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Once Upon a Time is an American fairy tale dramatic series that premiered on October 23, 2011, on ABC. The show takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, whose residents are characters from various fairy tales transported to the "real world" town and robbed of their real memories by a powerful curse. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline in Storybrooke, as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life before the curse was enacted. The show airs Sundays at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT.

It borrows elements and characters from Disney films and popular Western fairy tales, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Mulan, Tangled, Brave, and Frozen.

Once Upon a Time was created by Lost and Tron: Legacy writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. The series was renewed for a fifth season in May 2015. A spin-off series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, consisting of 13 episodes, premiered on October 10, 2013, and concluded on April 3, 2014.

Series overview Edit

The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales and other stories that were transported to the "real world" town and robbed of their original memories by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla), using a powerful curse obtained from Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). The residents of Storybrooke, where Regina is mayor, have lived an unchanging existence for 28 years, unaware of their own lack of aging. The town's only hope lies with a bounty hunter named Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), who was transported from the Enchanted Forest to our world via a magic wardrobe as an infant before she could be cursed. As such, she is the only person who can break the curse and restore the characters' lost memories. She is aided by her son, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), with whom she has recently reunited after giving him up for adoption upon his birth, and his Once Upon a Time book of fairy tales that holds the key to breaking the curse. Henry is also the adopted son of Regina, providing a source of both conflict and common interest between the two women.

Episodes usually have one segment that details the characters' past lives that, when serialized, adds a piece to the puzzle about the characters and their connection to the events that preceded the curse and its consequences. The other, set in the present day, follows a similar pattern with a different outcome but also offers similar insights.

Season 1 (2011–12) Edit

The first season of Once Upon a Time premiered on October 23, 2011. The season begins with the Evil Queen interrupting the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming to announce that she will cast a curse on everyone that will leave her with the only happy ending. The majority of the fairy tale characters are transported to the town of Storybrooke, Maine, where they have been stripped of their actual memories and identities as fairy tale characters. On her 28th birthday, Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, is brought to Storybrooke by her biological son Henry Mills in the hopes of breaking the curse cast by his adoptive mother, the Evil Queen Regina.

Season 2 (2012–13) Edit

The second season premiered on September 30, 2012. Despite Emma having broken the curse, the characters are not returned to the fairy tale world, and must deal with their own dual identities. With the introduction of magic into Storybrooke by Mr. Gold, the fates of the two worlds become intertwined, and new threats emerge in the form of Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), Regina's mother Cora (Barbara Hershey), also known as the Queen of Hearts, and sinister operatives from our world with an agenda to destroy magic.

Season 3 (2013–14) Edit

The third season premiered on September 29, 2013. It was split into two volumes, with the first eleven episodes running from September to December 2013, and the latter half from March to May 2014. In the first volume, the main characters travel to Neverland to rescue Henry, who has been kidnapped by Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) as part of a plan to obtain the "Heart of the Truest Believer" from him. Their increasing power struggle with Pan continues in Storybrooke, which ultimately results in the complete reversal of the original curse. All the characters are returned to their original worlds, leaving Emma and Henry to escape to New York City. In the second volume, the characters are mysteriously brought back to a recreated Storybrooke with their memories of the previous year removed, and the envious Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) from the Land of Oz appears with a plan to change the past. Once again, Emma is needed to save her family.

Season 4 (2014–15) Edit

The fourth season premiered on September 28, 2014. A new storyline incorporating elements from Frozen was revealed when the time travel events of the previous season lead to the accidental arrival of Elsa (Georgina Haig) from the Enchanted Forest of the past to present-day Storybrooke. As she searches for her sister Anna (Elizabeth Lail) with the aid of the main characters, they encounter the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell) in Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Regina seeks the Author of Henry's Once Upon a Time book so that she can finally have her happy ending. However, Mr. Gold after being banished from Storybrooke by Belle for lying to her and everyone returns, with the help of Cruella De Vil (Victoria Smurfit), Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Ursula (Merrin Dungey), and has his own plan to rewrite the rules governing the fates of all heroes and villains. Henry and Emma race to restore reality and the truth before the twisted inversion becomes permanent. However, the price leads to the ultimate sacrifice.

Season 5 (2015) Edit

The fifth season was announced on May 7, 2015, and premiered on September 27, 2015. The characters embark on a quest to Camelot to find the Sorcerer Merlin (Elliot Knight) in order to free Emma from the powers of an ancient darkness that threatens to destroy everything. To complicate matters, King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) is determined to forever alter the balance between light and darkness using the legendary Excalibur. As history and destiny collide, unsuspected consequences lead the characters to the Underworld where they must face Hades (Greg Germann).

Cast and characters Edit

Before accepting the role, Goodwin stated in interviews that she'd always wanted to play Snow White and called her acceptance of the role "a no-brainer.[2] Kitsis and Horowitz are self-described big fans of Goodwin's previous series, Big Love, and wrote the part of Snow with Goodwin in mind.
The daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming,[4] an ex-bail bonds collector.[5] and Henry Mills' biological mother.[5] Morrison described her character at the beginning of the first season as "broken, damaged and worldly".[5] During the fourth season finale, "Operation Mongoose", Emma absorbs the power of the Dark One into herself to save Regina.[6] In order to successfully create a dark version of Emma, Morrison explained that "In order to build Dark Emma, I've been doing a bunch of research there with some of their mythology books and old fairy tale books and just looking back through the history of swans and the etymology of 'Swan'" and explained that Emma's rate of evolution "challenged [her] on a daily basis".[3]
The leader of the Enchanted Forest's War Council who is comatose in Storybrooke.[5] While initially he is known simply as "John Doe" in Storybrooke because of his comatose state,[9] he is eventually revealed to be called David Nolan, after waking up.[10] The creators also mixed Charming's history with that of The Prince and the Pauper,[11] with Dallas portraying both the original Prince and the Pauper who replaced his brother after he was killed. Because of this history, Dallas tried to bring a "rural" feel to the character to make him more accessible to viewers.[11] On what makes his portrayal of Prince Charming different to those before, Dallas explained that "Prince Charming just happens to be a name. He's still a man with the same emotions as any other man. He's a Prince, but he's a Prince of the people. He gets his hands dirty. He's got a kingdom to run. He has a family to protect. He has an epic, epic love for Snow White. He's like everybody else. He's human."[2]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Ratcliffe, Amy (July 11, 2015). COMIC-CON: ONCE UPON A TIME TALKS DARK SWAN AND MERIDA FOR SEASON 5. IGN. Retrieved on July 11, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Halterman, Jim. "Interview: "Once Upon a Time" Co-Stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas & Lana Parrilla", The Futon Critic, October 21, 2011. Retrieved on January 3, 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Once Upon a Time season 5 news: Jennifer Morrison is looking forward to playing Dark Emma; Casting call out for Rumplestilskin's mother. Retrieved on June 25, 2015.
  4. Sparks, Lily (September 28, 2012). Once Upon a Time Q&A: Jennifer Morrison Drops a Few Hints About Season 2. Retrieved on October 7, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Jeffery, Morgan (October 20, 2011). 'Once Upon a Time': Meet the cast of ABC's new fantasy drama. Digital Spy. Retrieved on October 7, 2015.
  6. Ratcliffe, Amy (May 10, 2015). ONCE UPON A TIME: "OPERATION MONGOOSE" REVIEW. IGN. Retrieved on October 7, 2015.
  7. Lana Parrilla on Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved on July 9, 2015.
  8. Josh Dallas on Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved on July 2, 2015.
  9. Nededog, Jethro (October 30, 2011). 'Once Upon a Time' Stars Lana Parrilla and Josh Dallas Talk Show Creators' Secretive Ways (Video). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on October 7, 2015.
  10. Goldman, Eric (December 5, 2011). Once Upon a Time: "The Shepherd" Review. IGN. Retrieved on October 7, 2015.
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ModernWorld
  12. (#501) "The Dark Swan". The Futon Critic. Retrieved on September 12, 2015.
  13. Adam Horowitz on Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved on June 11, 2015.
  14. Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 8, 2015). Once Upon a Time: Meghan Ory to Return as Ruby in Season 5. TVLine. Retrieved on September 8, 2015.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Webb Mitovich, Matt. "Once Upon a Time Ups Sean Maguire, Rebecca Mader to Series Regulars", TVLine, June 9, 2015. Retrieved on June 9, 2015. 

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