This review may contain spoilers ***
This series was originally fresh and creative but has really deteriorated.
The seventh season is little more than a reworking of season one's plot: a curse where everyone has lost their memories. The writers have obviously run out of ideas. It is so lacking that at times I switched to another channel's "Star Trek" reruns.
Worse still, it is wasting the talents of the cast, especially the considerable talents of Robert Carlyle. Perhaps, the writers noticed this too. For, they dedicated an episode to Carlyle's character, and as usual, he has given the series its most moving moments.
Seeing Rumplestiltskin's redemption and being with Belle has been the only good thing about season seven.
If there is no improvement, which seems likely, I will stop watching; for, I think season six should have been the last. Its ending would have been a good wrap up.
THE FOLLOWING ARE MY ORIGINAL REVIEWS STARTING FROM SEASON ONE TO THE LATTER ONES. I RECALL ORIGINALLY GIVING THE SERIES A RATING OF NINE.
Great TV series either come up with new ideas or a creative look at old ones. "Once Upon a Time" does the latter extremely well.
During the first season, I watched the first two episodes and then only watched off and on. However, I eventually got hooked! The jumping back and forth between Storybrook and the Enchanted Forest took some getting used to, and the commercial breaks caused more fragmentation.
Once I got used to the style of the series, it became a never miss show, and I eventually bought the season 1 DVD set to catch up on the missed episodes.
The twists the writers do with the fairy tale characters is great (who would think of Peter Pan as actually an evil old man?) and the actors do an excellent portrayal of them. Robert Carlyle has the plumb part as Rumplestiltskin. His scenes are the most memorable. Lana Parilla is also very good as the evil queen. They both can exude pure evil yet reveal sparks of former goodness.
Highlight episodes are "Skin Deep", a wonderful reworking of beauty and the beast and the season one finale "A Land Without Magic".
The second season continued the high quality of the first.
The third season stalled somewhat with the Peter Pan story line. Though a nice twist, Pan the villain and Hook mostly a good guy, and though it gave some good revelations about the characters (e.g. we find how Rumplestiltskin was scarred as a child, something that motivated his later actions), this plot went on too long. If not for this, I would have given the series a ten.
After wrapping up the Peter Pan story, the series has since got back on track.
In summary, "Once Upon a Time" is one of the better series on TV, and I highly recommend it.
UPDATE: As with most series, the later seasons are not as good as the early ones. I think this one needs to drop the Disney tie-ins. It lowers the quality.
Also, they are ruining Robert Carlyle's character. Rumplestiltskin was originally a good man who became the Dark One in order to save his son. The conflict between the good man and the darkness from the dagger made the character not only interesting but sympathetic. Now, he is being portrayed as someone who was always dark and power hungry -- major mistake.
Another thing, though I like the twists the fairy tale characters are given, making Little Red Riding Hood and Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" lesbians is going too far. A bit of the innocence of the original tales should be retained.
At this point, I am wondering if the series is still worth watching (and I have lowered my rating). I'll see with the upcoming season.