When I started watching Once Upon a Time, I was fully prepared for it to be one of those guilty pleasure shows that I would soon tire of and give up on it even before the end of the first season. What with all the fairytale links and pretty princesses, I presumed the show would be one to please the air-headed masses. Alas, I was oh so wrong. Till date, Once Upon a Time is one of the most inspiring, teaching, and well-depicted show I’ve ever come across. If there was ever a show that reminded you of your childhood and yet gave you a dose of reality in an in-your-face manner, then this is it! Here are some of the reasons I think this show MUST be watched EVERYONE who is human; hell, even get your dog to watch it, if possible!
Strong Female Characters: When you hear that this show is a cross between fairytales and the real world, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that there would be cute little princesses, with innocent, docile smiles, and a demure attitude. Well you thought wrong! All, I repeat, all the female characters in Once Upon a Time are not in the least bit docile. If I had a penny for all the times Snow White saved Prince Charming’s nether regions, I would be a rich gal indeed! And its not just Snow, its every woman on the show, they just wont sit around in their ivory towers waiting for princes to rescue them. Instead, they fight, for themselves, for people they care for, for the general good for everyone; sometimes even to serve themselves, but what’s a good story without a good old-fashioned villain, right?! Its such a strong message for all the girls and women out there, to take charge of their own lives, and to all the people who say Disney princesses set a bad example, go home!
Real-life Lessons in the Fairytale World: Once Upon a Time is full of invaluable lessons that make so much sense even when applied to our real world. If you only open your eyes and ears, there is so much that you could learn. Its a show you can watch with your kids without having to endure explicit and unsuitable scenes. The most important thing I have picked up from this show is that good intensions don’t always make for good results. Sometimes, even when you have the purest of intent in your heart, you could end up doing immeasurable harm to someone, without meaning to.
Parenting 101: There are some interesting takes on parenting in the show- it depicts how kids tend to bring out the best in their parents, even when the entire world has given up on them. Its about teaching your kids the importance of being their own person, even when society, media, and the entire world says otherwise. And sometimes, your kids can make you aware of things that you had no idea you were capable of.
Round Characters: In literature, the term ‘round characters’ means characters who start off with a specific personality, and then change as the story proceeds, influenced by circumstances. Here, characters like the Evil Queen who is inherently bad, and spiteful, along with Rumpelstiltskin, who is equally cunning and manipulative, change for the better, owing to a number of factors. There is a sliver of good, however tiny, in everyone if only we attempt to find it. Despite all the things that once went wrong, all we need at the end of the day is someone willing to bring that sliver out and turn it into a full-blown rainbow of goodness.
Hope and Cynicism Wrapped Up in a Neat Lil’ Bow: Just because the show is all about fairytales and magic, doesn’t mean that its always hunky dory. The characters have real problems, and experience times of despair that make it so much more relatable, that you will surely find at least one character who’s experiences you will associate with. This keeps things real and so much more interesting than it would have if it was always sunshine and daises all year long.
Brilliant Plot, Casting, and Sets: Once Upon a Time brings back to life all the fairytales that you once adored, with style! The casting is so brilliant, it seems like the entire universe conspired to bring these amazing people together in this enigmatic show to portray their respective characters. Its an absolute pleasure to watch the Enchanted Forest and Storybrook so carefully created, keeping the tiniest details in mind.