Being completely encased in the world of media, and particularly news, people can become a bit jaded. In fact, people outside the business get jaded, too: inundated with day-to-day “bad” news and over-saturation of violence and crude humor on TV.
I’ll be the first to admit that I always enjoy watching shows like Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s South Park. I love comedies and those are two of my favorites.
But there is a show currently on television that I think marries drama, a gripping story and good lessons from classic role models beautifully. It is entertaining while retaining some childhood fascination and innocence.
ABC’s Once Upon a Time is that show.
Rocketing back and forth between a fairytale world and present-day small-town Maine, Once delivers a terrific blend of mystery, drama, morality and comedy. I was hooked on this show after the first episode. Having grown up doing musical theatre and being constantly engrossed in fantasy storytelling, this show speaks to my inner child and my older tastes as well.
I think the most important thing about Once is the show doesn’t aim to please audiences with gratuitous swearing, nudity or foul humor. Again, I am not bashing that type of entertainment. I indulge in it, as well. But when I want a show that drives my interest purely with the story and top-notch acting by some industry greats – Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parilla, Meghan Ory and Emilie de Ravin – I immediately turn to Once Upon a Time.
Once also drives every episode with a message. At its core, the message is often one of hope, love, faith or trust. It is refreshing to have a show with those values at the core of the resolution of each episode.
The script is incredibly well-done with lots of gripping twists and terrific exposition. The scenery is beautiful, and the way the creators and writing staff have literally been able to incorporate every childhood fairytale and connect them all is very inventive. It is incredibly reminiscent of Sondheim’s Into the Woods. The writers never cheapen out on an explanation – everything adds up; they don’t take the easy way out.
And for Disney fans, ABC is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Therefore, there are often some little Disney Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the show.
If you are looking for a feel-good show with a positive message that incorporates the same dramatic tension as shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives along with the magic of a Disney movie, Once Upon a Time is your show.