Of the two, Once Upon A Time has the more interesting starting premise. Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison of House, M.D. fame, is a bail bond collector who is contacted by the 10 year old son she gave up for adoption. She is soon drawn into the problems of a New England town called Storybrooke, which turns out to be populated by fairy tale characters trapped in a modern setting with no recollection of their collective past because of a spell cast by the Evil Queen (who also happens to be mayor of the town).
Featuring Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Carlyle, Raphael Sbarge and Lana Parilla and created by Lost producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, Once Upon A Time looks like it could be a thoughtful and twisted journey into the world of fairy tales, though I don't think it is going to push the envelope too hard in terms of violence or overtly sexual story lines since it is going to air on Sunday nights at 8.
However, given the relative lack of success for other high concept shows like this on network television in recent years, I am still a little pessimistic about its chances long term. There have been a lot of fans who have been burned after following a wonderfully constructed show which plays with the tropes of a genre. Occasionally one makes an impact and has a relatively long run, but such a series has to get a strong following almost from the beginning.
But perhaps the star power both in front of and behind the camera can help this series succeed in the long run because it certainly seems like it would have the makings of an entertaining show.
Which brings me to the other series I was given a preview of: the reboot of Charlie's Angels.
The series is executive produced by Drew Barrymore and Leonard Goldberg, both of whom have a legacy with the franchise, and I have to say that it looks very promising. I am very much a fan of empowered female characters, and hopefully this series will keep with the times and balance the titillation with solid character development and some deeper mysteries.
From the preview, it seems as if the series is going to steer away from some of the campiness of the two feature films and take things a little more seriously. For some reason I definitely got an early Alias vibe from this production, and that is a very good thing. And with the success of the recent television reboots of Hawaii Five-O and Battlestar Galactica, it certainly seems that this series has a shot at long term viability.
Starring Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh, this Charlie's Angels reboot seems like it is being positioned to be a winner this fall with its placement on Thursday nights before Grey's Anatomy.
Given the casting changes the original series went through during its run, I can only hope that the new version maintains a little more continuity because it does seem like a very promising show, and the one I am most looking forward to between the two previewed series.
So it looks like ABC has a couple of series worth taking a look at in the coming season. I guess only time will tell if they will ultimately be successful.
Article first published as Previewing ABC's New Series: Once Upon A Time and Charlie's Angels on Blogcritics.