‘Once Upon a Time’ execs talk importance of the fairy tale

Season 2 is still being cast.

With the wait for new “Once Upon a Time” episodes still an agonizingly long one, we have to find something here to talk about — and reflection is one of the best things to do before you start to truly look forward at the road ahead.

So why was season 1 of this show such a success? When it premiered earlier this year, its premiere rating of a 4.0 was stronger than any other new series on TV. From there, the challenge was trying to keep most of those people tuning in, and they did. The show used everything from familiar characters (Snow White, Red Riding Hood), introduced some new ones (Emma, Henry), and also used the same sort of dual narrative that showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz found so successful with “Lost.”

When it comes to how these two perceive their show’s success, they tell Gold Derby that much of it is due to providing a tone that is distinct, and also serves the current spirit of the times and struggle that many Americans are going through:

“in uncertain times, there’s something great about a fairytale; for us it’s kind of like why you buy a lottery ticket … in the hope that something magical will happen and change your life. And that’s kind of what fairytales are like. People like being transported somewhere and they like the message of hope.”

Now that the magic that was once isolated has spread through Storybrooke like the plague, the challenge for these two is going to be finding a way to maintain that careful balance between nuanced character-based storytelling and using a special power as means to an end. Too much power can cause too many problems — take “Heroes” as a prime example — and the show has to remember that it was humanity mixed with fantasy that brought on so much success in the first place.

What do you credit as the reason for “Once Upon a Time’s” season 1 success — the concept, the writing, the performances, or something else entirely?

Photo: ABC

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