After lots of anticipation and hype, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” premiered last night. The show was created by two writers from “Lost,” and already there were several connections between the two series. (The clock in “Once Upon a Time” is stuck at 8:15, the same number as the flight in “Lost,” for example.)
The series opens with a very familiar scene: Snow White being woken up by the kiss of Prince Charming. We flash to their wedding, where the Evil Queen breaks in and promises to destroy their happiness. At this point, we move to modern day Boston and we meet Emma Swan. On her birthday, which she is spending alone, a young boy named Henry shows up at her doorstep claiming to be her son. They get in Emma’s car to go to Storybrooke, Maine where Henry lives so he can be returned home. In the car, Henry is reading from a fairy tale book which he believes to be real. According to him, all the characters in Storybrooke were at one point fairy tale creatures, but they have forgotten that and are now stuck in the curse of the city.
The show moves back into the fantasy story, and a now pregnant Snow White and Prince Charming visit Rumpelstiltskin in jail to seek his knowledge. He proclaims that as long as Snow White’s baby is kept safe, the child will return on its 28th birthday to save everyone from the queen’s curse. All he asks in return is to know the baby’s name, which is Emma.
The story continues to bounce back and forth between “real life” and the “fairy tale” showing many comparisons between who the characters were, and who they are now. The evil queen is now the modern mayor of the city (and Henry’s adoptive mother, conveniently.) Snow White is Henry’s teacher, Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother are the owners of a Bed & Breakfast, and so on. (At one point I believe I even saw long blonde hair coming from a tower, signaling to the fact that there are probably many more familiar characters we haven’t met yet.)
Overall, the series shows a lot of promise. There were many stunning visuals, gorgeous costumes, and lots of intricate weaving together of classic stories that we all know and love. I think that any fan of Disney will instantly be attracted to the premise of this show. The pilot did very well in the ratings, winning top slot as the most watched non-sports airing from last night. Many critics have named it one of the “shows to watch” this fall, and I see why.