ONCE UPON A TIME: Fall TV 2011 [Worth Watching?]

I tend to be a little leery of fraternal twins when it comes to Fall TV. For example it took me a whole year to give ER a chance because it premiered at the same time as CHICAGO HOPE. I actually ended up liking both shows — I even watched ER faithfully until its season finale, but still I was wary about this season’s fraternal twins, GRIMM and ONCE UPON TIME. Should I have been. Well, I’ll be reviewing GRIMM next Monday, but right now let’s talk about ABC’s entry into the fairytales reimagined race.

Overview: The evil queen of Snow White fame curses all of the characters populating our most beloved fairytales to the worst fate imaginable: a small town in current day Maine where time stands still. But ahoy, a savior in the form of Snow White’s now twenty-eight-year-old daughter comes to (very reluctantly save the day) thanks to the son she gave up for adoption seven years ago. You see, he was actually adopted by the current day version of the evil queen … yeah, the premise is a bit complicated.


What I Liked: Well, I loved fairytales growing up and apparently they’re not done with me yet, because I found everything about this premise fascinating, especially the promise of LOST-like flashbacks to see the “real stories” behind our favorite fairytales. I also loved the main character, who is played by Jennifer Morrison, an actress who was criminally underused in HOUSE, and masterfully reincarnated in a half-season arc of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. She’s perfect for the role of a beautiful-but-lonely-but-tough-but-sentimental bails bond person.  

What I Didn’t Like: Maybe this will be covered in future episodes, but the evil stepmother queen is just bizarrely over-the-top. Why does she hate Snow White so very much? It has to go deeper than looks-based jealousy (as claimed) — especially since she’s played by Lana Parilla, an actress who is not only smoking hot, but only a year older than Ginnifer Goodwin’s Snow White in real life. However, this is a very mild “don’t like,” since I have the feeling that the writers will present a deeper motivation for banishing hundreds of characters to our current reality in future episodes. However, the Snow White’s grandson is already starting to irk me, and we’re only one episode in. #dangkidgetoffmyporch

Diversity Report

People of Color? 1 Lana Parilla is a Puerto Rican actress and she’s given lots to do, so kudos. Also, there’s lot of potential for PoC guest shots and arcs in future fairytale retellings, since even the scenes set in ye olden days include extras of color. Way to go!

Report Card

Show B+ Diversity B-

Worth Watching?

I put ONCE in the DVR as soon as the pilot credits rolled. A lot of people are comparing ONCE to the series FABLES, but I’ve never read that series, so it feels totally refreshing to me. I love that it’s not a procedural (yawn) and I love that three women are at the forefront of the cast. It’s not quite LOST yet, but it feels like it could be.