'Once Upon a Time' 100th episode: What makes the show a success

'Once' recently reached a milestone for a TV series, reaching its 100th installment. The ABC fairy tale program is currently airing its fifth season. What has allowed the show to air so many episodes?

Jack Rowand/ABC/AP
'Once Upon a Time' stars Ginnifer Goodwin (l.) and Lana Parrilla (r.).

The ABC fantasy show “Once Upon a Time” recently aired its 100th episode.

“Once” brings together various fairy tale characters, including Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and her prince (Josh Dallas), Captain Hook of “Peter Pan” (Colin O’Donoghue), and Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle). 

The show debuted in 2011 and has had lower ratings during this current season than in the past. 

Because ABC is owned by Disney, the show is free to use the Disney versions of various famous characters, including a plotline last year that involved the characters from the hugely successful animated movie “Frozen.”

Other characters that have popped up on the show include Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Jiminy Cricket from “Pinocchio,” and Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty.” 

The newest arrival is Hades as portrayed in the Disney movie “Hercules.” The character is played by actor Greg Germann and appeared in the 100th episode of “Once,” which aired on March 6.

How has “Once” succeeded in reaching a 100th episode?

Vulture writer Josef Adalian noted following the debut of the program that “Once” is a show that can attract viewers of multiple generations.

“’Once Upon a Time’ is a rare hit with the whole family,” Mr. Adalian writes. “…According to Nielsen data … there's evidence ‘Once’ has become a rare must-see for families.” 

Hollywood Reporter staff also noted that “Once” has been good at capturing not only the popularity of Disney characters but also in depicting the ones that were popular in pop culture at the time the show was airing. 

“’Once’ quickly proved to be a textbook tale of how to do synergy right with many of the beloved Disney characters turning up on the series,” Reporter staff wrote. “Less than a year after ‘Frozen’ took moviegoers by storm and broke multiple Disney records, the film’s beloved characters were introduced on ‘Once Upon a Time.’” 

Another part of the success has been how fans have taken to social media to express their devotion.

Variety writer Elizabeth Wagmeister wrote when the show was renewed earlier this month, “Despite the ratings decline [of ‘Once’ this past season], the intense social-media engagement surely did not go unnoticed with this early renewal.”

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