Once Upon a Time Series Review

With no more creative activities left to draw, today felt a bit strange and yet open and like anything could catch my attention. As the day flowed, I ended up having a late lunch with my grandson Dayan. As we eat Chinese food and chat each Wednesday afternoon, we watch a selected series on Netflix. We finished an interesting Norwegian show last week. Today we discussed what to watch together next. 

We landed on the series Once Upon a Time, co-produced by ABC and Disney. This fantasy drama launched in 2011 and has completed five seasons. Season six will premiere this fall. I’ve seen the first two seasons and Dayan is up to date. We decided to start over at the beginning, catching me up and allowing him the opportunity to review. And so, like all memorable fairy tales, this one begins with once upon a time…

The series has a large cast…regular characters that return each year and guest characters whose stories run for a season. From season one, the Once Upon a Time regulars are Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore and Robert Carlyle. 

The story takes place in the small seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, where all of the residents are actually characters from classic fairy tales and stories. Because of a dark curse placed upon them by the Evil Queen/Regina (Parrilla), the people of Storybrooke have been frozen in time for 28 years. And yet they are unaware that they have not aged, nor do they remember who they are. Each person has assumed another identity, while living out mediocre lives in an average community. 

Snow White (Goodwin) is teaching school as Mary Margaret. Prince Charming/David (Dallas) lies in the hospital in a coma. The evil queen controls the town and its residents from her position as mayor of Storybrooke, with the help of her old friend, Rumplestiltskin (Carlyle). However her adopted son, 10 year old Henry (Gilmore), possesses the book of fairy tales that contains the true stories of all of Storybrooke’s citizens. He discovers that his birth mother, Emma (Morrison), who is also the long lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, is the only person who can free the town and its people from the curse. He finds her and brings her to Storybrooke to convince her of the truth and enlist her help. 

From Jiminy Cricket to Little Red Riding Hood and her granny to Snow White’s dwarves, the town is full of people who no longer know who they really are and how they are connected to each other. 

I’d forgotten how clever this show is. Two and a half episodes later I was enjoying the interaction between the characters and all the nods to the familiar props associated with the various fairy tales. The evil queen, now called Regina, has a fondness for apples and stands for long moments before an ornate mirror. Snow White, aka Mary Margaret, is a sweet soul who has her school kids building birdhouses for her feathered friends. Grumpy the dwarf is, well, grumpy! 

The flashbacks to the magical kingdom fill in the characters’ pasts and previous connections and piece together the overarching story of the queen’s intense hatred of Snow White. We see Snow’s infant daughter, Emma, saved by an enchanted tree and transported to our world, where she will one day grow up to rescue her parents and the rest of Storybrooke from the clutches of the queen. 

I’ve been drawn to stories this week, and had my own time of receiving tales from an enchanted forest a couple of days ago. This is the perfect series to spark my imagination and allow me to appreciate cleverness and the power of story. I also find much to ponder in the notion that these people have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten who they are to each other. They have beautiful gifts that are becoming apparent in their lives. Those may have been forgotten along with identity but they can’t be hidden. 

What a great reminder that part of my journey has been remembering as well…remembering who I am created to be, remembering what I am here to do, and what I am to offer to the world. My story began years ago with Once upon a time… Its an ongoing story in which I can already declare …and she lived happily ever after. 

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