Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time, ABC

What it’s about: A lonely young woman’s life is turned upside down when her long-lost son leads her to Storybrook, a small town populated by fairytale characters who’ve been trapped in this world by an evil queen’s curse, and it may be this young woman’s destiny to free them all.

Why we chose it: For almost a decade now, I have been a rabid fan of the comic book series, Fables, and have always thought it would translate beautifully to the screen.  In fact, I pitched a TV show adaptation of it for my producing thesis and won first place.  But, despite constant rumors that “something is in the works”, no official plans have materialized.  So when I heard that a TV show with an uncannily similar premise was coming out, I was suspicious, hostile, and most certainly curious.  On one hand, I wanted it to be awesome, which could perhaps pave the way for a Fables series.  On the other hand, I thought such an obviously inferior knock-off deserved to FAIL.  Either way, it easily made its way onto the list.

Production Value: This was the big question in a Fables TV adaptation; was there enough money for it to look good?  With a bunch of different settings (most of which were fantastical in some way), a lot of money would have to go to creating a realistic world.  That is unfortunately the first major failure of this show.  The CGI-fairytale land looks AWFUL; they might as well have left the green screen in.  Also, Ginnifer Goodwin’s Snow White had the most absurdly terrible hair in the flashbacks I have ever seen.  That might seem like a silly or petty criticism but the hair was so egregiously heinous, I had to mention it.

Acting: Someone put Ginnifer Goodwin out of her misery.  Not since Charlie’s Angels have I seen such terrible acting on the small screen.  As Snow White, she gives a classic “trying to emote, rather than act” performance and it’s just painful to watch.  That being said, the rest of the cast is actually quite good.  Jennifer Morrison is super likable as the protagonist and Lana Parrilla is fun as the evil queen.

Writing: The big advertising push for this show was that it was helmed by the writers of LOST.  For me, that is not necessarily a good thing.  However, the episodes they wrote include some of my favorites (“Dave”, “Expose”) so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  The writing for this show is mediocre, at best.  It’s got some embarrassing clunkers and some awkward scenes but the ideas and concepts behind it are actually quite interesting.  I do want to know what’s gonna happen and where the story’s heading.

OVERALL: I didn’t love it, but it’s not as terrible as it could’ve been.  If they get a new special effects team, kill off Snow White, and fit in a couple of rewrites, this could actually be a really fun show.  But as it is, it often feels silly, childish, and a little shallow.  It’s certainly no Fables but my love of the subject matter and the intriguing premise could keep it in the competition longer than it deserves.  It better hope that some other show has a rough week, though, or it’s going home early.


3 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time

  1. darryl says:

    the issue with these shows that parallel fairy tales are the plot that binds the tale to reality. In Once Upon a Time, that plot is the curse. If the “Curse” is not lifted them eventually the story will become tedious. I already don’t care to watch it, and I am only half way through the first season. Its like the plot is stagnant, it doesn’t go anyway though, it nags at you every show, tempting you like a nat. Good concept, but if you want a drama, just create a damn drama show. Don’t try to pretend reality is magical.

  2. Moya says:

    Exactly it doesn’t go anywhere we do not need all the bullshit about true love blah blah blah…. nor the background of everybody life. personally i could give a rats ass about how gimny became a cricket or how cinderella did anything I watch the show cause I want to see that bitch regina get her ass kicked. So they better get to that story line or cut it down to 10 episode a season if they have nothing to write about.17 fucking episodes for the bitch to get a clue, really what the hell…. Truly annoyed.

  3. wenex says:

    Wow, well, you go into a lot more analysis for why this show sucks that I can… I, like a lot of people I’d imagine, was drawn to the show because “Lost” was one of my favorite series and this was advertised as being by the same writers… My girlfriend and I watched a few episodes of OUAT and I was terribly disappointed.. I don’t have the production background to really piece it apart like you have, but essentially: it was boring, didn’t live up to the hype, and I simply wasn’t that interested in the characters. I definitely wasn’t intrigued, which was a constant emotion experienced with “Lost.” Ah well.. It’d be interested to see the Fables translation hit the television.. Good luck and thanks for the article.

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