Once Upon A Time

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By Emily Tucker

Once upon a time; an American fairytale drama series, premiered on Channel 7 in 2011. The show takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, and the residents are characters from various fairytales that were transported to the ‘real world’ and robbed of their memories by a powerful curse.

Episodes typically feature a primary storyline in Storybrooke, as well as a secondary one; usually from another point in the characters life before the curse.

The show was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (writers of Lost and Tron: Legacy).

From the outside, Once upon a time may look like your slandered veggie patch show about a white knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress, but if you believed that you would be wrong.

Horowitz stated that both he and Kitsis approached each character the same way, asking themselves: “How do we make these icons real, make them relatable?” And from the beginning you can see that they took each female character, waved their magic wands, and turned them into strong, unstoppable forces of nature, willing to put their lives on the line for the people they love.

The creators do a marvelous job at revolving the plots around the concept of hope and doing what is right, all the while emphasizing the themes of family and motherhood. It is these themes that the audience can identify with, shown through the characters of Snow White/Mary Margaret, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills and Emma Swan.

The Character of Snow White is usually portrayed as an innocent girl who ends up cursed, but this Snow White is different: she is a fighter, a warrior, she knows how to play the good girl, she believes in love and she only appreciates that which she earns. She is keenly aware that she battles vanity and jealousy. It is her sense of guilt from a childhood mistake that drives her to constantly strive to be a better person, while at the same time she carries with her a princess’ sense of self entitlement. She has enough perspective to recognize that her self-reliance sets her apart from the other fairytale princesses, and she will stop at nothing to make sure her family is never apart again.

The character of Regina, The Evil Queen, could be called the enemy of happy endings, and rightly so, but there is also a softer, caring side to this hard, bitter exterior, that can been seen from her unconditional love for her adopted son Henry.

Lastly, the character of Emma Swan: A deeply damaged woman from her years in foster homes, she is used to being alone, being a survivor, and therefore is a sucker for the underdog. Against her better judgment she will compromise herself to fight for what is right and to help people in need. Emma is strong and aggressive, but her brokenness and emotions are not buried far beneath her tough exterior. She is both rash and calculated and her instincts to protect her child are strong, even though she doesn’t believe herself to be a capable mother. In the simplest form, she is a list of contrasting qualities. She is hard and soft, intense and easy going, strong and vulnerable, safe and dangerous, and logical and impulsive.

Together these three women bring a strong, well executed show that will keep you on your toes and wanting more. The writers have done an excellent job at bringing the characters and storylines together seamlessly, which I hope will continue on into season three and beyond. Fans of Lost and of other action/fantasy shows should definitely give this show a try.

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