• zactac20 October 2011
    10/10
    The previews sparked my interest and the pilot just hooked me.
    Once Upon a Time already shows much potential with a great pilot episode. It really got to the point without giving everything away. It basically tells the background information behind the story seen in the shows fictional town of Storybrooke. It does this in just the right way so that the viewer won't get confused or bored from just hearing the talk of fairy-tales from the side of a little boy.

    It's simply about Emma Swan and the destiny she's unaware of. Before she was born a prophecy was foretold that an evil curse would befall all of the inhabitants a fairy-tale kingdom sending them to a world where they no longer remember who they are or the happiness they once knew. In the prophecy it is foretold that Emma would be the one to return and save them from the dreaded curse.

    Now while there are many other characters in the story it is meant to revolve around Emma and the issues she must face in order to overcome the curse. The story shows much promise already and with no doubt it is sure to progress as the show continues. Morrison (Emma), Goodwin (Snow White), and Parrilla (Evil Queen) have already hit all of the right notes in just the first episode, Parrilla I loved mainly because she makes a very worthy villain in the show.

    Even though it has only begun there is great room for success and progress. I think this could be the show of the fall/winter TV season to watch. If any one decides to watch just one show this fall then let it be Once Upon a Time.
  • Rob Astyk7 November 2011
    2/10
    Jumps More Sharks than Evil Kinevil Jumped Buses
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am a storyteller who's been immersed in folklore, myth and fairy tales since boyhood. The collected tales of the Brothers Grimm, Alexandr Afanas'ev and others over the last 2 centuries are the way we convey the wisdom, beliefs and ethics of the past to the present. That said, I'm not a purist. The Grimms' tales had been revised many times to make them comport with the prevailing religions and mores of the tellers' changing times. I dearly love re-imagined classic material such as Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves (1984) or Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). The only versions of such tales that I truly despise are the Disney versions. Give me Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) any day over the sickly sweet Disney version. That said, after a weak start, I tried with all my might to allow Once Upon a Time to grow on me.

    I never watched Lost seriously. I found that show more pretentious and self-involved and just confused, never deep. I was always afraid this show would fall prey to similar script problems. Even so I had to give it a try.

    That the first episode was weak isn't entirely a fault. The whole hour was exposition. We had to get from the story books to Storybrook before the real action could begin. The second episode actually had good transitions from past to present. I also wanted to be impressed the 3 main lead women.

    And though I despise Disney-fication of fairy tales, I must say that turning Jiminy Cricket into a psychiatrist and a possibly corrupt one at that is a stroke of brilliance.

    Ginnifer Goodwin's Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White isn't much of an actress sadly. She seems to have escaped directly from a senior class play onto the set of this show. I think it was Dorothy Parker who criticized Katherine Hepburn as having an emotional range of from A to B. Ms. Goodwin is much less gifted. Lana Parrilla's Mayor/Wicked Queen struts angrily about the set and snarls when she's not whining. She's neither wicked enough to be a wicked queen nor pathetic enough to gain sympathy. Her tragic back story is just a cliché. Ms. Parrilla needs a script and a verbal dope slap or two from her director if she doesn't give us a richer, more nuanced evil queen yet all she has is horrible, flaccid, clichéd writing. I knew that the show was in trouble when the writers' love affair with psychological; gobbledygook explained Lana Parilla's character as a poor, misunderstood victim of a more evil mother and thwarted love. I think the writers decided that she really does care for Henry and can't be all bad. But a fairy tale must have a focus of evil against whom all other must strive. Making Regina wishy-washy necessitates Barbara Hersey's Cora as the ultimate evil. Even this duplicative mess hasn't taught the scriptwriters a lesson and we're in danger of having Cora excused as an overwhelmed mom just trying to do right by her ingrate daughter.

    I like Jennifer Morrison. Her Allison Cameron on House was one of a very few actors who weren't blown off the screen by Hugh Laurie. Her Emma Swan in the initial episode was one of the best things in the hour. However, she has no script worth playing and she's fallen into the trap of lazy actors who rely on standard expressions, mannerisms and deliveries if their directors aren't pushing them or they aren't pushing themselves. Unfortunately the writers haven't given her much with which to work. The crux of her problem is that there's just no chemistry between her and Jared Gilmore's Henry.

    I've been a fan of Barbara Hersey's work for decades. Her best hope in this series is for Cora to find a quick death so that she escapes further embarrassment.

    As for the men, what is Josh Dallas doing on camera at all? I understand that the show needed a pretty boy for Prince Charming he started the show in a coma and as far as I can see has never come out of it.

    Robert Carlyle's Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold grabs the camera the moment he enters and holds it until his but too often descends into a lot of scenery chewing. Still even he can't work from the vast emptiness that passes for a script.

    I've kept watching for about 2 and a half years hoping week in and week out that this show would grow into something extraordinary but I've given up. Just because these fairy tale characters are archetypes doesn't give license for them to be as flat as the pages of a story book. Rather it offers the opportunity to show us ourselves through them. The greatness of fairy tales is that they deal in absolutes. There is definite evil. There is definite good. Usually the hero or heroine of the story must make a journey of discovery from which he or she returns wiser, more mature and more powerful. Upon the main character's return he or she is equipped to overcome life's obstacles. There is precious little ambiguity. All clouds hanging over the characters clear and the couple, if there is one, can love "happily ever after" exactly because they have the experience to overcome difficulties that are far more petty than those they have already faced. Once Upon a Time founders about in a sea of ambiguity and bad writing and has just become unwatchable. It is infinitely less interesting than Grimm on NBC which also has far better writing. And it's a lot less go-for-broke exuberant and edgy fun than SyFy's Lost Girl. ABC needs to toll the bell, close the book and snuff the candle to exorcise this turkey from its roster even a second hour of the gawdawful America's Funniest Home Videos would be an improvement.
  • Jedi_Rumor24 October 2011
    10/10
    Creative
    I really enjoyed the pilot episode. It was refreshing to view a show that was not another reality series or "dare" show. This series brilliant mixture of classic fairy tales that adults have grown so familiar with and blended it with creative story lines. The acting was well done and the special effects were as well. The casting was well done and I couldn't imagine any other actor/actress playing the parts. Without giving too much away it's worth investing the hour to view! I can't wait to see the second episode and recommend this to any one who is/was a fan of Disney movies/Lost. Older children may even enjoy watching the series
  • rebbekcah13 October 2014
    3/10
    Meh
    Warning: Spoilers
    The only way I can describe this show is meh. The premise seemed promising but before the end of the first season, it turned into a fairytale soap opera for 12 year olds. Some of the little subplots were entertaining, such as Ruby/Red being the wolf but this only lasted an episode or two. I was torn between clawing out my eyeballs and falling asleep during all of the Snow/Mary Margaret and Prince/David crap, and the whole thing about Regina/Queen and Emma fighting over Henry got old really fast. The one part of the show that was worthwhile was Rumpelstiltskin/Gold. His character was amazing and he was the only reason I watched as much as I did. Overall, it was pretty cheesy and random, but I am giving three stars for Rumpelstiltskin/Gold.
  • killer1h6 December 2011
    10/10
    A Enchanting Story
    Going into this show I wasn't quite sure what to expect seeing as how it was only partially laid out. However to my ever happy surprise this show is amazing, beautiful acting, terrific plot lines, and they weave it together so perfectly that you really just have to applaud the way its done.

    This show is about 3 key elements, henry(the boy) he's basically like the guide he tells his biological mother(Emma swan) that the entire town is filled with fairytale creatures and that his adopted mother(Regina mills) is the evil witch that cast a curse upon the town and made everyone forget about their fairytale endings, and now its up to Emma to bring them back. The reason that this show works so well is that it introduces the very seldom seen both sides of the coin element. You see what it looks like in their "modern" town and then you see what happen in the past to lead up to the series of events. All and all it works just right. 10/10 We couldn't have asked for a better show keep up the good work!
  • Auntie_Inflammatory22 April 2016
    5/10
    Time to say, "The End."
    Warning: Spoilers
    I really liked the first season or two of "OUAT", it was different than anything else on network TV, it was a cute concept, it was fun. Unfortunately, it's really gone downhill in the last few years and I think it's time for this fairy tale to reach "The End."

    I first started getting annoyed with the show when it began devolving into one long commercial for Disney. It just seemed like the writers were trying to cram every Disney character imaginable into the show whether it enhanced the narrative or not. The most egregious example would be the ridiculous "Frozen" storyline (seemingly written for 5 year-olds) in season 4. I could just imagine the scene in the conference room at ABC;

    Executive: We gotta move these "Frozen" toys for Christmas, work it into the plot!

    Writer: But...but, it doesn't really make sense...

    Executive: It doesn't have to make sense, we got toys to sell, now put it in the damn storyline!!

    Writer: Y-y-yes, sir!

    After a while, every time a character went into the woods I half expected them to run into Pooh and Piglet! We get it, Disney owns ABC. We. Get. It.

    The writers have made some other, very odd, choices;

    They made Peter Pan, a beloved Disney (and J.M.J. Barrie) character, into...well...a prick! Yes, they took the happy symbol of eternal childhood and made him into a horrible person.

    They made Mulan a lesbian.

    They made Little Red Riding Hood and Dorothy Gale (of Oz fame) into lesbians and had Red (aka Ruby) wake Dorothy from a spell with a kiss that practically turned into a make-out session.

    Over the last couple of years I've pretty much come to expect that every late-night adult drama will include a gay storyline at some point. It is, however, totally inappropriate to include scenes like the one described above in a show that airs at 8pm and that appeals to children, a show based on fairy tale and cartoon characters. The fact that the Ruby character had been on the show since season 1, had never shown a romantic interest in any female character before, and had a boyfriend in the one flashback scene dealing with her love life exposes this latest development as the cheap pandering that it is.

    The constant back-and-forth between different worlds has become tiresome and a little hard to follow. Last year it was Storybrooke and The Enchanted Forest, this year it's Storybrooke and The Underworld. It's almost as if the writers can't figure out how to keep a plot set in one location compelling. "How will we ever get back to Storybrooke?!" gets pretty old the 30th time around.

    No, this show isn't what it used to be. Time to put this story to bed!
  • SherbetDLemon27 September 2014
    1/10
    Loses plot per episode, goes literally nowhere
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am so surprised, and wary, of all the positive reviews. Maybe it's one of those troll phenomenons where bad product gets critiqued highly or maybe it's all based on the first season. Anyways...

    As a viewer if you're looking for a TV show that challenges you and makes you think, you're at the wrong place.

    As a viewer if you're looking for weak plots, weaker plots and weakest plots, congratulations.

    I know what you're thinking, why did I consider a show based on fairy tales for intelligent TV viewing?

    I hadn't. It was by complete chance that I stumbled upon the first episode and it intrigued me. The first season was done remarkably well but as with most shows the problem generally arrives after the first season.

    Second season was made up of a lot of about-turns and the general tendency of this show is, if there is a snag in the storytelling, throw in more characters. The amount of irrelevant characters they put and pull: amazing. For that, I guess, we can give the writers credit. It does cause people to overlook how tedious the story progression is.

    And as all shows, when nothing goes right, sprinkle romance.

    Again, you might ask, why would I not expect romance in a show based on fairy tales?

    Because it started out as a good adventure based show, I could actually see it turning it into the likes of Merlin where the focus is more on the fictional setup. By season 3 all their magical back-stories were, I don't know put on hold maybe, and they had 2-3 new guys for the love stories. There never was a chance to get invested in those love stories/triangles as they were sudden and lacking any emotional growth.

    If they lose half the unneeded cast, try to find one story which the show can stick to, give the characters a break-free path to grow upon, this show might regain it's charm. Otherwise, well a lot of people liked Twilight (The similarities are uncanny when we compare twilight to the main lead Emma Swan's so-called romantic 'problems'), and I guess if this made it to fourth season, a lot of people like this too.

    I have to admit I stopped caring around halfway season 2 but I still made myself watch till the end of season 3 because I kept feeling like this was such a wasted opportunity and oh this could have been so much more than a soap drama. I guess that's the only reason I care enough to write this review even though I'm not gonna continue watching it. It's just sad to see so much potential executed so badly.
  • rsvp3217 October 2017
    2/10
    Season 7...I'm Bailing!
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched every episode in this series, and enjoyed it immensely, giving it an easy 7 to 9 grading for each episode...until S7E1, for which I give a 2.

    Cinderella is a rough, rude, selfish, chip on her shoulder unlikeable character. The old Henry was a brave hero eager for adventure, the new Henry is a wimp. Social justice issues and victimisation seem to be what is driving the plot, now.

    The first six seasons were tied together and wrapped up nicely in the final episode, but continuing OUAT after that is blatant greed. Seinfeld brilliantly ended their series on a high note, so should this one have.

    I can see where this show is heading...I'm bailing.

    EDIT/ADDED...

    It is an unjust shame that the previous six wonderful seasons, of which I had previously given an 8-star rating, will suffer my current 2-star rating of Season 7.

    The new troupe should not leech off the success of what preceded! They should stand on their own success/failure. Add a word like "Redux", or something to your new show. Leeches!
  • digitalbeachbum15 April 2017
    1/10
    Convoluted writing just like LOST
    I watched the first three seasons and was borderline on the story. It was different and there was suspense. The characters were interesting. However I found that by the end of the 3rd season I had enough. The show was becoming a mishmash of cockamamie, convoluted crossover fest. It was boring to watch how traditional stories were being manipulated over and over again, just to fit some crazy script. I imagined that the writers would lock their selves in a room and smoking their cancer sticks and drinking coffee, they would try random wild combinations with the characters. There was no limit, there was no rules, no respect for any story or character. There were better shows and better ways to spend my free time, so I quit watching.

    I am waiting this show from the other room. My wife watches it.

    There is no purpose for evil and good. Evil doesn't have a motivation because the story is like taking all the near empty bottles of alcohol you have in the cabinet and then pouring all them in to one punch bowl, along with all your cough syrup and other pills from the cabinet. What you create is a terrible tasting, toxic mess.

    The good in the show is lacking in direction. There is no purpose for them to exist either. You have evil which seems to want to torment all the good people and occasionally kill them or so it seems until the next episode where they are alive again. Good seems to want to destroy the evil but they always seem to "oh dear, I loved him, I can't kill him" or "I love him so much that I'll sacrifice myself and keep the evil in me!"

    I literally want to vomit on the writers.

    This recent episode now has Roman and Greek characters mixed in to it. Oy vey!
  • jasonreno-2636716 November 2016
    3/10
    OUAT fizzles out
    Warning: Spoilers
    SPOILER ALERT: This series started out great. But each season has gotten worse. Each season has weirdly, catered more toward kids in special effects and story lines, while keeping adult themes present (like the romance angles). Season 1 was original and fun. Unlike others, I didn't mind the introduction of new season themes like TWOO, Frozen, King Arthur, and Hades. But the constant flashbacks and forwards are a stumbling process to say the least.

    The CGI got out of control as well. I liked the idea of Regina controlling hearts as cheesy as it looked. But then everyone was yanking hearts. Why do that? Why take a theme one season and use it like crazy? So we get that dream catchers have powers. But then it is a major plot hold. Everyone is stealing memories with a dream catcher (like the hearts) to fumble through the increasingly weak plots and character development.

    Speaking of characters: why can't the core have more development instead of constantly introducing new cast members? Some new ones are fine, if we are introduced to Frozen it makes sense to get Frozen characters. But do we need the odd bailouts like Mulan, Brave, etc. in the middle of it all? Do we need Hook's brother and their ridiculous backstory to move things forward? Do we have to go to a different world EVERY season?

    What started out as an 8-10 scale show has fallen to a 1-3 rating overall. On the upside, Gold/Rumple holds the show up and is easily the best character.
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