Last year, when Once Upon a Time premiered, I did not expect the huge success that followed it. So many shows with fantasy elements become cult hits but don't really attract mainstream attention. They eventually die off, relegated to the DVD shelf of loyal nerds and show lovers. Even Lost lost more of its mainstream followers as it delved deeper into its own inverted mythology.
How then, did a show about a once sleepy town full of fairy tale characters and creatures who have forgotten their true identities carve a secure place in Sunday night television? I think there is more than one argument/explanation. First, Once Upon a Time is an abc show, meaning it is in sync with Disney. Thus, Disney's most beloved interpretations of fairy tale characters (from Mulan to Sleeping Beauty) can be used and honored. Second, I think the show has gained success because Sunday nights, and any night really, is really void of (mostly) family friendly television that doesn't involve annoying talking sponges and mediocre teens trying to be famous. Once Upon a Time fills that void with a show that unites parents and (somewhat older) kids together for more traditional storytelling.
I do understand the draw of Once Upon a Time, though I remember thinking it had a bit of cheese when I watched a few episodes. As a big fan of shows like Merlin though, I think I can handle a little cheese if it has some substance and meat behind it. Once season 1 is now available on Instant Netflix. I may give it a chance before the new season premieres September 30. I refuse to be a hipster who won't commit to a good show just because people actually (egad!!!) like it.