ABC’s hit fantasy drama show Once Upon A Time is currently in its third season run, and to say the show is taking all sorts of twists and turns with the characters of Storybrooke is an understatement. Considering this show is created by the writing team of Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis who came out of another successful and popular TV show (Lost), then you can see where they might have gotten their influences from. If you aren’t currently swept under the spell of Once, making the attempt to jump in now would have you feeling…lost.
I’ve detailed my love for the show the first time it came out before on this blog and I’m still excited when the show comes back on with a new episode every Sunday nights. Sometimes I do find the plot threads thrown on the show a little too convoluted, but Lost can be argued as having the same issues too. It’s bound to happen when you have a large ensemble cast and new characters added in almost every few episodes. With the amount of stories and connections each character has to each other, you’ll need a chart to keep all of it straight. When you have a show about fairy tale characters who live and exist in our own world and in another world, you have a ton of characters to pull out and use at your whim. Notable examples from this season are Ariel of The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood, and Peter Pan.
Once is a show that likes to take all the Disney, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or any story we grew up with as a child and effectively turn it on its head. With Emma Swan as our main heroine and non-fairy tale character, she’s the window into this spectacular and oftentimes too insane-to-be-real other world. A lot of the times Emma herself admits she can’t quite believe the real story of each of these fairy tale characters aren’t exactly as how she remembers it.
The show does give us a refreshing take on the fairy tales we grew to love, and changes around who we originally think is the hero and villain of the story. Take for instance, Peter Pan. Season 3 takes some of the characters of Storybrooke to Neverland. If you’ve ever watched Disney’s Peter Pan, you know he’s the hero and Hook is the villain. Not so in Once’s world.
Peter Pan in the show’s version is an evil, manipulative teenager who uses tricks and mind games to get what he wants. Hook, while not exactly a saint himself, appears to be the flawed good guy of the show. If you come into watching the show with a fixed idea of seeing the stories being retold as we know them, then you may be disappointed. What makes Once an entertaining TV show is how the writers take the fairy tales we already know and changing the stories around to create something new. It’s also a much more mature take on fairy tales that grown ups can enjoy, but may not be suitable for their children to watch.
I’ve always loved fairy tales as a kid. I enjoy the escapism and believing the impossible is possible. Fairy tales have everything we love most about stories––heroes clashing swords with the villains, dragons, and epic tales of true love. When we come away from reading or watching fairy tales it leaves us with a good feeling and reminds us why imagining these fantastical tales in our heads was so much fun when we were children. Once Upon A Time gives you that, but makes it more relatable for the mature adult. Indulge in fantasy, but come away with themes and ideas we can all think about and apply in our own lives.