Don’t get me wrong: I love Once Upon a Time, but seeing how successful it is just makes me feel that one of my favorite comic book series, Fables could have made it. Here are 5 points why.
1. The Fairy Tale
At its core, Fables is pretty darn similar to OUAT. Fairy tale characters are exiled from their respective Homelands due to the invasion of The Adversary and make a new home in an area in NYC aptly named Fabletown. Instead of being under a curse, the Fables sought refuge in our world in order to live. I would think the idea of a group of people escaping oppression and starting anew in the good ol’ US of A would connect to viewers. Plus, there’s a lot more action: the invasion of the Adversary, the infiltration into the Adversary’s domain, the battle in Fabletown…so much war and fighting to go around. In between the Adversary stuff, other story arcs take on the form of spy thrillers, murder mysteries, etc. so Once Upon a Fable wouldn’t really be formulaic and there would be something for everyone. Eventually. And I don’t know if it’s the connection with Disney or what, but ABC is definitely sticking with the Disney-owned stable of fairy tales whereas Fables includes more of the lesser known European and Arabian tales. Fables even includes the non-human characters and gives them a home in the Farm. I know OUAT probably has a lot of licensing rights red tape to deal with, but I feel since Fables has more access to…well fables, the story pretty much has no limit. Except the red tape.
2. The Characters
Like OUAT, Fables takes our beloved characters and changes them up a bit. Snow White (okay pretty much every female in this comic series) as a bad-ass, I-don’t-take-crap-from-anyone mayor? Prince Charming as a douche? Boy Blue as a bishonen BAMF? Big Bad Wolf as a teddy bear at heart? Cinderella as a spy? Awesome, right? I think people would embrace the new twists on the characters. And of course Fables spotlights more than our Disney childhood heroes and princesses so viewers can also be enlightened by new stories (of course pretending licensing rights don’t exist I know I know)
3. The Spin-off Potential
Buffy had Angel. Fables could have Jack? Even a Sex and the City/Desperate Ex-wives version of the Princesses bitching about Charming and covering their own drama? A comedy spin-off about what goes on in the Farm?
OUAT is just starting to introduce us viewers to the fairy tale world(s). In a Fables show, there would be plenty of world-building when talking about the Adversary and dealing with the Fables’ history. And the Fables aren’t restricted to one town by a curse: they know perfectly well where they are so there’s the possibility of way more interaction with our world. But why would they right? That would be so…mundane.
5. Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf
As much as Snow White’s and Prince Charming’s romance is…charming it still had the meant-to-be-of-course-they’re-going-to-get-together vibe. In Fables, I feel the romance is a bit more modern; you see Snow White and Bigby’s love grow from hatred, to respect, then loooove. It just feels more substantial and real. The Big Bad Wolf may not be Prince Charming, but hey, maybe people change: princes turn out to be pricks and bad guys can change and be pretty swell guys. I think people would dig the girl and scruffy/kinda-bad-boy-but-actually-good pairing (I hear Beauty and the Beast is doing pretty well). There’s a lot more romance crossovers (well and a lot more characters) in Fables and I think fangirls (and boys) would just gobble that up.
I guess I enjoy watching Once Upon a Time because it reminds me of Fables a lot. It just makes me wish that fairy tale could be shared with everyone too. For those who love the show and read comics or want to, but don’t know where to start, this is an awesome comic book series. Go get your fairy tale on!