Once Upon a Time is a television show that premiered on October 23, 2011, on ABC. It is produced and created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. Its soundtrack was released on May 1, 2012. The full-disc DVD/Blu-Ray set was released on August 28, 2012.
Emma Swan's life has been anything but a fairytale. A 28-year-old bail bondsperson, she’s been taking care of herself since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry, the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago, finds her, everything changes. Henry is desperate for his mom’s help, and he thinks that Emma is actually the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.
Even stranger, Henry believes that Storybrooke, the sleepy New England town he calls home, is really part of a curse cast by the Evil Queen, freezing fairytale characters in the modern world with no memory of their fairytale selves. Of course the seen-it-all Emma doesn’t believe a word; but when she gets to Storybrooke, she can’t help sensing that nothing is quite what it seems.
The story is set in the fictional small town of Storybrooke, Maine. The town is populated by characters from fairy tales, who have been exiled to the real world by a curse cast by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) as part of a revenge plot against Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Joshua Dallas). Because of the curse, most of the inhabitants of Storybrooke have no memory of their "true" identities, and have been stuck in Storybrooke for years.
This changes when Henry (Jared Gilmore), the adopted son of Storybrooke's Mayor Regina Mills, seeks out his birth mother, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), a bounty hunter living in Boston. He convinces her to come to Storybrooke. Henry knows about the curse from a book given to him by his teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard. He tells Emma that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and that she is destined to break the curse holding everyone in Storybrooke. Skeptical, Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke only after seeing how lonely Henry is, and how emotionally neglected he is by his adoptive mother. In staying, Emma continues to run afoul of Mayor Mills. This conflict increases when Emma becomes the town Sheriff.
Each episode usually focuses on one main character who is experiencing some sort of conflict in Storybrooke. Flashbacks show what the character's story was in the fairytale world of the Enchanted Forest. In the first season, almost all of the flashbacks involve Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) making deals with the protagonists as part of some sort of complicated plot. In Storybrooke, Rumplestiltskin is known as Mr. Gold, the wealthiest man in town.
- Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) - Bail bonds collector and birth mother of Henry Mills, whom she gave up for adoption ten years ago.
- Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore) - the boy who finds his long-lost mother, Emma Swan, and asks for her help, because he has a book of stories in which she is featured.
- Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard (Ginnifer Goodwin) - a young princess, also the mother of Emma Swan and Henry's schoolteacher in the real world.
- Prince Charming /David Nolan (Joshua Dallas) - Emma Swan's father, who is a hospital patient in a coma (John Doe) in the real world, later awakened and discovered to be David Nolan.
- Regina Mills/Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) - Storybrooke's mayor and the adoptive mother of Henry, also the antagonist in the Snow White story.
- Sheriff Graham/Huntsman (Jamie Dornan) - Sheriff of Storybrooke. In the Snow White story, he is the Huntsman sent by the Evil Queen to cut out Snow White's heart, but he pities her and lets her live.
- August Booth (Eion Bailey) - A stranger who arrives in Storybrooke and is aware of the curse. It is later revealed that he was Pinnochio, sent with Emma in the enchanted tree to protect her.
- Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) - the man who "owns the town". In the fairytale world he is a cowardly peasant who later becomes a powerful magician (also referred to as the new "Dark One").
- Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge) - Henry's therapist in the real world. In the fairytale world he was the son of con artists. He later was turned into a cricket by the Blue Fairy. He is best friends with Marco, whose real identity is Geppetto.
- Princess Abigail/Kathryn Nolan (Anastasia Griffith) - Wife of David Nolan in Storybrooke, in fairy tale land she is the daughter of King Midas and once the betrothed of Prince Charming.
- Belle (Emilie de Ravin) - In the fairy tale world, she is the beauty from Beauty and the Beast, who sacrificed her freedom to save her town, and eventually falls in love with the Beast.
- Blue Fairy/Mother Superior (Keegan Tracy)- In fairy tale land, she turned Jiminy into a cricket and later advised Prince Charming and Snow White about the magical wardrobe.
- Cinderella/Ashley Boyd (Jessy Schram) - A pregnant teen mom in the Storybrooke, in fairy tale land she is Cinderella, whose fairy godmother is replaced by Rumplestiltskin.
- King George/Albert Spencer (Alan Dale) - Prince Charming's father whose counterpart in Storybrooke is the district prosecutor.
- Grumpy/Leroy (Lee Arenberg) - one of the seven dwarves from Disney's Snow White, he befriends and helps Snow White in the fairytale world, while in Storybrooke he is a custodian at the hospital.
- Hansel/Nicholas Zimmer (Quinn Lord) and Gretel/Ava Zimmer (Karley Scott Collins) - Young siblings used by the Queen to steal the poison apple from the Blind Witch, in Storybrooke they are helped by Emma to reach their father.
- Widow Lucas/Ruby's Grandmother (Beverley Elliott) - the maternal grandmother to both versions of Red Riding Hood, and the person from whom Red inherited her wolf gene.
- Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass (Giancarlo Esposito) - The Evil Queen's mirror and confidant in the fairy tale world. In Storybrooke, Sydney is a news reporter for The Daily Mirror.
- Red Riding Hood/Ruby (Meghan Ory) - the protagonist from Little Red Riding Hood, in Storybrooke she is a waitress at Granny's Diner.