Once upon a time, the universe smiled down on the masses of bored television audiences and gave us the aptly named series “Once Upon a Time”. The plot premise is a little confusing, but see if you can keep up: Prince Charming, AKA James, and Snow White have just been married when the Evil Queen crashes their wedding and informs everyone present that she is poised to put a curse on the entire kingdom that will ruin everyone’s lives and put a stop to all happy endings. The residents of the kingdom fret about this curse for over three years without anything actually happening until Snow White is about to give birth to her first child, a daughter named Emma. That very day, the curse (in form of a large, black cloud) immerses the kingdom. The Prince puts Emma in a magical cabinet to protect her and watches as she disappears right before he is killed by the Queen’s soldiers.
Meanwhile, in an alternate reality, a now adult Emma lives alone as a bounty hunter in Boston. She is found by Henry, the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago, who asks her for a ride home. Turns out he lives in Maine, in a little town called Storybrook (story book, get it?) and he is convinced that everyone in town is a fairy tale character trapped between worlds, frozen in time. He begs Emma to help him save everyone from the Evil Queen, who is now the mayor of Storybrook and Henry’s adopted mother. He bases his evidence on a mysterious book that tells all the stories from the other universe including the one of Emma’s destiny to someday save everybody from the curse.
The premise is crazy and interesting to explore as long as you don’t mind that Gennifer Goodwin is playing the mother of someone who looks older than her and overlook the plot hole of Henry growing up in a town where nobody ages. The cast chemistry is electric and amazing and all the characters are so dynamic and original that you could spend hours analyzing characters alone. Goodwin as Snow White quietly steals every scene she’s in, and occasionally if the scene already belongs to her, she’ll give it to someone else and then graciously steals it back. This is especially surprising because her character is soft-spoken and gentle. She doesn’t take scenes by mugging the person it belongs to; she more asks politely for them and they are gladly handed over. She radiates with a quiet wisdom, and you just want to trust her.
Lana Parilla is absolutely poisonous as the Queen. She occasionally comes off too harsh, but she balances these moments with times of a smooth voice and dangerous quiet. Jared Gilmore is one of the best child actors on TV today, and he pulls off the precociousness of Henry perfectly.
This is one show that may be difficult to catch up with if you miss too many episodes, but it’s definitely worth watching, so I’d suggest beginning watching as soon as possible. You don’t want to be left behind.