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"Once Upon a Time" - (Season One) - {Blu-ray}
John A. Reese
Studio: Disney/ABC
Release Date:
August 28th. 2012
Special Features:

See Below


ABC had a great year when it came to new TV shows. They had five new shows that earned good reviews and were big enough to get renewed. "Once Upon a Time" was arguably the best of the bunch. The show also picked up some award nominations, so does it deserve the hype?***

"Once Upon a Time" is set in a world where fairy tale characters exist. On the day of the wedding day of Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) curses them, and everyone else at the wedding. She strips everyone of their happy endings, and sends them to a place where happy endings do not exist - the real world.***

All of the characters are now living in Storybrooke, Maine where the Evil Queen, now known as Regina Mills, is the power-hungry mayor of the city. All of the other fairy tale characters like Snow White, Prince Charming, Gepetto, Granny, Red Riding Hood, Grumpy, and several others are living in the real world with no memory of their past lives. Their only hope is Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who was magically transported through a portal to the real world before the curse was activated. Of course she still does not know of her lineage until she gets a surprise visit from her son Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), who she gave up for adoption ten years ago. Unlike his mother and the neighbors, the boy -- with the help of The Great Book of Fairy Tale Exposition -- has pieced together what happened a long time ago. So it turns out that Emma is only one who can break the curse and restore everyone's happy endings.***

I have to say that this show is based on a very clever premise. It's interesting to see a new take on classic fairy tale characters and seeing them in the modern world. However, the non-linear storytelling with episodes bouncing back from the past to the future is very similar to the show "Lost". This does keep the story fresh because we get to see all of the character's origins and all of the vents leading up to when the Evil Witch cursed everyone. At the same time there are so many story lines in show, which create some notable plot holes and gaps in the story. Also some of the character's stories are not as intriguing as the Emma/Henry/Regina dynamic. Plus the season does run a little slow at first, but starts picking up steam again in the last third of the season. However, these are not major problems and do not affect the show too much.***

Audio and Video:

The DTS audio track is good, but not great. It's very pristine and clear and captures the wonderful dialogue and impressive sounds and special effects. The Blu-ray looks great for a TV show. It captures the lush colors of the forest and the details of the costumes. However, since the show uses a lot of green screen shots it becomes quite noticeable on Blu-ray. It still looked great for the most part.***

Special Features:

There are plenty of special features on the discs to keep fans happy until season two. First of all there are five audio commentaries that I found to be intriguing. There are also several featurettes starting with "Once Upon a Time: Origins", which explores the classic tales of these fairy tale characters.

Fairy Tales in the Modern World, is a 20-minute featurette where the shows creators discuss the influences and inspirations that led to the creation of the show. "Building Character" is a seven-minute featurette on how the creators created new, interesting versions of fairy tale characters and dropped them in the real world. "The Story I Remember: Snow White" is a four-minute look on how the cast remembers the tale of Snow White. There are also deleted scenes, an outtake reel, and a four minutes rendition of the "Once Upon a Time" orchestral suite. In addition, I am happy to say that all of these extras are in high definition.***

Final Words:

Once Upon a Time is a creative fantasy show with well-written dialogue and an absorbing storyline. The first season feels a little uneven at times, but the second half of the season is where the best episodes lie. For a TV show, it has a terrific video presentation and a decent audio track. If you are a fan of the fantasy genre, or if you liked shows like "Lost", then I would recommend this Blu-ray set.***


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