Sunday, January 5, 2014

Television Spotlight: Pilot—Once Upon A Time (Season 1, Episode 1)

Welcome to a place where all of the characters from the fairytales of our childhood live together—but they don't even know it.

Season's Greetings, Beardies!

It's been several months since I have posted a review, and I am sorry. When the new school year started in September, I had 29 Kindergarteners by the end of the first week! Yikes! Twenty-nine little five-year-old bodies is a lot to mange. We waited patiently and finally hired a fourth teacher at the end of the month, but I have been busier than ever between helping her, starting my Masters program, and wedding planning. This winter break has been a blessing for my sanity; as much as I miss my Kindergarten babies, I will be sad to see it go.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays with new books to read, movies to watch, and to catch up on missed TV shows. I was able to reacquaint myself with many shows I follow, including Once Upon A Time, the subject of this review. I decided to watch the pilot episode again to remind me where it all started. I hope that if you do not already watch this show, this review will inspire you to have a day-long marathon of Seasons 1 & 2 over the holiday (they are available on Netflix and Amazon Prime)!

Without further ado...

Plot Summary:
Twenty-eight-year-old Emma Swan has her life turned upside-down when Henry, the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago, shows up on her doorstep—alone. He is convinced that Storybrooke, Maine—the town from which he has traveled—is really populated with characters from fairytales in disguise and that Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. She decides to drive him home.

During the episode—and all the episodes to follow—the storyline moves back and forth between the “real” world of Storybrooke and the fairytale land of the stories of our childhood, often through the book of fairytales that Henry carries around. We are introduced to many of the main characters along the way, in both realms, and find out they ended up in the “real” world.

Watch Episode Trailer:

Critical Elements:
Timeline. In this show, events in the “real” world happen in a linear fashion while events in the fairytale land happen in flashback moments, as if they occurred in the past. This keeps the pacing of the show moderate to fast and keeps the interest level high; you never quite know the full story. With the number of fairytales and legends available from many different cultures, the number of plot lines that can be added to the overarching story of the show seem endless.

Costume Design & Make-Up. The costumes of the “real” realm are the typical, modern outfits; it's the design of the fairytale costumes that pique my interest. They seem like the typical, romanticized, renaissance-era costumes of most fairytales. But to me, they are a little more real and practical than the Disney-fied versions of the past. Prince Charming has his red coat and Snow White is always in white, but it's the Evil Queen's costume that stands out most of all. All black with an all-black headdress—but with the bright red lipstick, it reminds me a lot of the character of Malificent and makes her pale skin stand out even more. Black, stereotypically, seems to bring out the dark and evil in whomever wears it.


As a pilot episode, Once Upon A Time does a great job of introducing characters and their relationships to each other, both in the “real” and fairytale realm. The flashbacks to fairytale land keep the plot moving and give us glimpses into how Storybrooke came to be, but not the whole story. It definitely leaves you wanting to know more. Now onto Episode 2!

Happily Ever After & Keep On Scribing,

***Pilot (October 23, 2011). Once Upon A Time: Season 1, Episode 1. All Rights Reserved. Directed by Mark Mylod. Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Jarad Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.

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