TV shows have become pretty boring in the last decade because of the proliferation of reality shows. However, a couple of shows have popped up recently (2012) that I have really enjoyed watching: Once Upon a Time on ABC and Grimmon NBC. It’s amazing that two fairy tale shows are airing at the same time on two different stations, like two different versions of Snow White will be in the movie theaters within the next year. How do they do that?
Anyway, Once Upon a Time and Grimm may both be about fairy tales, but they have a different a take on what fairy tale means.
ABC’s contribution, Once Upon a Time, tells us the story of what happens after the happy ending. An evil witch (Lana Parilla) decides to take the happiness of everyone in the land, especially Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming’s (Josh Dallas) through a vicious Curse that wipes their memories, and whisks them away to modern day Storybrooke, Maine. This she does so that she can be happy and everyone else be in the dark about who they really are. Time in Storybrooke is at a standstill and those who live there cannot leave or else “bad things” will happen to them if they do. The only person who can possibly save them is Emma Swan (played by Jennifer Morrison from House). She is the unknowing daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, but in the modern world she’s a bounty hunter. She gets pulled into Storybrooke, Maine by Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore), the son she gave up for adoption, who came and found her to help. Henry was adopted by the mayor of Storybrooke, who is also the evil witch. However, Henry believes that everyone is a fairytale character and with Emma in the picture he is convinced the curse will start to weaken.
The character that seems to be pulling all the fairy strings appears to be Rumplestiltskin, fantastically played by Robert Carlyle. Both his make up and costume are phenomenal, and give him a reptilian feel. The way he delivers his lines is so thin and airy, you know he’s up to no good. His version of the conniving wish giver is so slimy and evil it gives me the chills to watch him. As each episode unfolds you find that Rumplestiltskin made some deal/agreement to a desperate character to have the story go as it does. As Mr. Gold in the modern world he seems to not have been much affected by the Curse, and seems most aware of what goes on around Storybrooke.
The evil witch/mayor’s character is very interesting. As the witch, she lost someone she loved and hates that everyone is happy around her. As the mayor, she has her adopted son Henry whom she really seems to care about, but is unable to get the parenting thing down, therefore is unable to get Henry to love her. Which would appear to be the void she is trying to fill.
From what I’ve seen of the show so far, it looks like each episode will not only follow the Snow White and Prince Charming character plot, but the other fairy tale characters will also have their story told. So far I’ve seen Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge), and Little Red Riding hood stories (this one was my favorite retelling). I am curious to see who’s story will be expanded next.
As the Once Upon a Time season progresses all of the two-dimensional characters start to become more three-dimensional. They become fuller in their personalities so the stories are not just about good and evil anymore. They become less a fairy tale character from a book, and more….human.