Fantasy Made Real
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Once Upon a Time
Saturday and Sunday, 10pm
What's it about?
Characters from the fairy-tale world find themselves in the real world, without being aware of it — Once Upon a Time builds on this premise. The first scene is set in the Enchanted Forest, with Snow White and Prince Charming, their subsequent union and birth of their child. This despite the curse of the Evil Queen, who wants to put an end to their fairy-tale love to bring upon her own happy ending. In between, we are introduced to their real-life counterparts in an idyllic, unassuming suburban American neighbourhood. Curiously called Storybrooke, all of its inhabitants are characters from fairy tales. This fact is known only to a 10-year-old boy, Henry. The first couple of episodes straddle between the two alternate worlds — great castles and modern-day duplexes, while the audience is gradually introduced to the customs and rules of this semi-fantasy.
Who's in it?
Jennifer Morrison plays Emma Swan, the protagonist and daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming from the fairy tales. It's through her findings that we are told about the interconnections of the two worlds. Jared Gilmore plays Henry, a loner and an adopted child to Mayor Regina Mills — played by Lana Parilla who is also the Evil Queen. Ginnifer Goodwin is Snow White and Henry's school teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard, one who lends him a fairy tale book to read. Josh Dallas plays Prince Charming and Mary's husband David Nolan. While the show chiefly revolves around these characters, Pinocchio makes an appearance later in the series.
The merit of a fantasy lies in the simplicity and conviction with which it is able to explain its own rules, its own logic. Once Upon A Time does that with seamless ease, as the interconnections of the real and fantasy world are unraveled through the simple words of a 10-year old. The series pulsates with high drama and there is never a dull moment, as we discover the worlds with each scene. In Storybrooke, nothing is what it seems. It will be interesting to watch how Regina, who later becomes the Sheriff of Storybrooke, and uses all her power to cause ill to Snow White, her daughter and Henry. It helps that the acting, the music, and the high production value are convincing, suited to the worlds it tries to create.
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