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February 25, 2024

F(l)o Show: Once Upon a Time worth your TV-watching time

By Florence Lau | February 16, 2012

Is it just me or is there a plethora of media having to do with fairy tales these days? In film, there are two Snow White movies coming out, and, in TV, there's Grimm and of course, Once Upon a Time.

Despite the competition, OuaT charms its viewers every week with its myriad characters and tangled storylines. The premise is this: The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) has exiled characters from fairy tales to the real world to take revenge against Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). No one can remember their previous identities. It is up to Charming and Snow's daughter, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her son, Henry (Jared Gilmore) to break the curse and save everyone. OuaT uses flashbacks from Storybrooke, Maine and the fairy tale land to show characters' past lives, generally focusing on a different character each week.

Despite being the main character, Emma is not the most interesting person in the show. It's easy to forget her storyline when compared to Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), who runs around making sketchy deals with everyone. We're not really supposed to know what to think about him at all, and he remains mysterious even 12 episodes later. Carlyle plays on his mysteriousness and creepiness with ease, able to show subtle blink-and-you'll-miss-‘em hints of emotions with a quick clenching of his jaw or widening of his eyes.

Another character to watch out for is Regina, the Evil Queen. She oozes that charismatic charm that all villains exude, but she's not completely black-and-white evil. There are (very rare) moments when Parrilla manages to show us that the queen is a lonely woman. Of course, Regina then does something despicable, so you forget about sympathizing.

To be honest, there's only one thing not to love about OuaT. Henry. He's supposed to come across as precocious and determined, but, more often, he seems ungrateful, unsubtle and annoying to the point where I want to reach into the screen and shake him.

In any case, there's something for everyone. Twisted fairytales? Check. Secret affairs? Check, and by the real live counterparts of Snow and Charming no less. Juicy villans? Check. Happily ever after?

Well, that still remains to be seen.

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