ABC’s Once Upon A Time – Making Fairy Tales Cool

So, I’m finally getting caught up on ABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME. When it premiered its first year, my Sunday nights were already occupied ( I think) with GAME OF THRONES and since I have given up my DVR so I may cut down on my exorbitant amount of television viewing and maybe spend some of my free time outside to breathe some fresh air, I wasn’t able to watch all the episodes of season 1.

Now, thanks to the Season 1 release on DVD (not to mention the lack of commercials), I’m halfway through the first season and have enjoyed (the commercial packed) the few episodes aired so far of Season 2.

The world building is exceedingly well done. Starting with the ten-year-old boy Henry (Jared Gilmore) venturing out to find his birth mother Emma (Jennifer Morrison – some might remember her from HOUSE) in order for her to free his town of Storybrooke from the evil queen’s (Lana Parrilla from SWINGTOWN – did anybody actually watch that show?) spell, the show’s creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis are smart to begin everything in the real world. Their smartness is then complemented by good writing that has the plot flip back and forth between flashbacks of the fairy tale world and present day – an often tiresome device, but it works tremendously well with this show and gives the fairy tales a new, cooler look and feel.

It does lead however, to some over the head bashing of character traits – the queen is overly dramatic, plus she is really mean and evil – we get it. Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) – Mary Margret in the real world – is soft and mushy, not to mention sweet and good and over the top weepy. It gets a little boring. But the smartness of the show’s creators again moves into play when at the end of Season 1 they break the curse – but a true happily ever after is not in anybody’s future – tossing some of the main characters through a wormhole-like thing back to the fairy tale world. SMART STUFF!

What proves to be the continuing winning factor is the great performance of Robert Carlyle as Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin. Some might remember him from his heart-warming performance in THE FULL MONTY or his hard-hitting turn in TRAINSPOTTING. He is marvelous and the backstory that the writers have created for him makes his character at one moment deliriously evil and then tragically sweet. Ingenious.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Storybrooke gang this season. What do you think is  going to happen?