OldVenue, TV

Once Upon a TV

Need a new show to binge watch? Then why not try out Once Upon a Time,which is just starting its fifth season on Netflix! If you have alrady started the series like me, you are probably excited to spend your Wednesday nights in front of Netflix, watching fairy tale magic colliding with the ‘real world’.

However, if you are new to Storybrooke, the town where magic happens and fairy tale characters meet in endless plot twists, let me introduce you to the show that has gained a loyal following of fans for the past five years.

First of all, don’t worry if the concept of the show seems too fantastical to you: you’re not simply thrown into fairy tale land without explanation. The show follows 28 year old orphan Emma Swan, who is living her life as a bounty hunter in New York City. That is, until a small boy called Henry turns up at her doorstep claiming to be her son. He tells her that, as the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White, she is ‘the Saviour’ destined to save his hometown from a curse cast by the Evil Queen – who is not only Storybrooke’s mayor but also happens to be Henry’s adoptive mother. Now, every moderately sane person would not believe this madness and send the boy on his way home – which is exactly what Emma does, getting Henry back to Storybrooke, Maine so she can get on with her life in New York. However, this plan doesn’t quite work out as a series of unfortunate events, as well as her growing attachment to Henry, keep her in the (apparently) cursed town.

From the start Emma Swan is the one character that the viewer can relate to, as she seems to make the same transition as the viewer from total sceptic, trying to reason her way through magic, to fighting Dragon Maleficent in a basement.

If you’re still not convinced, let me tell you: I wasn’t either. But from the first episode onwards the storyline just takes hold of you and won’t let go. There is one plot twist after another, things you would never have predicted – Once Upon a Time is turning the fairy tales we know and love upside down, creating new storylines and connecting already existing ones.

Where else would you see well- known Disney characters out of their own films and thrown in together? An example of how Once Upon a Time has moved away from traditional Disney plots is the confirmation that season five will feature an LGBT relationship, possibly involving Mulan and Aurora, whom Mulan appeared to have strong feelings for in season three. This is a great step when we are still awaiting an openly LGBT character and relationship in Disney films!

Once Upon a Time also has a great emotional aspect, as you go on a journey with the characters. Although at first your sole connection to the show is Emma Swan, the storyline develops and you get to know and love other characters. Whilst the show features fairy tale characters straight out of Disney, such as the hugely popular sisters Elsa and Anna from Frozen, they are fully developed and given another side which may not have been obvious straight away by their seemingly black and white characteristics. You will encounter, rather than flat and stereotypical “heroes” versus “villains”, actual human beings with real, and relatable emotions and experiences. Believe it or not, you’ll even be able to sympathise with Regina, the Evil Queen!

I could easily ramble on about this show for ages, and would love to give you more specific examples but that would lead
to spoilers. Let’s just say that Once Upon a Time is basically one plot twist after another, and not, as people might expect, full of happy endings à la Disney.

In one moment there might be romance and humour making you feel warm and fuzzy but in the next it’s twisted, emotional, and has you on the edge of your seat!

I don’t feel like my rant can do this show justice, so why don’t you stop reading, and start your next binge watch marathon? Either way, I know where I’ll be every Wednesday night!


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July 2021
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