Once Upon A Time – Review

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  • Original air date: 2011 – present
  • No of seasons: 5
  • Episode runtime: 43 minutes
  • Writer/producers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
  • Country: USA
  • Network (UK): Netflix
  • Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Ginnifer Goodwin, Emilie de Ravin, Sean Maguire, Rebecca Mader, Robert Carlyle, Colin O’Donoghue

And so, they all lived happily ever after…or did they? 

For Emma Swan, life has been anything but a fairytale. Abandoned by her parents when she was just a baby, she has endured every kind of heartache and disappointment. But on her twenty eighth birthday, when the boy she gave up for adoption arrives on her doorstep, she begins an incredible and life-changing journey. Returning with him to the curious seaside town of Storybrooke, where the residents are cursed fairytale characters, Emma must find the strength and learn to believe if she is ever to restore their memories and be reunited with her family.

Once Upon A Time’s authenticity as a fantasy series is truly unlike anything I’ve seen before. Horowitz and Kitsis deliver a promising tale where the characters we’ve grown to love interact with each other, with a major twist in every episode, rendering us speechless. Every episode is split into two segments; a flashback of a character’s past, and the other set in present-day Storybrooke, which works really well. This unique spin on a world where reality and fantasy collide is enough to make any TV fanatic turn on their screen. The diversity of the cast shouldn’t go without applause; many beloved and well-known characters of different ethnicities, as well as strong, independent female protagonists. The series displays unfamiliar, but distinctive fantastical elements which you will never see in any other fantasy series.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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One big ‘happy’ family – (from left): Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Jared Gilmore (Henry Mills), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), and Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills).

What I enjoyed about this series in particular is hearing the tragic stories of the heroes and villains: Rumpelstiltskin’s transformation into the Dark One, Regina losing her true love by her mother, Emma not knowing her family, Hook losing his brother on Neverland; all of their stories are powerful enough to provoke emotions within its audience, and I thought this was cleverly done through the talent of the actors. None of the characters are truly good and evil, as seen in the later seasons through Regina’s redemption.

The special effects are breathtaking; the magic looks frighteningly convincing and the dreamlike facade of the Enchanted Forest is exceptionally genuine, you wouldn’t even know it was fake. The bright colours prominently used contrast the darkness of the show, leaving us spellbound by the crew’s talent. The dialogue is quirky and well-written, with the characters demonstrating their inner strength of character and the purpose of their roles through the words they speak. Who wouldn’t love Regina’s sass, Rumpelstiltskin’s cunning tone or Snow’s softness?

However, there are aspects of the show I’m not particularly keen on. For instance, the random vanishing of characters who have the potential to play big parts. Belle is one of them. She used to play such a big role, but now she’s married to Rumple, she’s been kept in the dark for a while. Doesn’t she deserve a big storyline? I just feel she’s being left out from the rest of the regular characters. After all, it’s her show too. That would be the only improvement I would suggest to the writers – give the other characters a chance to shine.

Once Upon A Time proves that life may never end perfectly for most (if not all) of us, but we can make our dreams come true just by believing. A definite must-see for everyone!

Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Once Upon A Time returns Sunday, 6th March, on Netflix UK and Ireland. 

More about the show: Once Upon A Time – IMDB

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