Once Upon A Time is a new fantasy series that premiers this Sunday that I originally had no intentions of watching. Fairy tales held little appeal to me as a child or as an adult. Still, the more I read, heard and saw about this series, the more I became intrigued. Here is the official synopsis on ABC's web site.
"For us, that’s what a fairytale is. It’s that ability to think your life will get better. It’s why you buy a lottery ticket—because if you win you get to tell your boss that you’re quitting and you get to move to Paris or wherever and be who you always wanted to be. And that’s Cinderella, right? One day she’s sweeping up and the next she’s going to the ball. Adam and I just wanted to write about something hopeful that for one hour a week allows one to put everything aside and have that feeling that your dreams just may come true."
- Edward Kitsis, Co-Creator/Executive Producer
Emma Swan's life has been anything but a fairytale. A 28-year-old bail bonds person, she’s been taking care of herself since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry — the son she gave up 10 years ago — finds her, everything changes. Henry is desperate for his mom’s help and thinks that Emma is actually the long, lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Yes, the actual Snow White and Prince Charming. Even stranger, Henry believes that Storybrooke, the sleepy New England town he calls home, is really part of a curse cast by the Evil Queen, freezing fairytale characters in the modern world with no memory of their former selves.
Of course the seen-it-all Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she gets to Storybrooke, she can’t help sensing that everything’s not quite what it seems. As Henry shows Emma around with the help of his fairytale book, the town, and its inhabitants like Henry’s therapist Archie Hopper and the enigmatic Mr. Gold, seem just strange enough to set off her already suspicious nature. She becomes even more concerned for Henry when she meets his adopted mother, Regina, who he suspects is none other than the Evil Queen herself!
Storybrooke is a place where magic has been forgotten — but is still powerfully close — and happily ever after seems just out of reach. In order to understand where the fairytale world’s former inhabitants came from, and what ultimately led to the Evil Queen’s wrath, you’ll need a glimpse into their previous lives. But it might just turn everything you’ve ever believed about these characters upside-down.
Meanwhile, the epic battle for the future of all worlds, modern and fairytale alike, is about to begin. For good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.
"We kept circling back to the idea of fairytales. The very first stories that you hear when you're a kid. They're full of magic and heroics and fear and joy. But we also found fairytales are full of all these unanswered questions. Like why is Grumpy grumpy? Why is Geppetto so lonely that he'd actually carve a little boy out of wood? And did the Evil Queen really try to kill Snow White simply because of vanity? With Once Upon A Time, we set out to explore those questions and not re-tell these stories but attempt to dig beneath what we all know and try to discover something new."
- Adam Horowitz, Co-Creator/Executive Producer
Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis conceived the show seven years prior joining the writing staff of Lost, but wanted to wait until that series was over to focus on this project.
In May 2011, Jane Espenson was added as a co-executive producer and Liz Tigelaar was brought on as a consulting producer. Damon Lindelof served as a consultant on the show's pilot. Kitsis described Lindelof as his and Horowitz's "godfather", while Horowitz said that Lindelof's "name isn't on the show, but his DNA is in it," and that he will continue to advise the two. They also noted that Disney has allowed them access to their fairy tale characters for use in the series. "They've given us license," Kitsis said. "I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time anyone's shown Snow White with a sword, or pregnant."
Both Horowitz and Kitsis later emphasized that the series will focus more on the characters themselves and won't feature a "complex" storyline, which reportedly was the primary focus. "We don't want this to be a mythology show," said Kitsis. "It's about characters and characters first.
I was not a fan of Lost and gave up on that series' muddled mythology after two seasons. Still, it sounds like Horowitz and Kritsis may have learned from Lost and will not dwell on the mystery over the story and characters on Once Upon A Time. Plus, unlike Lost, Once Upon A Time clearly emphasises at the start that it is a fantasy series. Unlike Lost, which initially had illusions as posing as a Science Fiction series. At least with Once Upon A Time I know what I'm in for right away.
Here is the trailer for Once Upon A Time, which premiers on ABC on October 23 at 8pm.