Will it be happily ever after?

One of ABC’s latest television shows, Once Upon A Time, takes all of the best known fairy tale classics and transforms them into a new story, fraught with mystery and complex back stories which have kept viewers coming back for more.

I was a little skeptical when I first saw previews for the new Sunday night drama, but being the fantasy nerd that I am, I had to check it out. What I saw pleasantly surprised me and quickly became my favorite new show of the season.

Jennifer Morrison, known for her roles on House and How I Met Your Mother, plays Emma Swann, a bailbonds collector living in Boston. On her 28th birthday, she is approached by a 10-year-old boy, who turns out to be the son she gave up when she was 18.

She takes the boy, Henry, back to his hometown, Storybrooke, Me. Upon arrival, Henry tells Emma that everyone in the town is really a fairy tale character from a story book and they’ve all been cursed to live in the town with no memories of their past.

Henry tells Emma that the town is frozen in time and that no one can leave without something bad happening to them. He says that Emma is the only one that can break the spell. At the end of the pilot episode, a clock tower in the center of town begins to tick again.

Henry’s adoptive mother is Regina Mills, the town’s mayor. In reality, she’s the Evil Queen from Snow White, who cast the curse on the fairy tale world.

Each episode goes back and forth between the characters’ present and past—before the curse. The pilot begins with the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming, which is crashed by the Queen, who gives an ominous message about her revenge.

Snow White and Charming visit Rumpelstiltskin in jail to ask how to stop the Queen. He informs them that there is no way to stop her, but their unborn daughter, Emma, will be able to break the curse when she is 28-years-old.

Snow White gives birth to Emma on the night the Queen casts the curse and the baby is put into a wardrobe carved from a magical tree that will allow one person to escape. Prince Charming is badly wounded getting Emma to safety, but he succeeds.

In the subsequent episodes more back story is revealed about Snow White, who turns out to be a refreshingly badass version of the character, especially compared to the Mary Sue in the Disney’s movie. We also get an episode about what the Queen had to go through to pull off the curse, a storyline that almost humanizes the Queen before she commits an intensely evil, horrific act.

In Storybrooke, Snow White is Henry’s teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard. She is an ally to Emma and Henry against the icy Mills, who has a hand in everything that goes on in the town. She is the only one in town that really cares about Henry and quickly befriends Emma. Her relationships with Emma and Henry are quite poignant, given that they’re really her daughter and grandson.

Prince Charming is in a coma, later to wake up with amnesia; Jiminy Cricket is Archie Hooper, Henry’s therapist; and Rumpelstiltskin is Mr. Gold, the richest man in town, and a truly creepy, unsettling character in both worlds.

In return for telling the Queen how to cast the curse, Rumpelstiltskin made a deal with her that he would be rich in the new town and that she would always have to do what he asked of her. It’s apparent that he knows something about the curse, but the extent is unclear.

As the show goes forward it’ll be interesting to see how all the characters interconnect in both storylines, and to see Emma’s journey from not believing Henry’s theory to ultimately beating the curse and restoring everyone’s happy ever after.

I’m always a little weary to get attached to new TV shows because they so rarely last, but Once Upon A Time has held onto impressive ratings so far. Executive Producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz came up with the concept in 2004, but then became writers on Lost and shifted their focus to that.

Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of Lost, consulted on the pilot episode and has served as a mentor for both Kitsis and Horowitz, according to an article in TVGuide.com. “His name isn’t on the show but his DNA is in it,” said Horowitz in the interview.

It has that air of mystery about it and intriguing characters, portrayed by a strong cast, that make me want to learn more and engross myself in the universe.

Many shows have blatantly tried to be the new Lost with zero success, but Once Upon A Time may manage to do so because like the former, it’s something we haven’t seen before.