Saturday, October 22, 2011

NYCC '11: Once Upon a Time, Pilot & Panel

The first thing I did Friday morning after getting into Javits is make a b-line for 1A-06.  I wanted to make sure I had great seats for the Felicia Day spotlight, but I was met with an unexpected surprise when I got there.  Unlike my co-bloggers, I am not always up-to-date on the latest additions and revisions to the schedule, so I found out that an additional panel had been added before the one I was going for.  That panel was an exclusive sneak peek at the pilot for ABC’s Once Upon A Time.  From the writers of Lost and starring Jennifer Morrison, Jared Gilmore & Lana Parilla, the show brings us to a world where the Evil Queen has banished all of the characters of a Fairy Tale world to a sleepy town in real world Maine. 

I wasn’t originally interested in this show and had already dismissed it among the wave of new fall pilots, but I have to tell you after the pilot my mind was changed.  I won’t give up too much of the plot, but it is a very strong story that moves quickly and pulls you in.  The point that really pulled me into the show was once Jennifer Morrison & Jared Gilmore’s characters reached the quaint town of Storybrooke.  The town and the circumstances surrounding their arrival had such a strange and surreal quality against the overly-average backdrop that I couldn’t help but be reminded of the numerous quiet New England towns from the works of Stephen King.  Anyone else who is a Stephen King fan will recognize this as high praise.

Creators of Lost and now, Once Upon A Time: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

After the pilot was finished and the audience’s applause died down we also had a chance to hear from the creators of the show, Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis, and they gave us some insight into how this project came to be.  They explained that they had the idea for Once Upon A Time before Lost and even pitched it to several people; however, this was before they had the credibility of a hit show under their belt.  We also heard that the Disney brand team has been very helpful with the use of classic characters.  Since this is a show on ABC (owned by Disney), they will be using a lot of Disney branded fairytale characters.

Speaking of characters, the first several episodes are going to focus heavily on character introduction and development.  Much in the way that Lost used flashbacks to tell us more about a character, in OUaT we will see stories from both the real world and fairy tale world.  Almost every character is Storybrooke will have a corresponding character of who they were in fairy tale land.  One of the more interesting characters we’ll learn about is Jiminey Cricket, who in the real world is a child psychologist.  In fact, Jane Espenson is the one who wrote the episode focusing on his character and we will learn how he actually became a cricket.

During the Q&A, the creators were asked a couple of questions about how their experience with Lost will translate to their newest project.  The biggest differentiation they made was that Lost was about redemption, but Once Upon A Time is a story about hope.  They were also asked if they have an ending in mind already for the show.  Both creators responded by saying that while they do have a "grand idea" of where the show will end, right now they are focusing on the first 13 episodes and making sure that they tell the best story they can.  

Getting to see the pilot and hearing from the writers made me a believer, so you should be sure to check it out.  The series premiere is tomorrow night, Sunday 10/23/11 on ABC.  Check your local listing for times.

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