Show Me the Romance

No cherubs. No doilies. No crap.

TV Show Review: Once Upon a Time (2011-present)

Once Upon a Time
TV Show (11 episodes to date)
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore and Robert Carlyle.

I wrote a full-length review of ABC’s Once Upon a Time pilot episode back in October, so if you’re looking for more in-depth analysis of the show itself, click here. Of course, that was based only on the first episode, and since then, I feel the show has gotten even better. The romance, however, is not this modern fairy tale’s strongest suit.

The Premise

When Snow White and her Prince Charming win their happily ever after, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla, below) is very put out. She curses all the fairy tale characters, banishing them to a terrible place where all their happy endings are ruined—a small town in modern-day Maine. It has been more than twenty years since her coup, yet time does not pass in Storybrooke, and none of the characters remember who they were. Instead, they think they’re normal people. A teacher. A sheriff. A psychiatrist. Even Ms. Evil Queen herself comes to Storybrooke to rein over her minions as Mayor For Life. But just like rules, curses are made to be broken.

The Pain

Each episode features a real-world storyline and flashbacks to what those featured characters did in their past lives as fairy tales. I enjoy the format, but it can be confusing when trying to sort out what parallels between the two worlds are meaningful, and what is just there for the sake of a good story. Also, the campy, Bob Mackie-esque costumes favored by the evil queens/witches/fairies in the flashbacks are either awesome (my opinion) or embarrassing (entirely valid opinion held by many other people). Finally, I’m not convinced yet that the romances in the show tug the heartstrings enough to give this one a four or five arrow rating, as much as I enjoy the show itself. Lately, the romance between Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) has begun to feel like an affair, and I never find cheating romantic.

The Payoff

I’m sure the executive producers (Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, writers of Lost) have many more peaks and valleys in store for viewers over the course of however-many seasons, but for Once Upon a Time they have professed a dedication to telling a good story instead of always going for Twist Value. The acting is pretty good, the costumes are memorable, and any time you get to see dry, modern wit share the screen with daring deeds and princes on horseback is just fine in my book.


3 out of 5 arrows

New episodes air Sundays at 8/7 c on ABC

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One thought on “TV Show Review: Once Upon a Time (2011-present)

  1. It’s incredible how much this show has advanced since it is aired. The story line is getting deeper and deeper into more mystery, which I am absolutely loving. I cannot wait to see what happens at the end of Season Two.

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