Greetings Manic Fans, Les here to talk about another great show you turned me onto. First it was “Doctor Who,” then it was “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” This time, it’s “Once Upon a Time.” That’s 2 great shows Moviefan12 recommended, so Thanks, Tim 🙂 Those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a wonderful show involving multiple fantasy worlds. Essentially,(SPOILERS!) the idea is that all the fairy tale characters you’ve ever known existed in an enchanted forrest, but the Evil Queen from Snow White cast a curse that transported all of them to our world and gave them alternate memories and alternate identities in order to take away their happy endings. In our world, they are trapped in a small town in Maine called Storybrooke. However, before the curse hit, Snow White and Prince Charming were able to send their infant daughter, Emma to our world, where she’s prophesied to be the savior who will break the curse when she turns 28. Through a stroke of fate, she grows up to have a son, who she gives up for adoption, and he’s adopted by the Evil Queen, who in the new town, is the Mayor. When Young Henry is given a book of Fairy Tales by Snow White, who in the new town is a school teacher, he realizes that the denizens of Storybrooke are cursed fairy tale characters and tracks down his Mother, brings her back to the town in order to break the curse(confused yet?…don’t worry, the scripts are so clever that you will be able to follow the plotlines). Anyway, I’m going to list the top 12 things that I love about “Once Upon a Time.”


Warning: More Spoilers and magical brilliance ahead…


#12. Disney Easter Eggs


The show manages one or two really clever Easter Eggs an episode for the Walt Disney Company. Sometimes they’re really subtle(Like when Snow White’s Storybrooke equivalent, Mary Margaret is reading a book in Season One, Episode 10, and the book is Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”(Walt Disney’s 2nd live action film)). Sometimes they’re blatant, like in Season 2, Episode 13 where a cellphone ringtone is the “Star Wars Theme”(Right after Disney bought the Star Wars Franchise). My personal favorite was when Henry’s Adoptive Mom gets him a hand-held video game device and Emma catches him playing “Space Paranoids” on it. Emma remarks, “Hey! Space Paranoids. I played that game all the time when I was a kid. There’s nothing to it. It’s all in the wrist.” 2 awesome references to Walt Disney’s “TRON(1982)”


#11. The additional fantasy worlds


Not satisfied with just Disney Fantasy, this show pulls in lore from many other sources like the land of Oz, and Dr. Frankenstein’s Transylvania. They also physically split up the Disney fantasy stories into separate worlds. Wonderland is a separate world, as is Neverland, for instance. The ways the realms are crossed over and accessed are very clever using multiple McGuffins(Magic beans, Magic hats, Magic curses, Magic slippers, etc….) to get to these other worlds.


#10. The way stories are altered in ways that provide new twists in the lore


Think you know the story of Peter Pan? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Cinderella? The Wizard of Oz? Think again! Using subtlety and some of the sharpest creativity seen in television, all these stories have profoundly different details in them. And they’re all plausible within the realms of the tales they’re based on.


#9. Film quality production values


Everything from the wardrobe and props(Weapons, Talismen and vehicles) to the castle/ship/forest sets, special effects and makeup is first rate. This show could be shown in a cinema.


#8. Perfect casting for each role


Every character in this show has a really good actor/actress portraying them from the main characters all the way down to the secondary and supporting characters.


#7. Really good cliffhangers/conclusions


Stories are built up and developed very skillfully to enhance the tension and suspense leading to outstanding cliffhangers that the following episode solves very satisfactorily and leaves you in awe of the amazing writing that goes into this show.


#6. The drama is outstanding


These characters are thrown through the emotional wringer in every direction you can think of, and the acting is so well done, you feel it too. Some soap operas can seem over-emoted, but this one is believable and heartfelt thanks to the talented cast.


#5. The non-linear format with the flashbacks back to the Enchanted Forrest


Being able to flit back and forth between “present day” and all the stories that occurred in the past in the Enchanted Forrest gives great opportunities to provide backstories to support current events, and really fleshes out the characters and who they are.


#4. Henry, the true believer(Jared S. Gilmore)


Jared S. Gilmore is a wonderful child actor. I wish he’d been old enough to play young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace,” but I digress….Henry is quite compelling utilizing an impressive amount of streetsmarts and unshakable belief in the stories in his book of fairy tales he knows really happened.


#3. Emma, the savior(Jennifer Morrison)


Played by actress Jennifer Morrison, she’s 2 parts sassy, 4 part smart, 3 parts emotional and 8 parts bad ass. This woman isn’t afraid to take charge no matter what faces her, whether it’s criminals, pirates, witches, giants or dragons.


#2. Captain Hook(Colin O’Donoghue)


All the pirate savvy of a Captain Jack Sparrow with twice the charm and twice the passion, Captain Hook steals any scene he’s in-including the ones with Rumplestiltskin(And that’s saying a lot!)


And my #1 favorite reason for watching “Once Upon a Time” is….


#1 Rumpelstiltskin(Robert Carlyle)


“Rrrrrumpelstiltskin”*elaborate bow, mirthful smirk and twinkling eyes….An acting tour de force by Robert Carlyle, the clever imp with the power of “The Dark One,” is endlessly fun to watch as he spins plots and schemes as adeptly as he spins straw into gold. To see a sympathetic villain teetering on the edge of redemption and damnation simultaneously make this character endlessly fascinating.


And that’s my top 12 favorite reasons for watching Once Upon a Time. I know there’s many more(And whittling this list down to 12 was a grind..Wanted to include Grumpy/Leroy, Snow White, Prince Charming, Red/Ruby, Granny, Belle, Ariel, Evil Queen Regina, Anton/Tiny, Peter Pan, Pinocchio/August, Jiminy Crickett/Doc Hopper, Mr. Smee, Jefferson, Blue Fairy, Robin Hood, The Huntsman, Cora…..etc….). In any event, did I miss any of your favorites? I’d love to hear what you loved about this wonderful show, my friends. Peace.

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