooke and adoptive mother of Emma’s son Henry.
- Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle)- Creepy in both fairytale and human form. He runs the town of Storybrooke, Maine and holds power over Emma because Snow White traded Emma’s name for Rumple’s prophecy that Emma would save them from the curse.
I was charmed by the story idea and the visuals but disappointed by the pacing. I wanted to be able to get a feel for the characters as they are in our world, their melancholy and sense that something is not quite right but they are helpless to change it. I wanted a tantalizing taste of the backstory and not a great big helping. I wanted to be guessing a little, sucked in by the mystery and dark atmosphere. But the backstory, or a large chunk of it, was revealed so quickly that it felt like TMI on a first date.
Still, some pilots get off to a bumpy start before the series takes off. I see a lot of potential in the story. I’m definitely going to keep watching.
Did you catch the pilot episode? What did you think? Where do you think the story will go from here?
(Possibly) Related articles:
- ‘Once Upon a Time’ Offers a Mix of Hope and Cynicism (Review) (popmatters.com)
- Never Stray from the Path – Little Red Riding Hood, Part 1 (doingthewritething.wordpress.com)
- September Writing Challenge – A Fairy Tale (doingthewritething.wordpress.com)
- Once Upon A Time: Actually Cheesier Than True Blood! [Video] (io9.com)
- Once Upon a Time (doingthewritething.wordpress.com)
- Fairytale Creatures Wanted…Apply Within (doingthewritething.wordpress.com)
- Once Upon a Time – Fairy Tales Can Come True (televisionwithoutpity.com)
- Once Upon a Time: A Fairy Tale Beginning (gawker.com)
- TV Review: Once Upon a Time – “Pilot” (blogcritics.org)