Luckily, newlyweds Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Joshua Dallas) were able to smuggle their newborn daughter to safety before the curse struck, and baby Emma grew up in the Real World to become a no-nonsense bounty hunter (Jennifer Morrison). Not only that, but adult Emma gave her own son Henry (Jared Gilmore) up for adoption a decade earlier and, wouldn't you know it, Henry was adopted by none other than the Evil Queen herself, now the mayor of Storybrooke. And only Henry realizes his hometown's populated by living versions of fairy tale characters like Rumpelstiltskin (a hammy Robert Carlyle), Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge), and Gepetto (Tony Amendola).
Maybe Once Upon A Time just needs a few more weeks to properly layout what its grander ambitions are, and how the writers will possibly create weekly stories from a concept that (like so many TV shows these days) feels like a better fit for a family movie or cable miniseries. I didn't dislike any of the cast to any notable extent, I just had a tough time caring about anything that was happening, and it wasn't actually very enjoyable or funny. How can you make a TV show about fairy tale characters existing in reality and make it so dry? Whenever it tried to be fun in the fictional realm, it just felt cheap and camp. I don't have much faith this show's going to lead to five years of brilliant television. I'll be impressed if it can last one season without hitting a narrative brick wall, actually.
- This show has a lot in common with the graphic novel Fables, about fictional characters living in a New York suburb called Fabletown. The creators say they're aware of the book, but didn't steal from it, although ABC had been planning to make Fables for awhile now. Claims of plagiarism are always grey areas (as many people can have the same basic idea and it's often more about how they're executed), but it does feel like ABC masterminded Once Upon A Time as a cheaper alternative to making Fables.
- There are some fun allusions to Lost throughout this pilot: the Queen's curse taking the shape of a "smoke monster", a classic example of an "eye opening" close-shot, the mayor's address being "108", the town's clock being stuck at "8:15", and a Geronimo Jackson bumper sticker. That will all mean nothing to you, unless you watched Lost.