If you had any fears that reality television was going to overtake the airwaves, those fears can be put to rest. Fans of genre shows have plenty to choose from these days, with shows like "Game of Thrones", "Grimm", "Supernatural" and ABC's fantasy-filled "Once Upon A Time." That's good news if you're into stories that feature mystic characters, mythic quests and great production values. But of all the aforementioned shows, "Once Upon A Time" is by far the most family-friendly, which makes the recent release of the shows second season on Blu-Ray/DVD a must have.
Picking up where Season One left off, Once Upon A Time The Complete Second Season continues the story of the inhabitants of Fairy Tale Land - a place where all the world's story book tales have taken place - and Storybrooke - the "real world" town where these fantastic characters have also taken residence. As the first episode kicks off, we find one great quest coming to an end when Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) finds the resting place of Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger), who is in a death-like sleep as the result of an enchantment. Of course, the spell is broken when the prince kisses her, but the story doesn't end there. We switch over to the "real world" where the denizens of Storybrooke are considering whether they want to kill Regina Mills (Lana Parilla) who is not only the Mayor of Storybrooke but also the "Evil Queen" of Fairy Tale Land and the architect of their misery. As the episode switches between worlds, we meet the couragous Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), and a whole cast of fairytale characters re-imagined for modern audiences.
The strength of this show is in its humane, empathetic writing and strong moral center. The idea of killing is anathema to the heroes, dismissed as something you just don't do. And even the villians get to show their human side.
As a newb to the show, my head was swimming as I tried to keep up with all the characters and different relationships. Luckily there is a featurette on the Blu-Ray/DVD called "A Fractured Family Tree" that explains how many of the characters are related. This feature is exclusive to the Blu-ray set.
Other features included are a blooper real, where you get a look at the hijinx that occur on set; "Sincerely, Hook" a talk with Colin O'Donoghue who plays Killian Jones/Captain Hook; and my favorite feature "Girl Power", which provides "a high impact look at Storybrooke’s fearless females as they fight for love and justice between the realms of magic and reality." I find it very heartening to see so many strong, female characters in modern storytelling. I especially appreciate how show creators Adam Horowtz and Adam Kitsis say they didn't want to write about "damsels in distress.
Top that all off with a comedic short called "Good Morning Storybrooke" which pokes fun at morning news shows and puts a new spin on the Boy Who Cried Wolf, and you have an entertaining package.
THE GOOD: The Blu-Ray presentation is gorgeous, with crisp picture and sound. The disc menus are easily navigable. The 22 episode season is spread out over 5 discs. Tailor-made for binge watching.
THE BAD: The audio commentaries at times contain spoilers of later episodes, so be careful if this is your first viewing of the show.
THE VERDICT: Once Upon A Time The Complete Second Season is a fun, family-friendly fantasy show that should entertain most genre fans.
ONCE UPON A TIME THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON gets a Geek Factor Rating of 3 1/2 enchanted apples (out of 4).
Release Format & SRP:5-Disc DVD = $45.99/5-Disc BD = $79.99
Rating: TVPG LV
Run Time: Approximately 946 minutes (22 episodes)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1