Once Upon a Time Review
Once Upon a Time is a
fantasy series created by
writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. The
two artistic bosses of this new hit series
were part of a small pool of writers that worked on the ABC series Lost, arguably the network's most
successful series ever, and the two creative and visionary writers
writing episodes of the show for all of the six seasons it was on air.
two of the primary brain-funds behind the genius otherwise known as Lost be able to begin their own
television series and find similar success? Magic
Eight Ball Response: The Outlook Looks Extremely
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were not the creators or show-runners
Lost (that would be Damon Lindelof
and Carlton Cuse) they were both essential to the success the series
before Lost even began as a series,
the duo had already started to formulate some serious ideas for a
program about fairy tale characters and this is what eventually led
creating Once Upon a Time.
is different than anything else on TV. The story premise is also quite
intriguing: fairy tale characters have happy endings in their world of
fantastical but wind up facing The Evil Queen in a serious showdown
two sides. A curse is placed on everyone: the curse? That no one will
happy endings anymore - everyone will be banished to living out the
have in the "real" world.
episode does an excellent job establishing the backdrop of the show and
intriguing for it. Few shows begin with such a high level of ambition.
the things that was telling from the beginning of the show was that
Kitsis and Adam Horowitz had serious plans about telling something new
compelling of their own now that Lost is
finished. There's nothing as refreshing in the television industry as
dedicated show-runners who seem determined to tell a story, an exciting
one that is unique.
real world, the fairy tale characters don't have any idea about the
their own "real" world and they are instead living out lives that are
constantly under the gaze of the curse. Every character lives in a town
Storybrooke and are unable to leave without facing the coldness in
endings. Somehow, someway... the curse must be lifted to set things right
Kitsis and Adam Horowitz learned a great deal from their time spent
working on Lost. You can tell that Once
Upon a Time is in part the result
of a great deal of knowledge gained in storytelling while working on
First of all, the entire writing team of this series remembers to place
character ahead of everything else on the list of important things.
the characters and getting to understand them and who they are is
fundamental. Essential to understanding the show. It
is an element that sets it apart from being something limited to only
story of a curse that needs breakin': no, this show has a larger issue,
and ambition at hand. Once Upon a Time
is really a show about people and about the relationships we have with
ourselves and each-other. This makes the series infinitely more
series progresses we learn new things about all of these characters:
the setting within the world of "fairy tales" and the "real world"
Instead of simply rehashing out things we already know about fairy
the characters that inhabit them we learn about these characters as if
first time and with backstories that aren't the same. Indeed, the
to want to keep viewers on their toes by unraveling the storyline and
characters inhabiting the show slowly; and with any number of
amaze us through their ability to be surprising despite the familiarly
us already have with classic fairy tales.
has a massive cast of characters that seems to be growing constantly
the expansive nature of adding additional fairy tale characters into
the mix, but
the main cast does consist of a few central characters. Many actors and
add an additional aspect into the mix of the elaborate story though and
an aspect that keeps things interesting.
Morrison is a lead as character Enma Swan. It would be better for any
tune into the series to find out her place in the story. There is also
role for a child actor with Jared Gilmore
delivering a solid performance as a kid who really believes
in fairy tales as being real. He is one to recognize a world outside of
Storybrooke. He shares this knowledge to outsider Enma
Goodwin (Snow White), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Lana Parrilla (The
Queen), and Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin) are the rest of what could
descried as primary cast members during season one.
on this show does excellent work portraying their characters but the
notable performances are by Ginnifer Goodwin, providing warmth and
bravery as a
kick-butt Snow White and Robert Carlyle as the wild card of the show,
performing a wickedly confusing Rumplestiltskin, who always seems most
interested in himself.
of the things that is enjoyable about the show is not
just that the characters are explored in different ways than
imagined in our traditional understanding of fairy tale characters. It
is how things develop during the show and
the twists and turns that keep things interesting. Theme is naturally a
aspect to the course of events during this series and it helps keeps
as grounded as possible in a human reality that is all the more
because of it. We care about these characters as real people and not
imagined characters from a storybook. It amazes me how the series
combines our love
of storybook storytelling with characters with a genuine sense of
Upon a Time is
all the better for it.
any complaints about the show it's that the directing seems somewhat
inconsistent. The series could use a television director as talented as
like Jack Bender, the frontrunner in directing Lost.
Speaking of Lost, I
was also annoyed by how many times the series made some kind of Lost reference. All of the series
references will feel obscure or unknown to those who were not fans of Lost but it just seemed to be a bit too
much at times.
understand that the references probably exist because some of the Lost writers are working on this show, and
that's cool... however, I don't want so
many reminders. How many Apollo bars,
MacCutcheon whisky, Ultimate Wolverine vs.
Hulk, and Sewing moments (symbolizing the progression of an
story that has many plot threads) be
included in one show? It seemed a tad
overdone to me.
Upon a Time
ended up becoming one of the most
successful series to premiere over the past year and broadcasting
must be thrilled with the ratings it's been receiving. With around 10
viewers regularly tuning in, it's easily one of the most successful
currently airs on ABC and with the premiere of season two looming ahead
series might be capable of finding even more broadcasting success.
might have a long way to go to reach its conclusion but viewers will
up for the task with such excellent storytelling contributing to this
unique brand of excellence. The season
two premiere should only be expanding upon things even more for most
undoubtedly. Once Upon a Time is one
of the best and most intriguing fantasy series on TV.
Upon a Time
on Blu-ray across five discs with an AVC encoded transfer in 1080p High
Definition. The image quality is stunning and will really amaze fans of
show that did not see the show with such sparkling clarity while
720p television broadcasts. Visually, the show is a creative wonder
the realm of reality and fantasy seamlessly. The cinematography is
appealing. The art design is fascinating and immersive with high
The one major drawback to seeing the show look so clean, detailed, and
is that the special effects sometimes look too cartoony
(or is it campy?) when the comparisons are made between effective
special effects and those that can sometimes find an ability to
Upon a Time looks
about as impressive as any show can.
Upon a Time contains
DTS-HD Master Audio mix for each episode. This is great news in that TV
with high resolution audio are always going to impress more with the
I was a bit disappointed with directionality. Unlike any given episode
of Lost, Once Upon a Time doesn't
have a sound design that is even remotely
close to sounding as expansive and intense as that series constantly
throughout its entire run. The sound is surprisingly front-heavy and
center-channel directed. I kept expecting more to happen in developing
sound design but it just seems as though it is not as movie-like or
artistically creative a sound design. At best, the audio does offer
high resolution compositions from composer Mark Isham and the dialogue
always crisp and easy to understand.
are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing),
Season One release of Once Upon a Time
features a decent selection.
of commentaries should be pleased by the
inclusion of five different commentaries on the following episodes: Pilot, 7:15 A.M., Skin Deep,
The Stable Boy, and A Land Without Magic.
Upon a Time: Origins
focuses on the history of some of
the fairy tale characters explored on Once Upon a Time in a
Tales in the Modern World is a
twenty minutes long behind
the scenes featurette featuring commentary from writers Edward Kitsis
Horowitz about their creation of the show, cast interviews, and footage
surrounding the development of the show.
Character is a
short featurette exploring Edward
Kitsis and Adam Horowitz's take on exploring these Fairy Tale
characters in a
way different from what many were expecting to see, and how this model
exploring the characters works on Once
Upon a Time.
Story I Remember... Snow White
featurette has the cast
reflecting upon their own experience and history with the Snow White
to Storybrooke is a
piece about the actual town of
Steveston, British Columbia that is used to create the fictional center
of the Once Upon a Time series.
of supplements include a Special
Orchestral Suite featuring a selection from composer Mark Isham, deleted scenes from the entire first season,
Upon a Time is
another successful fantasy
series from ABC Studios. Created and guided from some of the writers of Lost, Once Upon a Time combines
excellent ambitious storytelling with interesting
fairy tale characters. It is unlike anything seen before on television.
A high quality Blu-ray release with excellent PQ, decent AQ, and a nice
bonus features helps to make this a release that is well worth owning.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.