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. The soundtrack for the first season was released on May 1, 2012. The full-disc DVD/Blu-ray set of Season One was released on August 28, 2012.
Season Two premiered on September 30, 2012, and ended on May 12, 2013.
Season Three has been confirmed and filming is due to start on July 12, 2013.
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 (Josh 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 Mills (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. 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.
Beginning in Season Two, the curse has now been broken, but the narrative continues to follow a similar pattern, with multiple storylines being followed each episode. The first episode of the season sees Mary Margaret and Emma transported to a post-curse Enchanted Forest, so some episodes alternate between present day Storybrooke and present day Enchanted Forest. The Second Season also explores a previously unseen time period, the events of Emma's past in the Land Without Magic during the curse. Season Two also sees the introduction of another world, the Land Without Color where the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein originates.
- Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) - Bail bonds collector, and later Storybrooke's town sheriff. She is birth mother of Henry Mills, whom she gave up for adoption ten years ago.
- Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard (Ginnifer Goodwin) - Snow White is a young princess that becomes Prince Charming's wife as well as mother of Emma Swan. Mary Margaret is Henry's schoolteacher in the real world.
- 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.
- Prince Charming/David Nolan (Josh 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.
- Evil Queen/Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) - The Evil Queen who strives to get rid of Snow White and take away everyone's happiness. Regina is Storybrooke's mayor and the adoptive mother of Henry.
- Huntsman/Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan) - The Huntsman sent by the Evil Queen to cut out Snow White's heart, but he pities her and lets her live. He pays with his own heart, and is enslaved by the Queen to follow her every command. Graham is sheriff of Storybrooke until his death, and then Emma takes over his old job.
- August Booth (Eion Bailey) - A stranger who arrives in Storybrooke and is aware of the curse. He is actually Pinocchio who came into the real world through the magic wardrobe when he was a child.
- Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) - In the Fairytale world he is a cowardly peasant who later becomes a powerful magician (also referred to as the new "Dark One"). Mr. Gold is the man who "owns the town".
- Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) - In the Fairytale world he was the son of con artists. He later was turned into a cricket by the Blue Fairy. Archie Hopper is Henry's therapist in the real world. He is best friends with Marco, whose Enchanted Forest counterpart is Geppetto.
- Belle (Enchanted Forest)/Belle (Storybrooke) (Emilie de Ravin) - In the Fairytale 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.
- Red Riding Hood/Ruby (Meghan Ory) - the protagonist from Little Red Riding Hood. In Storybrooke, she is a waitress at Granny's Diner.
- Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) - A pirate who takes his crew to Neverland and was not affected by the Dark Curse.
- Abigail/Kathryn Nolan (Anastasia Griffith) - Princess Abigail is the daughter of King Midas and once the betrothed of Prince Charming, while Kathryn is the wife of David Nolan.
- Blue Fairy/Mother Superior (Keegan Tracy)- The Blue Fairy turned Jiminy into a cricket and later advised Prince Charming and Snow White about the magical wardrobe. Mother Superior is the head nun of Storybrooke.
- Cinderella/Ashley Boyd (Jessy Schram) - Cinderella, whose fairy godmother is replaced by Rumplestiltskin, and later woos the heart of Prince Thomas. Ashley is a pregnant teen who gives birth to a daughter, Alexandra.
- King George/Albert Spencer (Alan Dale) - Prince Charming's scheming father whose counterpart in Storybrooke is the district attorney.
- 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.
- Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten) - An evil witch from Disney's Sleeping Beauty who is a friend of the Evil Queen and has the power to turn into a dragon.
- Mad Hatter/Jefferson (Sebastian Stan) - an inhabitant of the Enchanted Forest who possesses a hat that can transport people through the realms. Trapped in Wonderland but is transported to Storybrooke after the casting of the curse, though separated from his daughter and still carries memories from his past life.
- Cora (Barbara Hershey) - Regina's mother, and also the miller's daughter, as well as the Queen of Hearts, is a powerful witch who orchestrated Regina's marriage to King Leopold, and eventually turned Regina to magic.
- Aurora (Sarah Bolger) - a princess put under a sleeping curse by Maleficent who was left in the Enchanted Forest after the curse was inflicted.
- Mulan (Jamie Chung) - a female warrior left in the Enchanted Forest after the Dark Curse who aided Prince Phillip in finding Aurora.
- Valet (Tony Perez) - Regina's father who she sacrifices to activate the Dark Curse.
- Hansel/Nicholas Zimmer (Quinn Lord) and Gretel/Ava Zimmer (Karley Scott Collins) - Young siblings used by the Queen to steal the poisoned apple from the Blind Witch. In Storybrooke, they are helped by Emma to reunite with their biological father after their mother dies.
- Granny (Enchanted Forest)/Granny (Storybrooke) (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, Sidney is a news reporter for the Storybrooke Daily Mirror.
- Neal Cassidy (Michael Raymond-James) - A mysterious man from Emma's past who she had a relationship with nearly 10 years before the start of the series; Henry Mills' biological father.
- Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Whale (David Anders) - Victor Frankenstein is a scientist that resurrected the dead through implanting hearts into their bodies. Dr. Whale is a doctor at Storybrooke Hospital who treated various patients in town.