Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thingMay 18, 2011
Comic books and fairy tales. Stories we revere from childhood that fired our imaginations and at the same time slipped in some principles on how to live our lives, what we can become, what we can achieve. Some of our parents thought we had to put that aside when we grew up, but since the Baby Boomers came of age, we’ve embraced the idea that this doesn’t have to be kid’s stuff. From Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings to Nolan’s The Dark Knight, we’ve seen that fantasy, science fiction, and comic book stories can be told for adults. Of course, every good story is grounded in a battle between Good and Evil. There’s a reason for that. We tell these stories to prepare us for life, and in real life, that battle between Light and Darkness rages.
ABC’s Once Upon a Time has the potential to bring that battle elegantly and beautifully into the mainstream. From the writers of Lost, the world begins as we might expect: with a tantalizing mystery. 28-year old Emma Swan finds herself in Storybrook, a mysterious place where some strange rules seem to apply – rules that don’t quite seem to jibe with the laws of nature. In the First Look video…
Okay, a young boy tells Emma it’s all the work of a wicked queen, “She sent everyone from the Enchanted Forest here” and they don’t know that they’re characters from fairy tales. Sounds kinda cool, I liked The Sixth Sense and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. But none of that is what made me sit up and take notice. What did it was that moment after the screen went black and those 4 gleaming words appeared:
And so there are in every genre that touches on those cherished childhood memories. From comic books to movies, there are those who claim writing for an adult audience means a nihilist and cynical world in which there are no real heroes and no real hope. Those who cannot dream will always try to destroy yours. They have been trying to poison our childhood memories and destroy our heroes for years. Until Geoff Johns’s Infinite Crisis and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, that divide in the comics world was confined to the non-fictional arenas. Nolan’s Dark Knight fictionalized it in a battle for Gotham’s soul. Joker’s view being the cynic’s “When the chips are down, all these civilized people will eat each other” and Batman believing in the people of Gotham City. When his faith is proven right, when the people of Gotham decine to “eat each other” as Joker predicted, he asks pointedly “What was your point, that everyone is as ugly as you?”
Will Once Upon a Time take that battle to the next level? Is this a tale of Darkness and Cynicism versus Light and Hope?
I give you two moments from that FIRST LOOK:
Trollish man in a cage:
Everything we love will be ripped from
us while we suffer for all eternity.
Believing in even the possibility of a
happy ending is a very powerful thing
Once upon a time Hope fought Despair. Once upon a time Light fought Darkness. Once upon a time Good fought Evil.
Once upon a time… Damn, I’m there.