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Nov 11
Ali Once Upon A Time Comments Off on Who’s fairest of all new dramas? ‘Once Upon a Time’

The Chicago Sun-Times did this great article reviewing Ginny’s new project “Once Upon A Time”.

Fairy tales are famous for their happy endings. For ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” it’s been one heckuva happy beginning.

The alphabet network’s freshman fantasy conjured up nearly 13 million viewers when it debuted last month. Since then, it’s continued to spin gold like a ratings Rumpelstiltskin.

Returning with a new episode Sunday, this fairy tale mash-up set in the real world ranks as ABC’s most-watched regular series for its 7 p.m. time slot in seven years. Season-to-date, it’s television’s No. 1 new drama across all key adult demographics, teens (12-17) and kids (2-11).

“Once Upon a Time” clearly has broad appeal, regardless of how many candles are on your birthday cake. The program is producing the strongest family “co-viewing” numbers for any regularly scheduled drama series on the major nets in the past decade.

“Adults enjoy the storytelling just as much as kids enjoy it,” said Jennifer Morrison, the Arlington Heights native who co-stars as Snow White and Prince Charming’s grown daughter, Emma Swan.

“These are stories written for adults, but they never cross the line that would make them inappropriate for a child,” she said. “It feels like Harry Potter in the sense that it has this mythology and a magical element and good versus evil.”

The beauty of “Once Upon a Time” — aside from its impressive special effects and gorgeous Vancouver, Canada, setting — is how well it turns something old into something new again. It cleverly reboots centuries-old yarns, imbuing them with enough novelty to keep us guessing about the fates of characters we thought we knew so well.

Half the fun is watching these characters’ paths intersect in one big story — and in two parallel worlds: the fairy-tale land of the Enchanted Forest and the “real” town of Storybrooke, Maine.

You thought Cinderella’s fairy godmother got her to the ball? Nuh-uh. A flashback to fairy-tale land tells us it was that crafty guy from another story, Rumpelstiltskin (played brilliantly by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle), who put Cinderella on the V.I.P. list. He also tricked her into making a Faustian bargain for her first-born child.

The devilish deal comes back to haunt Cinderella in modern-day Storybrooke, where she’s living as a knocked-up maid and Rumpelstiltskin prances around as the town’s powerbroker, Mr. Gold.

“Once Upon a Time” is packed with the classic characters we grew up reading and watching: Snow White, Jiminy Cricket, Red Riding Hood. But they’ve been robbed of their happy endings and exiled from their fairy-tale confines thanks to a curse by the Snow White-loathing Evil Queen.

With no memory of their true identities, these fairy-tale fixtures are trapped in the real world as run-of-the-mill working stiffs in Storybrooke. Here, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin, “Big Love”) is simply Mary Margaret, a teacher who’s oblivious to the fact that the comatose John Doe she visits in the hospital is her Prince Charming (Josh Dallas).

One character who knows full well what’s going on is Storybrooke’s ruthless mayor, Regina, who’s really the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). Regina’s adopted son, Henry, 10, also has figured out the skinny on Storybrooke after reading his trusty book of fairy tales.

Henry (Jared Gilmore) knows that the only person who can break the queen’s curse is Emma Swan, the same woman who gave up Henry for adoption a decade ago. So Henry hightails it to Boston to bring the skeptical Swan to Storybrooke to undo the queen’s evil.

Got it?

“If someone had tried to explain it to me before I read the script, I might not have read it,” laughed Morrison, a Loyola University theater major who played Dr. Cameron on the Fox medical drama “House.” It was Morrison’s more recent role on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” that caught the casting eye of “Once Upon a Time’s” co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.

Morrison didn’t need much arm-twisting to sign on as Swan after a long lunch at Art’s Deli in L.A. with Kitsis and Horowitz, who know a thing or two about mind-bending serialized dramas. They’re both former writers/producers of ABC’s “Lost.”

“They described their [‘Once Upon a Time’] vision as if they’d been watching the show for six years,” recalled Morrison, 32. “The amount of ideas they had and the detail of the mythology and the world it was based on … it was something I knew I wanted to be a part of.”

Morrison is no stranger to the likes of Snow White & Co. Growing up, she and her younger brother and sister routinely piled in the car and made the drive down to Disney World with their parents, longtime music teachers at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect.

“By the time I was 18 I had something like 27 vacations there,” Morrison said.

She recently found a photo of her young self at Disney World getting her autograph book signed by Cinderella.

“The look on my face was, ‘I want to be you,’ ” she said. “Little did I know that years later I would work on a show that would be dealing with all these characters.”

These characters are in high demand lately. The same week “Once Upon a Time” debuted, NBC launched its fairy-tale-themed police procedural “Grimm,” already extended for the full season. And two big-budget Snow White films are slated to hit movie theaters next year.

Morrison doesn’t think it’s a coincidence.

“Disney’s ‘Snow White’ first came out during the Great Depression,” she said. “We’re in an economic crisis and there’s a lot of uncertainty with people’s jobs. It’s an uncomfortable time, so it makes sense that people would be searching to find some kind of hope or a light at the end of the tunnel. Oftentimes, that’s the underlying story in fairy tales.”


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