The first season of the ABC television series Once Upon a Time premiered on October 23, 2011 and concluded on May 13, 2012. The series is created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. The series centers on the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke, and the Evil Queen’s plot to destroy everyone’s happiness so she can be the only one with a happy ending.
Once Upon a Time’s first season received “generally favorable” reviews from critics. Metacritic gave it a score of 66 out of 100 based on 26 reviews. Washington Post’s Hank Stuever called the series “a smartly-crafted reward for fans of light fantasy, with the right mix of cleverness, action and romance.” Verne Gay of Newsday said the series “glows with a near-theatrical shine, challenging viewers to think about TV drama as something other than boilerplate.”
The pilot episode was watched by 12.93 million viewers and achieved an adult 18-49 rating/share of 4.0/10. Those numbers dipped late in the season to a series low of 8.36 million viewers and a 2.8/8 adult 18-49 rating/share in April 2012, but rebounded slightly for the season finale with 9.66 million viewers and a 3.3/10 adult 18-49 rating/share.