I’ve just finished watching Season 1 of Once Upon a Time. Actually, since I’m writing this Monday evening and you won’t be reading it until Wednesday, I’m probably also part way through Season 2, but I digress. I thought since I told you about my plan to catch up (here) before the premier of Season 3, I would give you an update on my progress and what I think of the show so far. So, progress first. As I said, it is early Monday evening and I have just finished Season 1. This means that I have 22 episodes to complete by Sunday evening. Which leaves <*Insert drum roll*> an average of 3 episodes a day (including today and Sunday). If we don’t count Sunday, I’m still at the same 3.6666 we discussed last week – not bad, not bad at all.
Now onto the more exciting, “what do I think” segment of this post. Am I loving Once Upon a Time as much as I thought (and hoped) I would? YES! DEFINITELY! (Oops, sorry for shouting there, I just…um… I really love this show. I’ll try not to let it happen again.) If I wasn’t loving it, I probably wouldn’t be through the first season yet. From the very first episode I was hooked and it just keeps getting better the more episodes I watch. Would you like to know some of the things I’m loving about it? You would? Great! (for those of you who said no just now, yes I heard you, but I heard more yeses)
<Megra12 Disclaimer: I am going to try to avoid any major spoilers in the rest of this post, but no guarantees. We are going into the third season here, so I’m not going to go out of my way to be cautious but I also don’t want to spoil it for those of you I convince to watch it. Consider yourself warned>
1. The show flips back and forth between the present in Storybrooke and the past in Fairytale land (I think technically it’s called the Enchanted Forest? Not 100% sure though). This is done brilliantly. I find that shows that jump back and forth between the past and the present often have a hard time preserving the flow of the story and the whole thing ends up feeling disjointed. This is not even close to the case with Once Upon a Time. Sure, the writers break up the story by jumping back and forth, but they do it in such a way that you don’t lose the flow of the episode. The jumps back to fairytale land fill in information that you need to understand what’s happening in the present (either character development or plot information). I found that by the middle of the series, as soon as a new character was introduced in Storybrooke, I wanted a scene that would tell me who they were in Fairytale land. To keep you guessing, sometimes that flashback clip would appear right away and sometimes you had to wait a few scenes (or in some cases episodes) before you found out who they were.
2. Character introduction. I know, I know, I just mentioned this in point one, but give me a chance to explain. The gradual character introduction is fantastic. Some characters you find out about really early on (Snow White, The Evil Queen, Prince Charming, Rumpelstiltskin, Red Riding Hood (and her Granny), and Jiminy Cricket). Others are introduced gradually throughout the season. And even the main characters are more fully introduced as you go on (the episode that gives Red Riding Hood’s back story takes place halfway through and is amazing). The character development of the main characters is also handled really well. Even if you’re pretty sure you know how a character is going to react to something, the writers make sure that you never really know for sure. Rumpelstiltskin is always a wild card (in both Storybrooke and Fairytale land).
3. The Fairytale adaptations. None of the fairytales is exactly the way you remember it. I mean, in most cases the basic plot is the same so that you can recognize the story and the characters, but there is often a twist, or they present information in an unexpected way. Yes, Prince Charming has to rescue Snow White from a poison apple, but it takes the entire season to get to that point and they have many more interactions and rescue scenarios first. There is an unexpected werewolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story. Many of the characters know each other and interact in each other’s stories. Sometimes stories themselves overlap in unexpected ways.
4. Mayor Regina Mills aka Evil Queen Regina. For those of you who have seen the show just saying that should suffice. She is a brilliant villain; in both Storybrooke and Fairytale land. Her character is developed in such a way that… well, let’s just say I am somehow continuously blindsided. I find myself thinking, “even Regina wouldn’t… OMG she did!” on a very regular basis. You’d think I’d learn. Despite the level of Evil she has reached by the end of season 1, I somehow doubt that we have reached the limits of her evil. I have yet to forgive her for what she did to Sheriff Graham aka The Huntsman. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I won’t say anymore, except that I was not a happy camper at the end of that episode.
Season 1 ended with the curse broken – Sort of. And, if you thought breaking the curse would solve all of problems for the people of Storybrooke, you were wrong, wrong, wrong. All I can say is, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait months before starting season 2.