Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fairy Tales Get Grimm in "Once Upon Upon a Time: Season 4"

ABC Studios brings “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” to Blu-ray and DVD. Now fans can binge-watch for the first time or revisit Storybrooke with all 23-episodes. The fourth season of the series is chock full of battles between good and evil as fairy tale worlds collide and the struggle for true love continues.

For some reason, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” has never been able to hold my attention. It’s one of those shows that I’ll sit down and watch on occasion with my wife and kids, but never keep up. I’ve also always looked at the show as a knock-off of the comic book “Fables.” The producers of the series would never admit the comic book was a major influence, even though they had optioned Bill Willingham’s creation and then backed out of it a couple of years before. This has always rubbed me the wrong way and left a bad taste in my mouth towards it.

For those who haven’t seen the show, "Once Upon a Time" tells the story of a new world. It’s one in which fairy-tale legends and modern life collide. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is comfortable in her life as a bail bonds collector when Henry -- the child she gave up a decade earlier -- suddenly shows up. He is convinced that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who sent her away before the Evil Queen could cast a spell, freezing the fairytale world in time and bringing them to present-day Storybrooke, Maine. After taking Henry home, Emma decides to stay in the town to keep an eye on him, and she discovers he may not be wrong after all.

Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” picks up soon after Emma and Hook unwittingly bring Elsa of Arendelle to Storybrooke. They encounter the mysterious Snow Queen, whose relentless obsession with both Emma and Elsa has chilling consequences. Meanwhile, it appears Regina has at last found true love with Robin Hood, but how will she react when her happy ending is thwarted yet again by a maddening twist of fate? Then, a banished Rumplestiltskin enlists the Queens of Darkness (Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella De Vil) in an insidious scheme to rewrite their own stories and corrupt the Savior by turning her newly blissful heart pitch-black.

The Blu-ray edition of “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” contains plenty of bonus material for fans of the show. Deleted scenes and audio commentary headline the extras. There are also three featurettes entitled “Defrosting ‘Frozen,’” Behind the Magic Tour,” and “Three Who Stayed.” We also get “The Fairest Bloopers of Them All.” That should be plenty of making of and behind-the-scenes footage for any enthusiast to get excited over.

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” is rated TV-PG for violence, profanity, adult situations, and frightening and intense scenes. Most families will find the content to be not much different than what you see in a PG-rated live-action movie these days.

“Once Upon a Time” is a great concept that holds endless possibilities for a long-running television series that mashes up any and every possible fairy tale and classic literary work. If the characters are in the public domain or Disney already owns it, you better believe it’s going to show up at some point in this complex fantasy action drama. “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” keeps delivering exactly what viewers are expecting and audiences want.

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

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