Once Upon a Time is stylish but vapid TV
- Brian Donaldson
- 27 March 2012
The contemporary American fairy tales from the makers of Lost lack substance
Given that Stephen King pretty much owned the franchise on writing twisted tales set in Maine, it’s an act of errant folly that he’s not involved in Once Upon a Time (Five, Sun 1 Apr, 8pm). You can only imagine what fun the horror master would have had in getting his teeth into Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, Prince Charming et al in this series which reinterprets classic fairy tales partly set in modern day America and back in whatever specific historical period fairy tales were located. Instead this is made by some hotshots who worked on Lost which will give you an idea of how lavish it looks and empty it feels.
Ginnifer Goodwin and Bobby Carlyle are among those playing dual roles (the latter almost inevitably invests his manipulative Rumplestiltskin with a dark Begbie-esque menace) while there is an overbearing Disneyness to the whole enterprise which leaves you feeling as though your back teeth are slowly rotting. A holiday season weekend trilogy might have been just about enough to stomach, but they’re giving us 22 whole chances to decide which episode of this vapid drivel to make your last. If you get beyond three, consider yourself having achieved a feat of rare endurance. ‘Where are we going?’ whimpers Snow White. ‘Somewhere horrible,’ cackles the Evil Queen. You said it.