• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 23, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Once Upon a Time Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 341 Ratings

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  • Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Eion Bailey, Lana Parrilla
  • Summary: Henry locates his birth mother, whom he believes can save Storybrooke, which is a town of fairy tale characters that do not remember their lives in the fairy tale parallel world.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
  • Creator: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
  • Show Type: In Season
  • Season 1 premiere date: Oct 23, 2011
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 08:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    Once Upon a Time is a smartly-crafted reward for fans of light fantasy, with the right mix of cleverness, action and romance.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 20, 2011
    Fans of the fantastical can do far worse than Once Upon A Time, which manages to both stir the pulse and please the senses with its beautifully imagined medieval times.
  3. Reviewed by: Lynnette Porter
    Oct 24, 2011
    In its premiere episode, Once Upon a Time offers a mix of hope and cynicism, coupled with familiar television and film allusions (not unlike the Shreks).
  4. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Oct 20, 2011
    I don't see this fairy-tale fantasy having broad enough appeal to conjure up the kind of viewer numbers it will need to stick around.
  5. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Oct 24, 2011
    No other new show this fall is attempting to tell a bigger story, and we're hoping the rough patches smooth out and it fulfills the potential that's there in its very strong cast and premise.
  6. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Oct 21, 2011
    There are times when the enterprise lacks a certain heft and when the fantasy realm seems a little generic. Also, some characters, especially Lana Parrilla's Evil Queen (who is also the mayor of Storybrooke), are one-dimensional in kind of maddening ways, though Robert Carlyle makes up for that with his charismatic turn as both Rumplestiltskin and a Storybrooke resident named Mr. Gold.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Oct 21, 2011
    To draw out the story by looping it through subplots and minidramas runs the risk of turning it into a fairy-tale soap opera--when what we really want to know is whether the tragic Snow White or the lonely Emma can in the end live happily ever after.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 76
  2. Negative: 17 out of 76
  1. Nov 13, 2011
    Excellent show with a very unique and creative script. I love the way they integrate the various fairytales into the main plot and I like the fact that the writers do not rigidly adhere to the original stories, which makes them a lot more interesting (for example, the story of Snow White in the 3 rd episode). I'm already hooked on it! If you're avoiding this show because you think that it will be cheesy, I'd recommend giving it a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised. The only criticism I have is with the casting of some of the main characters. However, so far, it hasn't really mattered. Expand
  2. Nov 18, 2011
    Original, well acted, beautifully shot and directed. This has to be one of the best new shows on TV. The creators of ¨Lost¨proved once again that they can grab our attention hopefully they keep a hold on it. Expand
  3. Oct 25, 2011
    I loved the concept of the show its different from what's on television at the moment and it makes you want to watch it and the cast does a fantastic job! I can not wait to continue watching the show and see how the storyline develops. Expand
  4. Mar 14, 2013
    “Once Upon a Time” is about fairy tale characters that get trapped in the real world because of a curse by the evil witch Regina. None of the other characters besides Regina, has any recollection of their life before the curse. However, there is a savior who can save them all, but she doesn’t believe. Emma Swan is this savior, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, but because of her troubled childhood she doesn’t have time to believe in fairy tales or curses that is until her son Henry comes back into her life. Emma and Regina go head to head as the mysteries of Storybrooke unfold in front of us.

    This is one heck of a show. It has strong writing and tackles themes of true love, motherhood, friendship, and believing. The show adds a new twist to the fairy tale lore as we get to see classic characters interact with one another. Stories jump back and forth from the present, which take place in our realm, to the past, which takes place in the fairy tale world, in a single episode. Each story event in the fairy tale world tells the story of what is happening at this moment or a back story of a particular character(s). It is interestingly done and keeps us involved as we try to piece each event together to the point of when the curse takes place. The part is finding all the references to the Disney version of these stories and characters. Disney/ABC put a lot of money into the show as the special effects and visuals are top notch for television. The costumes and make-up are extravagant as well. The musical score is at the heart of the story as each character or group of characters have their own themes.

    Actors range from good to decent. Emma and Henry are the weakest parts of the show for me. Henry comes off as annoying and a bit of a brat, but the writers and produces grow aware as his appearance becomes less and more tamed as the show progresses. The standout by far and worth watching are Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. Regina is vicious, but there is heart to her. Rumpelstiltskin is flamboyant, but very understated in the real world. One thing particularly great about this show is how no one character is just one note. There are layers to each character, even the most evil of them.

    Overall, “Once Upon a Time” is a really great show with some strong writing and high production values. Each character is highlighted well in their particular episode and we’re left guessing what happens next. As the season comes to an end, we learn more and more about certain characters that change our perspective on them. And the finale answers a lot of questions, but leaves us with a bunch of new ones. I give it 4.5/5, great writing, impressive production values, and a cast of colorful, but relateable characters.
  5. Dec 26, 2013
    This show had an amazing start with great character development and potential, but by season 2 it appears that the writer has no idea where they were going. Instead of focusing on the main story and characters, the writers kept introducing new characters to keep providing the twists that it did in the first season. The third season is a major improvement from the last, but I think they need to continue with focusing on the main characters and the relationships they have with one another, as well as giving the show an clear objective to what it's about. Explaining this show to anyone at the moment gives me and the other person a headache. Expand
  6. Oct 24, 2011
    Once Upon a Time (saying thatâ
  7. Sep 28, 2014
    Worst show I have ever seen. Disney is ruining every movie they ever made with this stupid show with a bad storyline. I can't even watch one episode. The animation is poor and the show is so bad it's comcial. Expand

See all 76 User Reviews

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