Once Upon a Time Season 1 Review

The funniest thing I’ve noticed while talking to other people who watch Once Upon a Time, is the cautionary excitement I hear echoed in their voices.  They want to know that it’s okay that they watch and like this corny but nonetheless fun dual-reality show.

Once Upon a Time centers on Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who grew up as an orphan.  She had no one in her life until her 28th birthday, when the son she gave up for adoption, Henry (Jared Gilmore), showed up at her doorstep.  Henry is now 10 and believes that his hometown, Storybrooke, is populated by fairy tale characters who have no idea who they are.  Emma naturally believes her son has a wild imagination and returns him home to his foster mother, Regina (Lana Parilla).  But her concerns for her son’s well-being compels Emma to stay in Storybrooke.

In another reality, we get to see the storied history of the fairy tale characters.  In this world we learn about Red Ridding Hood (Meghan Ory), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), the Evil Queen (Lana Parilla), Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), and many others.  We  even learn about the daughter of Snow White and Prince CharmingEmma.

Both sides of the narrative of this show had issues.  Story lines moved slowly in the fairy tale world and the real world was plagued with a mostly stagnant model that didn’t allow for much evolution.  But little by little both sides saw improvement.  Eventually the show yielded several powerful episodes with impressive thematic crescendos.  The season rewarded viewers with a spectacular season finale that elevated the series to a whole new level.

Whichever reality you’re more interested in watching, the singular saving grace of this show are the actors.  And without convincing performances from our leads, none of this story would work on any level.  But shout outs must go to Robert Carlyle, Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parilla for giving the show our villains, and our true-blue-heroine.

It can be said that the freshmen season of Once Upon a Time had some issues, but overall the first season proved it’s alright to watch and enjoy this series.  And as the season finale moved the narrative forward, there’s plenty of reason to come back and see what happens in the fall.