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Once Upon a Time Pilot Review

Pilot Scoop: Once Upon a Time

Believe it or not, NBC's Grimm isn't the only upcoming TV show inspired by a fairy tale. Tonight, ABC will unveil Once Upon a Time, a new drama that explores the idea that fairy tale characters are real — they've just forgotten who they are.


What it's about: Jennifer Morrison stars as Emma Swan, a woman who gets an unexpected visit from a 10-year-old boy on her 28th birthday. When she takes him back to his hometown of Storybrooke, the lonely lad tries to convince her that the Wicked Queen in his fairy tale book cursed everyone in the Enchanted Forest (like Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumpelstiltskin, and so on) by taking away their happy endings. Now they're living regular lives (Snow White is a teacher) with no recollection of their magical past. Though Emma is skeptical, we learn that she is, in fact, the key to making everything right again in Storybrooke.

Where it works: The pilot has cheesy moments, but it also has enough edge and twists to keep me invested. I was happy to see both Ginnifer Goodwin (as Snow White) and Morrison back on the small screen, and they both fit their roles nicely (though Goodwin is a teeny bit bland). The juxtaposition of the characters in their magic lives and real world is also fun to see; the kid in me enjoyed each new character reveal (Pinocchio, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.), and there are plenty more that aren't even touched on in the first episode.

Where it doesn't: The special effects are a little cheesy, and none of the leading men was particularly compelling. I'm also skeptical of how far the show can go beyond one season since the premise hangs on whether or not Emma can send the fairy tale characters back home.

You might like this show if: You still love old-school Disney animated movies.

When it's on: Sundays at 8 p.m.

To see pictures and a preview of Once Upon a Time, just read more.

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White / Sister Mary Margaret on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin / Mr. Gold on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen / Regina on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jared Gilmore as Henry on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas as Prince Charming / John Doe on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Tony Amendola on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jennifer Morrison and Beverly Elliot on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Meghan Ory on on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Robert Carlyle on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Morrison on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Josh Dallas on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jakob Davies and Tony Amendola on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Morrison on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jamie Dornan on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Jennifer Morrison on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Lana Parrilla on ABC's Once Upon a Time.
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<p>Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

Photos copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.

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