Parents' Guide to

Once Upon a Time

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Fresh take on fairy tales is moody fun for families.

TV ABC Drama 2011
Once Upon a Time Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 96 parent reviews

age 15+

Great modern fantasy show! But no to kids and pre-teens

It is a great storylines, complexily characters, strong females characters (good role models for women) and message that "love always wins" and "make the right things". But in my point of view would no be good to kids because of implicity sexual insinuations, implicit sex and violence, characters make ambiguous things and darker themes like revenge, passional crimes, villians make evil things with their own family and intenses psycological conflits (parental abuse, depression and self destructive tendencies).

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Absolutely Amazing

This show has really good story lines and twists to it and it continues to stay entertaining throughout. It really is intended for teens 14+ because of the occasional sexual reference (there is one scene in the first season where the mayor says she is going to a meeting but she is actually meeting up with the sheriff and doing 'mischievous' things) and there is very subtle language. My 11 year old brother was watching it with me and there was a hot scene and I just told him to leave the room because I didn't want him exposed to that, but otherwise this show is amazing!
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (96):
Kids say (418):

The entertaining, imaginative series is a sharply written modern spin on fairy tales that combines drama, romance, and suspense in a truly magical way. Once Upon a Time brings together a wide range of favorite characters, including stand-bys like Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory), Peter Pan (Robbie Kay), and Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and more contemporary characters like Merida (Amy Manson) and Princess Elsa (Georgina Haig). The story takes generous liberties with the content of the original narratives in order to allow viewers to engage with them in exciting new ways. Purists might take issue with this aspect of the show, but the formula allows for creative plot lines to drive the show through its seven seasons.

This isn't your kids' fairy tale collection, however, nor is it a suitable bedtime story for little ones. It's dark, intense, occasionally sexy, and at times too violent for younger kids. The constant plot twists and the characters' unpredictable motivations can be worrisome, too. It does, however, promise a fun experience for older viewers craving something outside the repetitive realm of sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows. Overall, Once Upon a Time is a fun journey that will have you rooting for underdogs, cheering for true love, and embracing a world that's as clever as it is enchanting.

TV Details

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