From the show's creators:
Once Upon A Time is, at its core, a story about hope.
"For us, that’s what a fairy tale is. It’s that ability to think your life will get better. It’s why you buy a lottery ticket—because if you win you get to tell your boss that you’re quitting and you get to move to Paris or wherever and be who you always wanted to be. And that’s Cinderella, right? One day she’s sweeping up and the next she’s going to the ball. Adam and I just wanted to write about something hopeful that for one hour a week allows one to put everything aside and have that feeling that your dreams just may come true."
- Edward Kitsis, Co-Creator/Executive Producer
That sounds like a pretty awesome premise, right? I think hope is something we all strive to share with our stories--hope for a better future, a new dad, a fairy godmother . . . there is usually a wish of some sort that our characters are chasing down, and it is our hope that they achieve it that makes the journey so much fun to write about.