The little fairy tale drama that could. Early on, there were so many that felt it would never make it past Season 1, but it did, and here are some of the reasons it worked;
1. It’s like Lost, but different. There are the Lost lovers (like me) that see the old friend of the strange place that people can’t leave and/or stay gone for too long. The flashbacks, the mythology, etc. There are Lost not-lovers, too, and this show is different enough that they don’t noticed the obvious shout outs to Lost.
2. Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis learned alot from working on Lost. It is one think to create a TV show, but it’s another to create a TV show that can have a huge story arc, but also change it up completely along the way (Lost did that Season to Season with new locations and people the survivors came in contact with, flashsideways, falshforwards, falshallarounds (j/k), etc). As we have heard from Regina, “Magic is unpredictable in this world,” and that’s all we need to take this rollercoaster ride to new places in new ways. To further prove it, Jane Espenson told us, “We’re picking up right where we left off, but where we left off was in the middle of a veer in a different direction. Season 2 will be different than season 1 (Source: http://www.hypable.com/2012/06/05/once-upon-a-time-producer-jane-espenson-talks-season-2-time-jump-the-little-mermaid/“)”. We are in for quite a ride, I’m sure.
3. Creators drawing more creatives. On their own, Adam and Eddie know their way around a great story, but they wanted to share the fun and brought in an Avengers-like super group of writers (and some assist in other roles in the production, too) to destroy boring, Reality TV. As we already know, Jane Espenson has the Midas touch with stories, but Andrew Chambliss (Writer for Dollhouse, Vampire Diaries and Heroes), David Goodman (Writer for The Event, Fringe, Angel), Ian B. Goldberg (Writer for Flash Forward and Sarah Conner Chronicles) and others make up the merry band of wordsmiths. We can continue with the costume genius of Eduard Castro, the knitting together of the emotional musical soul by Mark Isham’s brilliant score, Laura Jones (and others) spot on Visual Effects, and on and on. As you look through these creative magicians body of work, it’s not wonder that OUAT is amazing.
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4. Amazing actors. No one player wins a game, and no one actor makes a show great. Every actor has a place in the tapestry of the unfolding story. One of many draws is the allurement of actors drawing fans in from other projects (Lost, Big Love, Stargate Universe, etc, etc) to see what their favorite star is doing now and stay along for the ride. I could go on and on about the stellar cast, but I do want to point one thing out that Lost taught us. If a character is a ‘throw-away,’ character (They just cry all the time, she just whines all the time, etc), just wait til the next twist and you will be surprised at what they become.
5. We need this right now. With the financial crisis that has pulled all connecting countries down for a heart-breaking tailspin, we need to be reminded that hope, dreams and wishes are still alive. We are so far from Walt Disney’s simpler time when “Cinderella” came out that we needed a reminder that the magic and belief isn’t gone or out of style. A changed life isn’t just for a sister held back from the ball, hope and wishes still come true. In a way, OUAT has magically parted the jadedness of 2012 and reminded us that there is more to life than what the news tells us. We needed this reminder, now. I think that’s one of the main reasons this show works.
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6. Fairy Tales and the mirror of the Human Journey. Just as I said earlier, the Lost portions that show through in Once Upon a Time, there is more to it. Fairy Tales, myths and other stories in our society are mirrors we look into to see the power and consequence of choices, derive inspiration from and more. The more we step back from stories, we see themes and motifs that people like Joseph Campbell (and others) point out and there are emotional chord that strike as we watch (or hear) them. Emma’s Call to Adventure, The Refusal, Supernatural Aid (Mentors like Henry and August), etc. Even if you don’t want to look that deep, there are plenty of moments that you say, “That’s me,” or react emotionally to a certain situation (The not-so fairy tale romance of David and Marry Margaret in Storybrooke). There are plenty of levels in Once Upon a Time to engage the watcher, and it engages me.
7. Return to communal fandom. I haven’t seen this Lost-like, watch and discuss, pour over screenshots, etc since Lost (Maybe Fringe). Lost changed things, and Once Upon a Time is the heir apparent to the Lost-ish fandom throne, imho.
8. The Open ended-ness of the story. We have discuss that the OUAT is an “out of the box” story, but the cast and characters can grow larger, or we can focus on characters already introduced. I’m keeping a close eye on what Jefferson’ hat will bring. Very interesting characters coming in and out of the magical hat doors. Can’t wait.
9. Good and Evil. As good as the do-gooders are, there are the do-badders, too. What is refreshing is the more we take the OUAT journey, we see that a “bad” character does have good in them (and vice versa). People (like good characters) are 3 dimensional. The struggle of good overtaking bad, and bad overtaking good is a primal struggle that we connect with.
10. Social Media is magical again. Whether you are a blogger, podcaster, Tumblr person, Twitter junky, etc, Social Media is a part of OUAT like Henry’s book. We are so lucky and fortunate this show came along at this time when we can Tweet questions and “Atta boy (or girl)” to our favorite cast members, and sometimes that tweet back. Live podcasts and blogs give fans more opportunities to gather together to discuss and build clost #Oncer relationships. As magical as the show is, the magic does spread out to RSS feeds, Twitter timelines, and more.
What do you think?
I love this show, alot. So much, that my wife and I host the Once Upon a Time Fan Podcast at http://onceuponatimepodcast.com join the family on Oncers with us, won’t you (Yes, even during the hiatus)?