Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life
I heard rumblings of a new television program, to be titled Once Upon a Time, that would freshen up and intertwine classic fairy tales. Airing on the Disney-owned ABC, it would be given Disney’s blessing of character use and would premiere its pilot at the 2011 D23 Expo. Uninterested as I was, my curiosity piqued later as I inadvertently read a spoiler of season one’s finale episode. It might sound familiar to anyone who’s come across tweets or posts regarding this past Sunday’s season three finale. What? I thought. They did THAT? This show is THAT into Disney? Hmmm. Well, I mean, I didn’t know it was so hardcore. Maybe I’ll just watch one episode to see if I like it…
And that’s all she wrote.
I won’t say I was all-in from the very beginning, but knowing how the first batch of episodes ended made me want to know their origin. I caught up as soon as I could and was mesmerized by the multi-faceted storytelling in front of me. The selling point for most Disney fans here comes in two enticements, the first being a fast-paced plot. As the narrative thickens, its story expands, giving rich detail to every angle of its characters and setting, something anyone who enjoys Disney theme parks will appreciate. In this regard, it is very much like the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Secondly, and perhaps more obviously, there is the hook (pardon the pun) of the entire Disney library being at the service of the producers. Similar in nature to Kingdom Keepers or Disney Infinity, the writers give familiar characters room to explore and overlap, making every Disney character you’ve ever loved (or hated) part of a grander story, together.
As stated earlier, it’s not just generic fairy tales we’re talking about here. They are authentic, genuine Disney versions of these beloved characters. That’s not just any beauty with a beast; it’s Belle, in a blue dress, who loves to read. Those aren’t just any seven dwarfs; they each have a name, the same titles given to them by Walt Disney and his animators in the 1930s. While presenting these classic personalities in the Disney way, Once Upon a Time also brings them to the forefront with a new perspective each time. For example, Chip has a whole new meaning to Belle, and we learn that Grumpy maybe wasn’t always Grumpy, literally.
The question I had when I first started watching, and that many folks probably still have now, is this: Hasn’t all this been done before, time and time again? “Reinventing” fairy tales is hardly anything new, and is practically its own subgenre today with the likes of Shrek, Hoodwinked, Enchanted, Alice in Wonderland, and Maleficent saturating entertainment. Do we really need another entity so similar? As I came to find, yes. Yes, we do. You’ve seen the classic stories retold, recreated, freshened up, however you want to call it. But you’ve never seen it done like this, with such intricacy and authenticity. This is essentially a primetime television show all about Disney. (Which just so happens to air every Sunday night… sound familiar?)
The first and second seasons of Once Upon a Time are available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix. Season three is all on Hulu Plus, and is expected to be put on Netflix toward the end of this summer, just in time to catch up before season four’s premiere in the fall. If you love Disney, you’ll love this show. And just in case you need a bit more persuading, attached is the the cliffhanger moment that concluded this past Sunday’s season three finale. If it doesn’t get you to watch, I’m not sure what will, but if you’re like me, you might just need to know the ending to be convinced to watch the beginning. (Just be aware that it’s a huge spoiler.) Proceed at your own risk, knowing that you might jeopardize a big reveal for the push that might be necessitated for you to be put in this show’s trance. If you wish, click here and enjoy…
(Images copyright Disney.)
Blake is a college student with a focus in Electronic Media and Film. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.