Wednesday, April 11, 2012

QNBS: Once Upon A Time

Chuck has ended. I am still reeling from its oh-so-perfect ending but I have yet to decide on its replacement. So I continue my Quest for the Next Best Series. Many series have been recommended but today, I will write about Once Upon A Time.

To recap, here is how I come up with these QNBS reviews: 1. A friend recommends them or I see an interesting review about it in the Internet. 2. I watch two episodes. 3. Write down what I think, Pros-Cons style.

Plot:  This is the story of how Snow White's and Prince Charming's daughter, Emma, saves (or, at least, tries to) the fairy tale characters from the curse of the Evil Queen, who has stolen their happy endings and transported them in present-day Storybrooke, Maine. They are all oblivious to the fact that they are characters from fairy tales. But before all the saving can start, Emma's son Henry, who she gave up for adoption 10 years ago, must convince her that she is Snow White's daughter.

1. That Aha! moment. Have you experienced the feeling when after looking for your One Great Love for a long time in all the wrong places, you see this person standing in a spot you've constantly looked at but missed in the past, and you say to yourself, "There you are."? I've experienced that with Once Upon A Time, albeit in a less romantic/dramatic manner. In all the ten QNBS reviews I have done so far, it is only while watching Once Upon A Time did I say to myself, "This is it." I cannot point out the exact reason that made me love this show. I just do.

2. Henry Mills. There are only two types of kids that I love: the chubby-cheeked kids and those who talk to adults like they are grown-ups themselves. Henry Mills (Jared S. Gilmore) is obviously the second kind. He's endearing in a non-forceful (read: di masyado pa-bibo) way. He's a simple kid who for some reason found his birth mother's present address and knocked on her door on her birthday, only to convince her to bring him back home to Storybrooke. All this using his teacher's credit card. I want to believe in something as strongly as Henry does in Emma Swan.

The lovable Henry Mills

3. I am a big fan of fairy tales. I am old enough to know--or be convinced by the cynics around me haha--that fairy tales are not true but 'modernizing' these fairy tales and turning it into a TV series is a brilliant idea. It is a brillant excuse for grown-ups to relive their childhood and root for their favorite characters again.

4. Jennifer and Ginnifer. I was never a fan of Jennifer Morrison when she played Zoey in How I Met Your Mother (not because she played it badly but because, for me, the character was unnecessary). She wasn't on House when I started liking the show in Season 4. I only liked her in one House episode when she and Dr. Chase were stuck at a hospital room, forcing them to deal with their impending divorce. But in Once Upon A Time, Jennifer Morrison performs really well.

Morrison leaves Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital to be a bail bondsperson

To Ginnifer Goodwin, I only have this to say: Who are you? I honestly thought Morrison and the show's make-up team were doing a super good job portraying one actress as three characters: Snow White, Emma Swan and Mary Margaret Blanchard. It turns out they just really look alike.

She looks like Morrison and almost has the same first name 

5. The how-will-they factor. Even if I know most of the fairy tales and I, sort of, expect the writers to follow the originals, I find myself interested in how the writers will adapt a particular story. I loved how confident the Game of Thrones writers are in killing off Ned Stark and how adventurous How I Met Your Mother writers are in providing silly fast forward moments (ex. Ted in a green dress saying 'Now We're Even') that drive them into corners they have to get out of using brilliant writing. I hope the writers of Once Upon A Time deliver as well as them.

6. Good villains. Lana Parrilla is very effective as the Evil Queen. We Filipinos always claim that we have the worst and most corrupt public officials in the world, I agree with that. But when I see the Evil Queen, my resolve shakes a little. I can just imagine how frightening it is to have the Evil Queen as our city mayor. In that case, our OTOP will be apples--red, shiny and poisonous.

Apples--red, shiny, poisonous
Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin is amazing. Seeing this Rumpelstiltskin character, I told myself, He's cool. Why didn't my parents made me read his story?!!! Why did I waste my time on Three Little Pigs?

The glittering Rumpelstiltskin

7. It is not a comedy. While I require that the TV shows I watch have some kind of comedic quality or at least an occasional funny joke, I appreciated Once Upon A Time for making me realizing that, Hindi lahat ng nakakatuwang bagay, dapat nakakatawa. I had to thank The IT Crowd for showing me: Hindi lahat ng nakakatawa, nakakatuwa.

1. I'm afraid that the show will run out of fairy tales to tell, to adapt. Imagine if Once Upon A Time lasts as long as Friends or (god forbid!) Doctor Who, I bet the writers will need to borrow stories from Aesop's Fables.

2. An episode lasts about 40 minutes on average, longer than my 20min-ish requirement. I guess this is negotiable as long as Once Upon A Time manages to keep me interested and awake for 20 more minutes.


After 10 TV shows and 11 QNBS reviews (because I did Game of Thrones twice), I found Chuck's replacement! THIS IS IT. Yay! You may have sensed that Once Upon A Time is the one after reading item No. 1 on the Pro List... and seeing only two cons. (FYI: The second Con is, in fact, an afterthought.)

Bye, Chuck. Hello, Once Upon A Time.

You may want to look back on how other TV shows fared on the QNBS scale:

The Inbetweeners
Game of Thrones 2
Game of Thrones 1
The IT Crowd
Rizzoli & Isles
New Girl

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