“The problem with this world is that everyone wants some magical solution to their problems, yet everyone refuses to believe in magic.”
BY ISEULT DE MALLET BURGESS
Once upon a time, I was handed a DVD filled with episodes of what would soon become the first TV show to truly inspire an element of magic in my life. I’m truly glad I turned on the first episode and was drawn into the world of wonder that is, Once Upon a Time.
The American fantasy drama Once Upon a Time (2011), follows the cynical, defensive protagonist Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison, who is brought to a town in Maine, named Storybrooke. Here, fairy tale characters are real and living under a curse, unaware of their true identities. Through flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest and the characters’ past identities, the story follows Emma’s transformation from disbelief to acceptance, as she eventually breaks the curse that traps the Storybrooke civilians in the resolution of Season One.
In the five following seasons, the characters’ adventure through various fairy-tale arcs, including adaptions of traditional stories, and even modern Disney fairy-tales such as; Aladdin, Brave and Frozen. Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and her son, Henry, is the grandchild of Rumplestiltskin- who is married to Belle, with Henry’s great grandmother being the Evil Queen… who is also his step-mother. If that supremely complicated family tree doesn’t sell this riveting story to you, then what will?
A disadvantage of this plethora of fairy tales, however, is just that; the number of transitions between different stories each season can get a little repetitive. Personally, however, I don’t find this to be a large issue, mainly because of the interest each story brings with it.
The well-written plot balances themes of romance and family well with fantasy and action. The costuming is also particularly well done, with authentic and intricate designs for the iconic fairy tale characters, but with an original flair. The green-screening for the fantasy scenes, however, are a little plastic-looking yet will prove a non-issue as you become more engrossed in the story.
A highlight of the most recent season, 6, was the wonderfully-constructed musical episode. What was unique about this in comparison to other shows, was that the soundtrack was original and sung entirely by the talented cast. Trust me, it’s been two months and I am still playing the songs on repeat!
The show is now headed for a Season 7 reboot, with much of the original cast leaving and a new angle being taken on the show. As much as this is sad for long-term viewers, it’s also an exciting opportunity for a revamp of the characters and storyline.
Overall, Once Upon a Time conveys a strong message of hope, love and friendship through the complex characters and compelling storyline. I would recommend it to anyone wanting their soul to be transported to a pleasant vortex of pain and suffering. But that’s all TV shows we get attached to, right?