Once Upon a Time: Review: Behind the Magic

Once upon a timeTitan Books, out now

A comprehensive guide to the first two seasons of the ABC series.

This may have been released under the Titan Books imprint, but this is very definitely the product of the Titan Magazines department, and reads like four or five issues of an official magazine amalgamated together. This isn’t a criticism, by any means – the material that was put together for the official magazine on the first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie could benefit from the same reproduction, for example – and moves the “companion” series beyond the smaller-scale ones that I was involved with on Farscape and Smallville.

It means that there are plenty of shorter pieces, which focus on specific aspects of the production, or actors/characters, and it would seem as if ABC have been helpful in providing pictorial material (always a major problem with this sort of undertaking). The features are mostly written by Paul Terry, Tara Bennett,  Bryan Cairns and Jayne Nelson, all veterans of this sort of coverage, where you have to balance your material so it provides something new for blasé fans, but doesn’t become so arcane that newcomers are put off. They’re ably complemented by Dan Bura’s designs.

The only odd thing is the placement of the short episode synopses; for those who don’t know the show, having them in one easily accessible place would have been handy. To be honest, they are considerably more useful than the disappointing “novel” which was released adapting only some elements of series one into book form a few months ago. They also include a few “did you notice” moments that don’t fit easily into other parts of the book.

Verdict: If you’re a fan of the show, then you’ll find much to interest you here. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Once Upon a Time – Behind the Magic from Amazon.co.uk


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