Credit: ABCOnce Upon A Time is a TV show that started airing in 2011 in the USA. Like a lot of people, I thought it seemed hard to understand if you do not get into it at first. Then every time it was on TV, I’d see people in “normal clothes” and some other times in “fairy tale” clothes. I didn’t get it so I couldn’t bother to watch it. Moreover, I’m one of those people who like to start a story from the start so I needed to catch up. The longer I waited, the more episode they would air and that would have to be a great time investment if I was to watch the show. But the real question was : is it good enough to spend time catching up ?
I thought this show would be cheesy, really dumb and just like any Princess movies where the female lead is just helpless.
In October 2012, the CTV website had a recap of the first season and I watched it. Little did I know it was one-hour-long and I didn’t see the time flying by. I was ready to catch season 2 and I have to admit that I absolutely loved it.
My expectations were not as mean as when the show first aired. I heard so many good things about the show and more importantly, Jane Espenson (a writer on Buffy, my favorite TV show), whose writing I completely admire because of the wit and jokes in the middle of great drama, was on it.
There are a lot of scripted programs in which the writing tells the story as if the audience has no brain and they explain everything so well it makes you feel dumb (and not in a Discovery Channel way but more in a two plus two equals four).
It has the perfect amount of cheesiness between Snow White and Prince Charming but the rest is just good drama. I was surprised and glad they made all the female characters so strong and smart. Snow White could compete in the Hunger Games with her friend Red Riding Hood.
The Twists in Fairy Tales
A clever show to me is a show that is entertaining but also has some good twists I would not expect. They have to make sense at the same time by giving away clues during the whole episode but not too obvious either.
The writers of Once Upon A Time work with well-known fairy tales and they do not hesitate to mix-and-match them together. I think my favorite one is having Red Riding Hood (simply called Red) being a werewolf. I know I should have seen that coming in her episode when her Grandmother tried to keep her inside the house at all cost and being overprotective.
They play with our knowledge of the tales which can go against them but at the same time it helps them too. When you think you know something, you still go with it and they smash that knowledge at the last minute by putting a twist to it. And to that, I say well done for them.
I’m glad I started watching Once Upon a Time and I will follow them every Sunday on my TV. The fact that they are shooting in Richmond, BC, Canada, just a few kilometers from where I live makes me smile because they also have to endure the rain most of the year.