23 July 2014

TV DVD Review: "Once Upon a Time": The Complete First Season

Rated: TV-PG for language, sexual scenes, and violence (US) / PG: "Violence" (Canada)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, and Lana Parilla
Released: 2011 - 2012 (ABC premieres) / August 28, 2012 (DVD)
On her twenty-eighth birthday, longtime loner Emma Swan is in for a surprise: her son Henry, whom she gave up for adoption years ago, has found her.  After they meet, Emma immediately takes him home to the town of Storybrooke.  Henry insists that everyone there is a storybook character, but, even though Emma tries to play along, she doesn't really believe him.  To make matters worse, Henry insists that Regina, his adopted mother, is an evil queen, and flagrantly disobeys her as a result.  Despite the doubting of Emma and other townspeople, Henry knows in his heart that his beliefs are true...and they are.  Emma is the only one who can break the curse on the town of Storybrooke...but will she believe? What lengths will Henry have to go to in order to convince her? Whether or not she believes, Regina will stop at nothing to prevent the curse from being stopped.  Who will succeed?

The Good
This first season is among the most involving experiences I've ever experienced.  Instead of a situation comedy that bounces from one random adventure to the next, the continued storyline and various plot twists made this very gripping.  Even the ending--which I won't give away here--left me wanting more.  The acting was also amazing, especially from the three female leads.  I liked the soundtrack, and the sets were spot-on; they did a great job taking you to a land of fantasy.

The Bad
First off: Some scenes were downright scary, particularly one where two people are turned into hideous dolls.  Also, profanity was present in every episode; though some episodes had only one or two expletives, others had as many as five or six.  Though the producers went out of their way to make sure nothing gruesome was shown, there were a few scenes that were a bit bloody.  The "S" advisory is because of one sexual scene, which could have been left out.  A few of the plots--for example, dwarves hatching from eggs?--were slightly dumb, and some of the themes--such as an extramarital relationship--were not exactly kid-friendly.

What a ride! Finishing this first season makes me feel like I just finished a year of school.  It's true that I started watching this series over four months ago; maybe that's why I feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing the first season.  Above problems aside, it made for some good entertainment...which is more than I can say for most of what's on the major networks these days.

Score: 3.5/5

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