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"Once Upon a Time"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Once Upon a Time" More at IMDbPro »

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44 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

puts viewer in a magic land ... where nothing ever happens...

Author: A_Different_Drummer from North America
7 October 2013

Don't mean to be harsh here but you need to draw a line in the sand, even if the sand is actually fairy dust and you draw it with a magic wand. Once upon a time (a-ahem) when the world was green and TV was new, there was a hit series called THE FUGITIVE about a man wrongly accused of murder. The show was well-acted, well-produced, well-written. It was a hit. On the final episode after a wonderful run, the real killer was finally caught and the hero was vindicated. But that was not the real ending. The "real" ending was that, with the villain caught, viewers lost interest in watching the series in re-runs, and much income was lost, at least to the producers. And a valuable lesson was learnt -- never resolve any story, if you can avoid it. OK, flash forward a half century. In today's world viewers have somehow become a lot more comfy with paradox and ambiguity and, seemingly, can now watch for hours on end -- literally -- without ever knowing or caring how the story ends. Which is the premise of this show, reduced to the bare bones. Instead of making the fairy tale about the ending, make it about the story. Use quality actors, scripts, production values, knock yourself out. But -- here is the key - like another fairy product from Hollywood, prophetically called THE NEVER-ENDING STORY, just make sure each episode ends with more problems than solutions. If you dig deep through the 100s of IMDb viewer reviews here, you will find others who have noticed the exact same thing. Just when you think an episode is about to resolve, it instead spirals out of control. Clearly, this is not enough to dissuade viewers -- OMG, they have spun off a sister show! -- but for historians of the future, it does raise issues about the attention span of the modern TV watcher. For breaking just about every basic tenet of core narrative fiction, albeit profitably, this show is just plain wrong. I don't expect much agreement, but I need to point out the obvious. And here is a footnote -- you have to wonder aloud if the two Jennifers each initially read for each other's parts. Narrative aside, the show would have been more interesting had the roles been switched.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Time to say, "The End."

Author: Auntie_Inflammatory from United States
22 April 2016

*** This review may contain 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!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: Hannah Norman from Truro, Cornwall
27 March 2015

Have you guys ever seen the movie Birdemic? Because this is the series version

Although both are attempting to tell different stories, there are so many similarities. Bad CGI; painful dialog; awkward acting, and poor direction. At least Birdemic is entertaining to watch.

When my sister told me the plot (fairytale characters in the real world) I was intrigued to at least give at a try. I walked out of the room after about 10 minutes. She'll keep me informed about new characters to which my reply is "But they're not from a fairytale?". Iron Man will be featured on this show before long!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

That's It

Author: vandyke50 from London
12 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, I quit. Having suffered through season three I won't even bother trying to watch season four. I program has gone from silly to just plain dumb in my opinion. The Blue Screen effects are poor, seen better Blue Screen on some weather maps, the acting for the most part is awful, the story has become boring and story lines that even include Medusa which would make me think the writers are either teenagers or can't tell the difference between a Fairy Tail and mythology. The only thing missing now is including Superman and Ben Hur. It seems that A.B.C is so desperate for a hit show they will just keep flogging this dead horse.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Pretentious, commercial peace of crap

Author: Ilian Todorov
9 October 2013

For goodness sake couldn't they've used anything other than what Disney was already filmed, there are literally thousand upon thousand other fairy tales, but the minute they've used up the most popular ones they switch to Alice in wonderland and Peter Pan because those books are popular. And there are literally no bad guys, all characters are driven by true love or some other noble crap, no matter how despicable their actions are and how much they deserve their punishment they are always forgiven, doesn't anyone in this show heard the phrase "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" the evil queen deserved her punishment but she is forgiven the instant the annoying boy say "She is my mother" it doesn't matter that she killed the sheriff and tried to emotionally crush said boy in more than one occasion. The acting is above average but but anything more is suffocated by the poorly written plot and characters.

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40 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

"Disappointing" would be an understatement

Author: Jiji-3 from Bulgaria
21 November 2011

The pilot was intriguing. The concept can seem interesting - nothing groundbreaking, don't get me wrong, but this is a show in which there's no gratuitous violence, no sex and bare T&A, and no gore. Strangely enough, only one of the female characters is a porn star lookalike wearing remarkably skimpy clothing (Little Red Riding Hood in 4). This look is, as usual, unnecessary for plot/character development and has only been inserted to gratify male viewers. Nevertheless, prime time shows that don't rely on female nudity, blood & guts closeups, the glorification of violence or all of the above to get attention aren't exactly common so even without the "fairy tale characters exiled in the real world" premise (which is nice), at first glance Once Upon A Time could still vaguely feel somehow different, possibly original. Which it could have become, except it didn't.

The producers and screenwriters evidently decided that no actual effort was required to make the series successful. As such:

The actors, good as I know some of them are, seem strangely uninvolved - with their characters and with each other. Some of them (like Emma and Prince Charming, to name 2) have been miscast.

The characters feel flat (poor writing you can't expect actors to always be able to undo) so 4 episodes later I still don't care about anyone in particular. That's a problem considering the number of people to choose favorites (or most disliked antagonists) from.

The plots are slow, simplistic and predictable. The dialog ranges from average to mediocre, and I often find myself wondering if someone made a mistake that still hasn't been discovered, as a result of which a children's show (and a poor one at that) is being aired in Once Upon A Time's time slot 4 weeks in a row.

I don't think the potential the series had at the beginning is ever going to unfold - the people in charge clearly decided to rest on whatever laurels they think they possess, walk all over said potential, and settle for a low maintenance time waster. The thing is, they aren't going to waste any more of my time.

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41 out of 75 people found the following review useful:


Author: Kai Jensen
25 October 2012

I'm easily entertained. My ability for suspension of disbelief is usually good. I'm an open-minded viewer, and tend to find many excuses for bad choices made by the production/director/actors/writers. It's not easy to make a perfect show. But in Once Upon A Time's case, it seems they didn't even TRY to make it good. As a fan of fantasy, myths, legends, I really really wanted to like it, but the cheesiness was unbearable.

CONS: Dialogues, directing: a good compilation of clichés, if you're into that.

Story: soap opera meets fairy tales.

Characters: either flat or irritating, or both.

Acting: extreme sadness, despair, fear, inner conflict are indicated by raised eyebrows and watery eyes. Doubt, anger, medium sadness, worry, by a frown. Giancarlo Esposito's character seems to be the only one with actual thoughts and emotions.

PROS: Ruby is agreeable to look at.

If you enjoyed Van Helsing, The Brothers Grimm, even Jim Henson's Storyteller or Shrek, you'll be very disappointed. OUAT could be compared to the 10th Kingdom, without the funny moments.

If you're looking for a mix of old-school Disney and the Bold and the Beautiful, this is for you.

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45 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

Unsure whats with all the positive reviews...

Author: Spartan_420 from United States
14 January 2013

First of all I have watched every episode up to date hoping that the acting had to improve since it really couldn't get much worse, but I guess i was wrong. Everyone who is posting positive reviews must be on some serious drugs because it is awful. The plot is okay at best, but it is quickly descending. Snow white, the main character, is a joke, we spend majority of the episode making fun of her and her cheesy lines.

What upsets me the most and has encouraged me to come here and comment is all the users saying that this is one of the best shows of the year and of our time. The first season had something going and now it seems like they are making stupid things up as it goes. Only okay actors are rumplestilkin/Mr.Gold and the evil queen/Regina. So before wasting your time read my review.

Once upon a time is a complete fail compared to every other recent series and needs to be canceled to make room for better things. Putting this show up there with breaking bad, true blood, justified, walking dead, homeland, Dexter, and weeds is a such an insult. Please don't post comments if your are under 12 yrs old and like fairy tails so much that you completely disregard acting skill. Thank you very much and have a great day.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Sadly, this show has become childish and stupid

Author: krushmeat from New York City
3 November 2014

I used to look forward to watching this show. Now it's become so infantile, it's barely watchable. It's like someone at the top said, "let's make this more for kids", and they translated it to 'stupid kids'. Just as 'Once Upon A Time In Wonderland', the stupidity and childish nature of this show has pretty much done it in for me. Clearly the demographic that they're targeting is junior high school kids. Oh well. Goodbye Kitsis and Horowitz. I've enjoyed your creations before, but now they're simply banal. I guess you won't mind losing the intelligent portion of your audience, as long as you keeping setting your sights at the lowest common denominator.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

"Magic always comes with a price"

Author: Simon Bubach from Sweden
14 January 2012

This is a very innovative TV series. The evil queen wants her own happy ending, but "magic always comes with a price." It's a very clever idea, the whole series is made after that concept which makes it very unique.

All the characters are very likable except the little kid who can get a little too much sometimes. Occasionally, the series can be quite silly and goofy but I guess it is for it to be a family show but it feels stupid sometimes. But besides such trifles, it is a good television series that is exciting and fun.

It will be very exciting to see how the series continues. So far it has been very promising. One problem, however, (based on that it has been so successful) is that I'm not sure they have a good plan for a possible season two. I don't want this to become another television series that have a good first season but a bad second one.

Then finally, just to name Mr. Gold, he is easily my favorite character.

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