alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.20 No.43 | October 27 - November 2, 2011 
Play Youtube Video

Idiot Box

Happily Never After

“Once Upon a Time” on ABC

One of the more perplexing trends of the fall TV season is the resurgence of fairy tale characters. Thanks to ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and NBC’s “Grimm,” prime time is flush with Big Bad Wolves and Little Red Riding Hoods hanging around the modern world. Have we all forgotten the valuable lessons we learned when “The Charmings” went off the air back in 1988? Namely, that ... nope, I’ve forgotten.

“Once Upon a Time” is the first of this new breed of fables. It’s the brainchild of several writers from “Lost.” It stars a number of recognizable TV names, and it’s got the backing of the Disney/ABC Television Group. Though it’s different from a lot of shows on TV right now, I’m not convinced its crazy quilt mixture of storybook action, supernatural mystery and modern-day melodrama will sit well with audiences.

The story isn’t an easy one to distill. Over in fairy tale land, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla, “Boomtown”) is pissed over the marriage of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin, late of “Big Love”) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas, who was Fandral in Thor). Naturally, she erases everyone’s memory and curses them to live as ordinary people in small-town Maine (now that is evil). Meanwhile ... or later ... or something, there’s this sexy female bounty hunter who tracks down bail jumpers in evening dresses and high heels (talk about your far-fetched fantasies). Her name is Emma Swan, and she’s played by Jennifer Morrison of “House.” One day, a 10-year-old kid named Henry shows up at her apartment claiming to be the long-lost son she put up for adoption. He asks her to take him back to his home, the isolated village of Storybrooke, Maine. There, he insists the residents are all fairy tale characters, even though they can’t remember it. Henry’s adoptive mother is the town mayor, who just happens to be the Evil Queen (who apparently got caught in her own curse). Turns out Emma is actually the daughter of Snow White (who shows up as the town schoolteacher) and the key to breaking the Evil Queen’s curse—at least, according to crazy hobgoblin Rumplestiltskin (played by Robert Carlyle from “Stargate Universe”), who’s now the town’s banker. Seems Emma was sent out into the real world 27 years ago in order to ... jeez, I’m running out of room.

Suffice to say that “Once Upon a Time” has an unnecessarily complicated setup. It’s like “Twin Peaks,” “Lost” and Bill Willingham’s Eisner Award-winning comic book “Fables” had a production meeting. Thanks to the Disney connection, we get fairy tale characters that are instantly familiar (Snow White surrounded by bluebirds, the Seven Dwarves with their distinct trademarked personalities, Jiminy Cricket). But add some silly dialogue, appearances by the likes of the Magic Mirror and the Blue Fairy and a fair amount of overacting (Carlyle wins this category hands down), and “Once Upon a Time” gets mighty implausible mighty quickly. Fairy tales are a potentially interesting world to play in, and “Once Upon a Time” could be fun once it figures out what it’s actually about. But for now, it reads like the disjointed, drunken dream of someone who passed out on a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

“Once Upon a Time” airs every Sunday at 7 p.m. on KOAT-7.


Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to foreclosure. A film series in partnership with the Albuquerque Museum's Route 66 exhibit.

La lengua de las mariposas/Butterfly at National Hispanic Cultural Center


Captain America: The Winter Soldier at South Broadway Cultural Center

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Out of the Woodwork
    Out of the Woodwork6.2.2016