Did Once Upon a Time Work Its Magic on You? Plus: What Questions Do You Have?

After months of buzz that seemed to last ever after, ABC premiered its fantastical new drama, Once Upon a Time, this Sunday night. If you checked it out, what did you think?

Once — as we, if only for headline-writing purposes, hope it will affectionately be called — used its pilot to establish that the Evil Queen, on Snow White and Prince Charming’s wedding day, announced her plan to unleash a powerful curse upon the Enchanted Forest. But before the darkness descended, Snow and friends arranged to use an enchanted tree, fashioned by Gepetto and Pinocchio into a wardrobe, to safeguard one of them from the curse. As it would turn out, that refugee was Snow’s newborn daughter, Emma, whom Rumpelstiltskin (a scene-stealing Robert Carlyle) foretold to be the one person who could one day undo the evil curse.

Cut to: Modern-day Boston, where “bail bondsperson” Emma Swan is tracked down by a young lad named Henry. Toting a book of fairy tales, Henry reveals that he is the son Emma gave up for adoption 10 years prior, and he urges her to go with him to Storybrooke, Maine, where the onetime residents of the Enchanted Forest now live with no memory of their true identities or previous existence.

Once Upon a Time: Your Guide to the Magical Residents — Real and Fairy Real!

In Storybrooke, Emma immediately clashes swords with Henry’s adoptive mother, Regina — aka the town’s domineering mayor fka the Evil Queen. Then, when Henry goes missing, Emma meets Mary Margret Blanchard (nee Snow White), whom she does not know is her own mother. Upon finding Henry (at his “castle”) and trading sob stories with him, Emma decides to stay in town, this despite Regina’s threat to “destroy” her, “if it’s the last thing I do.”

What did you think of Once Upon a Time? Was it just fair or… fair, fairy good? Other discussion topics:

* How many Lost references did you pick up on? (E.g. Regina’s street address is 108, the clock was frozen at 8:15, a Geronimo Jackson bumper sticker on Emma’s Beetle…)

* Did you pick up on Granny’s goth-y granddaughter, Ruby, being Red Riding Hood? The jail cell grump being Grumpy?

* It would seem that Regina knows her true origin. Do you suspect Mr. Gold is aware of his, as well?

* Who do you think the Storybrooke sheriff was “before”?

* Next week, we will get the Evil Queen’s backstory, complete with the debut of Breaking Bad guy Giancarlo Esposito as the Magic Mirror (and a Storybrooke news reporter), plus Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood) guesting as the evil sorceress Maleficent. And in Episode 3, we see how Snow met her prince. Whose backstory do you also hope to see soon?

* Off the bat, who is your favorite character, from either world?


This poll was reset Sunday at 11pm PST due to anomalies caused by ‘robo-voting.’

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214 Comments
  1. JO says:

    That sheriff was probably THE BIG BAD WOLF before.

  2. SammyG says:

    Loved the pilot. I even watched it twice. Once on IMDB.com before it’s premiere date and again live. I’m officially hooked!
    I think the Sheriff isn’t the Big Bad Wolf or the Huntsman. I think he’s the Evil Queen’s right hand man in the fairy world. The one who stabbed the Prince. Because: 1)He wears dark clothes like the guards’ uniforms. 2)He pounded on the wardrobe door, which was a clue. 3)His voice sounded similar to the guard’s when he spoke to the queen. 4)I also just want a character that the show can call its own and have more wiggle room. I mean not every character has to be a main guy. There were low key people in fairy world.

    • SammyG says:

      Forgot this little thing: A sheriff is basically just a guard. He guards the town and maybe he used to guard the queen. I did read he is her lapdog. (Not a clue about the Big Bad Wolf!) LOL

  3. John says:

    Sherrif = Pinnochio. The queen ‘adopted’ him and raised him, too, I’d say.

    • Theresa says:

      That is a good point since Gepetto is the jailer.

    • Carol says:

      I dont think the sheriff is Pinnochio. We will probably know more when we see the Queen’s back story, but my guess leans more towards him being the Huntsman.

    • Moosie says:

      I don’t think it can be Pinnochio, because everyone who stayed in Fairy Tale land stopped aging. So Pinnochio would still be a small child like he was at the time of the curse. I think the black knight makes a lot of sense. Not sure about the BBW, since we haven’t seen him yet, but I could be convinced it is the BBW…

  4. Lisa says:

    We could definitely use some clarification regarding the time-standing-still, characters not aging deal. Even if their memories have been wiped, they would have to notice that they are not aging. And if Henry is the only one growing up, wouldn’t that be pretty obvious in comparison to the other kids?
    *Hope you can get some informative scoop for us, TVLine!*

    • Lisa says:

      BTW… LOVED the show. Can not believe people are whining about the effects. The plot was so original and intriguing that I didn’t even notice them. It’s going to the top of my DVR!

    • Theresa says:

      The other kids are aging as normal too. Only the original characters from the enchanted forest are ageless. but that changed when Emma appeared on her 28th birthday.

  5. MW says:

    This show was made for girls who grew up on fairytales. Not saying others won’t enjoy it, but as someone who was raised believing in Prince Charming and superstitiously eying any apple that was just a little too red and shiny, I absolutely adored it. How could you not root for Snow and the Prince or love to hate the evil Queen (and their counterparts)? Emma and Henry are great as well. I’m intrigued by the Sheriff. That has to be the best dressed cop I’ve ever seen.

    For me, it completely lived up to the hype. I loved it and can’t wait for more.

  6. MelindaB says:

    I admit that I’d set up the series recording before the show aired, but I liked it and plan to continue watching. Unfortunately, since I like it and it’s a niche show, I’m worried about its lifespan. I’d love to be proven wrong.

    On a related note, it made me smile that Scott Cohen–The Wolf from “The 10th Kingdom”–was on Pan Am tonight.

  7. nitemar says:

    I hope it sticks. I really enjoyed it, very unusual concept, also refreshing for a Sunday evening. :)

  8. Kasper says:

    Didn’t like the pilot very much. Horrible CGI and generally cheesy acting. I love Jeniffer Morrison, but not sure I love her enough to watch this. It’s not horrible, but just not my style I guess.

  9. Spencer says:

    Kudos, ABC! You are doing an awesome job with new shows! Revenge (<3), Suburgatory (pretty good), and now this!!!!! Love it!

  10. Cathy says:

    I think I’ll be back; it was intriguing enough, especially when the Prince was hurt and then shows up in the hospital. I’d like to see where it goes.

  11. Jeff says:

    The similarities to the story telling of Lost are glaring. Which is great because I loved Lost. The only difference is that in Lost I was instantly drawn to caring about Jack, Kate, Hurley etcc… Despite being beloved fairy tale creatures I still don’t feel the need to find out what happens. On paper this should be one of my favorite shows on the air so far it hasn’t gotten their yet. However it was impossible not to enjoy the character references in our world. Especially the red riding hood scene.

    My biggest question is how broad is the term fairy tale. For instance unless i’m forgetting one isn’t the wardrobe chronicles of narnia? Not exactly out of grimms

  12. AT says:

    I think they need to work on their dialogue and originality in the fairy tale world, but other than that a great start to what looks to be a promising series.

  13. Kelly says:

    Add me to the list of those who loved the show! I liked the reimagining of the fairytale stories and the way it was intertwined with modern day. It kind of reminded me of watching “Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday nights growing up, but with a little darker tone. I am excited to see where the story goes next!

  14. Justin says:

    Definitely liked what I saw. I was skeptical going in, but was pleasantly surprised after the pilot. This different (and in most cases, accurate) take on some of these characters is what really hooked me, so I’m in.

  15. JaY says:

    Enjoyed it. Will watch next week. Not yet a season pass. Either my DVR didn’t get it or there was no opening announcing the actors. With so many characters they need a opening such as JL as Emma; RC as Mr. gold etc

  16. Andrew says:

    I think it has potential as long as they know where they’re going with it.

    The only looming question I had after watching it was: How did Henry get to Storybrooke? If Emma was outside of the curse, she obviously gave birth outside of Storybrooke, which means he had to be in our world before he ever lived in Storybrooke since he can leave unlike the other characters. So, how did he get there?

    I assume the evil queen did. I also think knows who she is (or has some idea) since she would be the only person in town with the power to leave since she enforced the curse, which also means that she must know about Emma giving birth. I mean, why would she leave Storybrooke and adopt Henry unless she knew who his mother was? Or, was it just a coincidence?

    And does she know that Emma’s arrival signals the beginning of her curse possibly being broken?

    I think Rumplestiltskin gave the evil queen her powers in exchange of her knowing that he would be the mastermind of the curse, but if they are working together, why would he allow Emma’s presence in Storybrooke when he may know that her presence could lead to the curse being broken?

    Too many unanswered questions when you really think about it, but I will be watching.

    • Andrew says:

      I meant to say that I think the evil queen is the one who brought Henry to Storybrooke…

    • Theresa says:

      Henry was a closed adoption the Evil Queen Henry’s Maternal Great Grandmother kept track of Emma not knowing Rumpelstiltskin’s prophecy. So when Emma gave him up for adoption she was there to grab Henry for her own evil purposes. The question of Rumpelstiltskin’s loyalty can be determined from the exchange in the dungeon. He says the unborn child will be OUR saving grace to break the curse then the ultimate battle of good vs evil will begin. So He is definitely wanting the curse to be broken.

  17. cj says:

    i liked it more than i thought i would. the beginning part in fairytale land was rather corny, but jennifer morrison turns out to be a bad ass bail bondsperson, strutting across that street, through traffic, in her little red dress and heals, she’s a bad ass. my favorite character is actually the evil queen? or rather, her real world alter ego. i mean, obviously she is evil, and it remains to be seen whether SHE remembers anything (though signs point toward yes), but she just really popped off the screen for me as the mayor. she may not love her adoptive son (at least thats what i think we’re supposed to assume since emma stayed in town), but she’s just as deliciously evil as the characters in Revenge.

    i didnt catch any Lost references! 8:15??? i mean COME ON what kind of Lost fan am i? *SHAME*

    • Theresa says:

      Remember Emma says her super power is to know when someone is lying! When the mayor/evil Queen/her Grandmother said she loved Henry. Emma knew Henry spoke the truth. She did not love him. But what part of her evil plan is Henry?

  18. Sally says:

    I totally love this show! Initially I watched because of Jennifer Morrison, but the rest of the cast instantly grew dear to me. Favorite character: Emma Swan. She’s so tough, yet so vulnerable.

  19. Sally says:

    I totally love this show! Initially I watched because of Jennifer Morrison, but the rest of the cast instantly grew dear to me. Favorite character: Emma Swan. She’s so tough, yet so vulnerable.

  20. airhead says:

    loved the pilot, and hopefully this show will last for a while. the only thing i got a little confused about was the scene with rumplestiltskin. what did he mean by he ‘wants’ emma’s name. can he do something with it or is it just metaphorical?

    • Moi says:

      Rumpelstiltskin has a thing about names and deals and babies, don’t you remember the fairy tales? Unless you can guess my name……… Your first born son will be mine…….
      Anyway I loved the pilot

  21. Arielle says:

    It was alright,nothing special..done with it..FOOTBALL RULES!!

  22. fiona says:

    I’m assuming not every single resident of Storybrooke is ala fairy tale. Ex. the children, but certainly most of the adult characters are. If 28 years have passed and none of them have aged, It makes me wonder how exactly the curse affects their memories

    I had thought that the sheriff was the huntsman. Though I also see potential romance between emma and the sheriff lol.

    I thought that the Red Riding Hood thing was obvious. 1) character was seen in round table in her famous red coat. 2) Inn was Granny’s inn and granny had also been seen with Red at the round table. 3) her name’s ruby as in ruby = red gem.

    • Theresa says:

      One of the better scenes I felt was Red in an argument with Granny and Mr. Gold enters. and says Emma’s name the same as he did in the dungeon.

  23. Amy says:

    i absolutely loved it! i can’t wait to see what happens next. Everything worked for me. writing, actors, costumes and music

  24. Julie says:

    I laughed my butt off when Desperate Housewives started after OUAT and my mom was like «Hey, where’s the end of the movie?» hehe! I love that the creators did something so fantasy-like for a TV show. Yeah sure, we have dinosaurs and such on TV as well now but if you’re a fan of fairytales and you’re curious about how some people see these stories then this show is for you. I know it is for me.
    I’m glad that Jennifer Morrisson got something new to be in: that way we don’t have to suffer through some random House or HIMYM scenes with her in it anymore. She deserved her sorta big break and she’s got it. SO excited that Ginny tweeted me during last night’s premiere I thought it was cool. And of course I’m curious about all of this, and I like that the characters are different in both worlds.
    All in all, I’m excited about this and I cannot wait for next week. I hope the pace stays the same and I wish with all my heart that if it does that the show will get picked up for a full-season status.

  25. Guy says:

    Brilliant. Loved every second of it even if it started a bit sketchy. I love the flash backs and so on. See the difference between the creators of Lost and the WRITERS of Lost is they write the stuff not produce it and that is what makes any show. The whole cast have this feel about them. I think this is the best pilot for a new drama this season with Revenge 2nd and Terra Nova 3rd.

    I am really looking forward to sitting down each week and watching it. Lets hope the show reflects it with the viewers.

  26. Mehvash says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the kid who plays Henry. i saw this last week when they put it up on streaming since i was traveling on sunday. i was not disappointed and can’t wait to see where the story goes. ABC FTW.

  27. Ivet says:

    Best new show! I’ll definitely be tuning in again.

  28. Allison says:

    It’s refreshing to see a TV show that is not a tired lawyer/cop/medical drama. So I will keep watching and supporting the show.

  29. SarahH says:

    I think I will give this show maybe two more episodes to prove itself. The reviewers have all seen another episode I believe and we only have this pilot to go on, and if it were just up to the pilot…I wouldn’t keep watching. I think Rumpelstiltskin’s character is amazing. The best on the show so far. He is the architect of the curse and town so he knows Emma (which is why he repeats her name. IE “once he knows your name he has power over you.” He wanted her name in return)
    Jeniffer Morrison is 32 and doesn’t really come off as 28 to me. Yes I know it is only 4 years but I guess her 28 years have been hard earned?
    Henry and Emma were protected from the curse. They say that in the beginning, that time will stop for those that are effected by the curse. Like Richard on Lost, day and night still come…others still age but he stayed the same. That’s how a curse works after all.
    I am waiting to see if Grimm is better.

  30. Liz says:

    I loved it. It made me cry even. Can’t wait to see more. I finally have something worth watching on Sunday nights again. I don’t think there’s been something this good since Alias was on Sundays.
    I’m thinking the Sheriff might be the huntsman? Or maybe he’s another eligible bachelor for Emma?
    Anyone notice that Grumpy is Pintell from Pirates of the Caribbean? The one that says “Hello poppet.”
    I’m really looking forward to watching more!

  31. Rebecca says:

    I loved it! My second favorite pilot of the year, behind only Ringer. This show is something special. It’s great to have a fun fantasy with some mystery elements.

    I really liked Emma from the start. Henry is adorable, and Gepetto is just right. Cute version of Jiminy Cricket, too. I see so much potential for this show.

  32. Jennifer Morrison at she’s very best! The story its not to die for, but the characters, mainly Ginni and Jenni are astonishing. Next Monday morning seems so far away!

  33. JAO says:

    Loved the show! Different, loved & cared about everyone. Especially Henry. Reminded me of watching the Disneyland shows on Sunday Evening with my Mom….

  34. Cleo says:

    I know everyone caught the references to Lost but did anyone catch the references to iconic scenes from Snow White. The profile image of the Evil Queen in the Stage Coach (originally a scene with a mirror), Mary (Snow White) releasing the bird out the window (I believe this scene was the cottage in the woods), the psychologist (Jimmy Cricket) opening his umbrella, Evil Queen smiling into a Mirror near the end (mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all!), red apples in the Mayor’s house, Mary only eats pears (ROFL), Grumpy in the cell, and Jimmy Cricket was walking a Dalmatian.

    Loved this show, it was brilliant. I had no problem with the special effects or the acting. Thought the pilot was paced well and the back story was introduced really well. Will be watching again!

  35. Colleen says:

    Liked this show way more than I expected to! It was charming and engaging.

  36. Selbs says:

    What are your readers watching? What a piece of unvarnished crap! Do most of your readers really plan to return for the next episode? 166 responses? I guess they all live in Storeybrooke! And is it really necessary to draw such in- depth analyses to Lost? I guess there are still those out there mourning Lost’s demise. Get a life, folks!

  37. Bernhardt says:

    STUPID,INSIPID

    Fairly infantile but two matters REALLY raised my ire .
    At one point when the(birth) mother character has left her “son” with the woman who adopted him at birth .virtually,is driving back to her life in the big City she sees the young fellow has purposfully left the book of Fairy Tales in her car . She blips out as a term of amusement and astonishment in his prowess ” Smart Bastard .” DONT YOU THINK THIS IS MORE THAN AN INAPPROPRIATED TRURN OF PHRASE ESPECIALLY IN THE CONTEXT . (hE WAS BORN , IT IS INFERRED WITHOUT THE “BENIFIT ” OF HIS” NATURAL” PARENTS HAVING BEEN WED TO EACH OTHER.
    Secondly , there is a scene where his class room teacher is amused and again astonished by his where with all by his having taken her credit card , without permission , to check out an Adoption birth site on the web. she then pontificates that there is a BURNING QUESTION IN EVERY ADOPTED CHILD . WHY WERE THEY ABANDONED BY THEIR “BIRTH PARENTS” . Frankly on these few points alone , this show will set a record (hopefully) in “jumping the shark” in its first outing . Really a waste of time to watch this junk .

    • JAO says:

      Then don’t watch it. Better yet, look at why it is pushing your buttons.

    • Rachel says:

      I have to go with JAO…I think those issues say more about you than about the show. those things were pretty minor. (Except for the fact that it was Snow who said it to Emma)

  38. Lisa B says:

    I will never be able to figure out why some people find the need to be so angry and self-righteous when others enjoy a show that they don’t. Maybe it’s just easier to be angry over a television show than real life… it’s sad, though.

    On to OUAT… I grew up watching Disney movies. I grew up believing in True Love and Prince Charming and magic because of it. Sure, there was a period in my 20s when I considered suing Disney for emotional damages… but in the end, I did find true love AND my prince, so it’s all good. This show was right up my proverbial alley, back down the other side and then up again, and I hope there are many others on board so this show stays around. If someone despises those premises, why would they watch it in the first place?

    My big question: Did anyone make out any of the fancy writing on Emma’s front door? All I could make out was “cast a spell.” Her character didn’t seem at all on board with the fairytale thing, so I couldn’t help but wonder why her front door would be so whimsical/magical… any ideas?

    Along with many others, I thought Robert Carlyle absolutely stole the show… it will be fun to figure out if he is truly evil or more of the mischievous trickster… does he share an agenda with the Queen, or does he just like to cause trouble across the board?

    I can’t wait for these characters to develop… this is what Kitsis and Horowitz are great at, and I think the story will get deeper and more intense, with the stakes being raised as we go. I think no one will wind up to be exactly the cut-outs they seem to be at first.

    It seems like too much of a coincidence for the Queen to have adopted Emma’s baby without knowing about it… but on the other hand, if she *did* know about Emma, why didn’t she try to harm or kill her if she knew Emma was the only one who could break her curse?
    I can’t wait to see how all that plays out… I suspect she may indeed love Henry but not know how to show it.

    I also think that it’s pretty obvious that the curse hasn’t really worked for her… everyone else is miserable, and yes, she has power… but ruining their happy endings has obviously not brought her any kind of happiness.

    Feisty Granny made me laugh out loud, and I also wept when Snow broke down after Charming left with the baby… a show that can make me do both of those things is a winner in my book.

    I will stop babbling now, before I give some hater apoplexy.

    • janie says:

      i wondered that too. about emma’s door.. but if you noticed the door across the hall had black streaks of paint on it.. so that made me think that maybe the apartment complex just painted their doors in different ways and a lot of time you have no control over what your complex does on the outside of your apartment.

  39. Holly says:

    I LOVED it!!!! Can’t wait for more!!!

  40. Holly says:

    If you don’t like the show or what it’s about why watch it at all? On another note, I love fairytales. And this show is perfect for me. I still believe in Happily Ever After, and I’m going through a divorce. My belief in the positive has started to waver and I felt that geart warming feeling a good fairytale can give you watching this show last night. Call me crazy if you want but I needed that feeling back lol.

  41. Kevin in Denver says:

    I love the tease that Emma may retain magical powers in our world because she came here protected by the wardrobe, protecting her from the curse. I’d love to see that developed over the course of the series. And does her boy have some of the same powers? How wonderfully enchanting…I love the delicious anticipation… :-)

  42. madhatter says:

    I know they mentioned it briefly but I want to know more about Henry’s father.

  43. Rachel says:

    I’m wondering if Emma’s stuck in Storybrooke like the rest of them now. Henry mentioned “bad things start to happen” if people try to leave, and then Emma has her wolf/DUI incident. Is Emma connected enough to not be allowed out now that she’s in?

  44. Amber says:

    An “A”, people, really? It was okay, but I wasn’t overly impressed. I thought it was a little cheesy. Also, the Lost references kind of get to me because people can’t let the show go, and I am for sure no fan of Ginnifer Goodwin. The word “barf” comes to mind when I think about her. Also not crazy about the queen so far…But I may re-watch that first episode simply because I did not realize that was Robert Carlyle playing Rumpeltstiltskin, who I believe to be a god. I didn’t quite finish the whole episode yet, so I’m not sure I saw the Red Riding Hood character, but if they made her into a modern day goth, then that is a freaking hysterical joke. It makes me wish Hot Topic was a sponsor of the show so that she could be seen shopping in a Hot Topic.

  45. eviltwit says:

    Loved it. Keep ‘em coming:)

  46. eviltwit says:

    p.s. also, when Regina offered Emma apple cider, i was a bit nervous that it was drugged. lol! but, Regina doesn’t remember who she is, either (even though she’s clearly regained her not-a-very-nice-person-ness)

  47. Pam says:

    Its only the 1st episode people. Things will become clear as the show goes on! If its by the writers of Lost then I think you can expect ALOT of mystery! I still ABSOLUTELLY love the show!!!

  48. Jerry Smith says:

    What we’re really watching is episodes of the Vertigo comic book Fables, only not as good. Hmmmm …

    Fables – Fairytale characters in the real world. They have come here from their fairytale world. Two main characters are Snow White and Prince Charming. The mayor and the sheriff are both fables. They don’t age. An old woman sits and knits a lot.

    Once Upon A Time – Fairytale characters in the real world. They have come here from their fairytale world. Two main characters are Snow White and Prince Charming. The mayor and the sheriff are both fables. They don’t age. An old woman sits and knits a lot.

    Fables was shopped around to the Networks a few years ago. This is what we got. ABC should be ashamed for not paying royalties for these ideas. Their version is not very good, so maybe it won’t stay on for too long. Read the comic instead!

  49. sokica says:

    regina knows who she is.. go to abc’s website.. in bios its written that she knows.. which makes sense.. i wonder if the other witches know.. from what i can tell maybe only the witches who helped regina cast the spell know what is going on.. but do not have their full powers in our world

  50. sokica says:

    my hypothesis on why she did not have emma killed is that she does not have the power to do so. she can not leave the town nor her henchmen. Ema I do not beleive can die in this world.she is protected by the enchantment. did you see how she walked across the street in teh opening sequence. She is in the book and as such a fairy tale character in her own right.

    as for henry – harder – he obviously can leave the town, I wonder who is father is. and it too much of a coincedence that he was adopted by regina. I would not be surprised if Henry;s father was a person regina sent.. or cast some sort of spell. for regina henry will be a pawn in the final battle a weak spot.. He too is protected because of his mother.

    I read somewhere is ema swan the swan princess? I wonder.

    I love fairytales and mysteries..very curious how this all plays out.

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