I tend to be a bit of a skeptic ... but I do love fairytales. I watched the pilot episode of "Once Upon A Time" when it aired last fall. I hadn't watched it since, until the last week. Through the magic of Amazon Unbox, I did my catching up on Season One of this show. It may have been less than a week's worth of viewing. Even my husband got in on it.
The major premise of the series is that the Wicked Witch has trapped all fairytale characters - most especially Snow White and her Prince Charming - in the real world, in a town called Storybrooke. None of them remember their fairytale lives, and instead are living contemporary ones, each somehow stripped of its happy ending. None of them is allowed to leave town. None realize that they're cursed ... except a boy with a book of fairytales.
The intriguing thing about this series, so far, has been its talent for taking the fairytales we all know, and turning them on their ears. Added to that is the fact that the network, ABC, is owned by Disney, so we get a Disney-eye-view of the fairytales. The characters are all interesting, most particularly Rumplestiltskin. I enjoyed watching how their contemporary lives mirror those in their fairytale world.
On the downside, some of the dialogue has been clunky. It is a family show, so it needs to appeal to a wide range of ages (your tween will enjoy it, but there is some violence), but I've seen family shows with zippier dialogue. I also got tired of being unable to watch an episode where Charming didn't have a tear sliding down his cheek. (Buck up, Charming. Crying isn't going to vanquish the Wicked Witch.) One or two shows of heartbreak worked. Episode after episode of it tended to sap some of the heroism out of him ... but still. Nice eye candy. (For the guys, there's Red. You're gonna love her.)
All in all, I look forward to Season Two. There'll be some new characters to love, and ones you'll love to hate, and hopefully they'll keep the up momentum. This is a case where Disney's penchant for recycling fairytales works.