Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Take on ABC's Once Upon a Time

There's only two episodes of Once Upon a Time up so far but I'm not too into it. The premise itself could be really interesting: regular people who are secretly fairy tale characters. I've been intrigued with this concept of fairy tales being somehow true-as accounts of past true tales, or prophecies of things to come, are themes I play around with in my own stories. I'm glad to see that in this age where fairy tales are usually either parodied or twisted, there is this increasingly popular approach to fairy tales that holds, it seems, a little more respect for the old stories.

However, it disappointed me that the tv show's idea of a storybook character is to reference aspect of stories which are exclusively Disney-Jiminy Cricket, Maleficent, a guy in jail whistling "Whistle While You Work..." makes me wonder if they did any research beyond watching Disney classics.

The script is kind of cheesy. The good characters are sort of bland and the bad characters not that evil-the only character I find interesting is Rumplestiltskin. This supposedly dark, evil curse that even the other witch is afraid of make Snow White become a teacher in a cute American town. That' life and I think it's pretty great. All that talk about taking away everyone's happiness and all they hold dear-what is that, exactly? The most shallow idea of "happily ever after" that implies that nothing ever goes wrong again? That's all they really lost. Okay, and their memory of their past life. But still, not a very evil plot-making them live normal lives-compared to the history of villainous deeds the classic tales feature.

The beginning seemed a little too much like Enchanted for me-I couldn't take it seriously. The whole sending them to a place where "there are no happily ever afters" which turns out to be our world, and then the constant obvious offering of poisoned apples to the protagonist...and I love Enchanted, but that's a parody for kids, and this was, I thought, supposed to be a more serious exploration of fairy tale characters for adults.

Update-I wrote the above before finishing the second episode. I like the element where the Wicked Queen has to kill the heart of the thing she loves the most-an interesting twist on her ordering the heart of Snow White and adds depth and backstory to her character. I do plan on watching more episodes, and maybe my opinion will shift.

1 comment:

  1. In ways I do agree with you, I was expecting more from this show but I'm intrigued enough to keep watching. For me it seems more of a Fables rip-off than anything and it was no surprise to learn that the same people were once involved in trying to bring Fables to t.v. I also learned that Disney is the parent company of the show because I was wondering why on earth Jimminy Cricket and Maleficient were in it, really hate what they turned Maleficient into as well.

    I really like Emma though, I think she's what keeps the show going for me, although I don't much like Henry and I agree that whilst it's ironic to have the real world as the place without happy endings it's not really all that bad for them.