Long time collaborators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, co-creators and showrunners of ABC’s freshman fantasy series “Once Upon a Time,” believe that it was no mere coincidence that, as their show became a hit for ABC on Sunday nights, fairytales began to invade popular culture.
Fairytales have become cool again, with two well-received adaptations of the timeless “Snow White” tale in cinemas recently (Tarsem Singh‘s “Mirror Mirror” bowed in March and Rupert Sanders‘ “Snow White and the Huntsman” was released in June), and NBC’s similarly themed “Grimm” enjoying unexpected success on Friday nights.
It appears that the time was right for a comeback of such time-honored classics. “‘Snow White’ came out in 1937 at the height of the Depression, and I think that these are stories that everybody loves because they’re the first stories you were ever told” said Kitsis, adding that, “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.”
“It wasn’t conscious on our part in any kind of calculating way” agreed Horowitz. “It really was, for us, about that idea of transportation. Could we take an hour, every Sunday night, and take the audience to another land, another world and take them on a ride that is hopefully emotional and fun?”
“Once Upon a Time,” starring Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Robert Carlyle and Lana Parrilla, tells the story of two parallel worlds; the mythical fairytale setting of the Enchanted Forest, and the modern day setting of small-town America. Actors play dual roles as the show flits back and forth between the two parallel worlds, reintroducing audiences to fabled characters that most of us know from our childhood like Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumplestiltskin, the Evil Queen, Cinderella and Pinocchio, amongst many others.
Chatting at length with Gold Derby about how the show came to be, Kitsis and Horowitz also recalled their initial reactions to the success of the show when it premiered last fall, and delved into some of their highlights from the show’s freshman season.
As for what the show’s rabid fanbase can expect for season two, the showrunners were understandably tight-lipped, or “maddeningly vague,” as Horowitz admitted with a grin. “I think if we had to tease one thing, I think we would just repeat Mr Gold’s line – magic is coming,” says Kitsis.
As for the show’s Emmy chances, when nominations are announced on July 19, Kitsis and Horowitz stand a decent chance at seeing their names in the Drama Series Writing category, as they have smartly submitted the pilot episode for consideration by Emmy voters. They were previously nominated in the Best Drama Series category as “Lost” producers in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
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