Say the names Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to television fans, particularly genre television fans, and you immediately conjure up the complex world of Lost. Kitsis and Horowitz were writer/producers on the intricately crafted ABC series, joining the creative team midway through season one. (Both writers were executive producers by the time the series ended in 2010.)
According to writing partners, about eight years earlier, they had conceived an unusual story idea to fuse the modern world with the fantasy universe of classic fairy tales. And now, after creating 21 Lost episodes (and listed as producers on countless others), Kitsis and Horowitz have taken that original concept and brought it to ABC as Once Upon a Time.
The duo has been writing together for many years, having been classmates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ironically, their first project was a remake of the television series Fantasy Island, which only lasted 13 episodes. But it was clear that Kitsis and Horowitz were destined to ply their craft in fanstasy/sci-fi genre.
Their biggest success of course came with writing on Lost.
Their newest creation, Once Upon a Time, will focus on themes like family and motherhood. On the other hand, insist the writers, the women will hardly be stereotypical damsels in distress. “They’re strong women, which is why in the pilot you see Snow White with a sword…instead of hiding behind her husband,” Kitsis told Spinoff Online in a recent interview.
The writers have explained that it will not be unusual for characters from different fairy tales clash—or work together. So, Gepetto (from Pinnochio) might be seen collaborating with Grumpy of Seven Dwarves fame. Kitsis and Horowitz view the series as a character drama, allowing them and the other writers to dig deep within the characters, telling their origin stories and playing with what makes them tick.
If you haven’t read it yet, please check out my interview with Once Upon a Time writer Jane Espenson for more about the series.
Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.