Friday, June 28, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Once Upon a Time - The First Five Episodes

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: 5 great episodes that will hook you on this show
Cons: Special effects in Fairy Tale often don't really work
The Bottom Line
Some alternate tales
From the very beginning
Will captivate you




Get Lost in Alternative Fairy Tales as Once Upon a Time Begins

Every May, I swear I won’t start any new TV shows.  And every September, I’ve forgotten that and start watching several new shows.  The new show from fall of 2011 that I love is Once Upon a Time.  In this Target exclusive, you can go back to the beginning with the first five episodes.

The story opens on Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) birthday.  A bounty hunter, she has severed all ties and lives a solitary existence.  All that changes when Henry (Jared Gilmore) shows up at her door, claiming to be the son she gave up for adoption years before.  He now lives in the town ofStorybrooke,Maine.  And he claims the town is filled with fairy tale characters who don’t remember who they are because they are trapped in a curse that only Emma can break.  The creator of this curse?  Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) evil step-mother (Lana Parrilla), who also happens to be Henry’s adopted mom.

Emma puts no stock in Henry’s claims.  But after meeting Henry’s mom, she thinks something isn’t right so she decides to stick around.  And things begin to happen.  Maybe Henry’s theory isn’t so crazy after all.

Meanwhile, we also get to take trips to the fairy tale kingdoms that were.  Even here, not everything is quite how we know it to be as the creators put their unique twists on the familiar stories, making them richer and lots of fun.

Of course, the fairy tale world is also where I have my only real gripe – special effects.  Any time they try to do anything too elaborate, it shows.  But I’m having such a good time I can quickly dismiss that.

Because the story that they are telling is so good.  It pulled me in from the pilot and each of the episodes here grabbed me just as much.  Usually, I find both Storybrooke and the Fairy Tale world equally compelling.  The creators worked on Lost, and you can see it in this mix.  Hopefully, this one actually leads to an ending at some point, but that’s much farther down the road than what we have on this disc.

I’ve heard various people complain about the acting on the show, but I find it great.  I especially love Emma and Regina.  Their scenes just crackle with their animosity.

Obviously, if you have been watching from the beginning, you can wait until the complete first season comes out.  But if you want to go back to the beginning of Once Upon a Time right now, this is a great way to do it.

And now that it's available, skip this and get the complete first season.

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