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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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38 out of 69 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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41 out of 75 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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7 out of 8 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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7 out of 8 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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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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10 out of 14 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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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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25 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Super cheese feast .

Author: dhvn001 from United States
29 February 2012

The show has a promising premise , but that's about it. There's plenty of miscasts, overacting, and bad scripts to be found. After a few episodes, certain characters like the mayor and Emma really gets on your nerves with their grating personalities. Everyone seems to spend too much time arguing and plotting soap opera style. I wish the plot has better pacing and more depth. Poor Robert Carlyle, he deserves so much better. It's like seeing Kenneth Branagh in Wild Wild West. I wonder how big of a budget this show has? The scenery, costumes, and special effects all seem to be on the cheap side. It just makes the fantasy elements of the series feel underwhelming.

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26 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Falls short from its potential.

Author: Krista T from United States
12 January 2013

First of all, I love a good fantasy or fairy tale movie/TV show. I somehow made it through 12 episodes of this show before I finally decided that any glimpse of grandeur were just that- a glimpse.

You follow the main actress who is the obnoxious reformed bad girl who gave up her son for adoption ten or so years ago, who is now just as obnoxious as she is. The adoptive mother is the evil queen, and her main role in the current day Storybrook is to tell the aforementioned bad girl to leave HER son alone. Bad girl doesn't listen because her new relationship with her son makes the storyline plod around.

Every character in Storybrook had a past life as a fairy tale character and every episode will retell the story of at least one of these folks in a new way, mostly they seem to be prequels to where most stories start off. They were trying to be fresh with their renditions, the mini plots are way too simple to have any drama to keep you hooked, so I am guessing that the people who LOVE this show are either preteens without standards or are easily distracted by fancy special effects/ Red's crazily inappropriate uniform for the café that she works for. Oh and for some reason it takes all 12 episodes that I watched for Snow White and her prince charming to finally quit beating around the bush and get together in the modern day. This show would definitely have benefited from taking inspiration from the early seasons of Desperate Housewives in terms of how to drive a dramatic romance.

Be prepared to role your eyes at the shenanigans that the characters pull seemingly without any consequences. Character development is minimal, except for Mr. Gold/Rumpeltiltskin or however his name is spelled. I'm pretty sure that he is the main reason I watched as far along as I did, and I seriously hope that he screws everyone over in the end. Another interesting character was one that the queen killed off early on in the most original plot of the entire first season as far as I am concerned, so now it is up to Mr. Gold to carry the shoddy and predictable plots/acting of everyone else. Yes, I am aware that there is a second season so my review is way behind the times,I seriously hope that they pulled a Harry Potter and chose a new director for the new season.

As far as a fairy tale mixer that I think is worthwhile, check out The 10th Kingdom. It dos something similar with the modern day getting an unexpected visit from fantasy land. While both are original, at least 10th Kingdom doesn't fall flat.

Two stars for Mr. Gold.

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32 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Well, it started out good...

Author: kaiky4 from United States
4 March 2013

I had the highest of hopes for this show. It started out so well and the idea was solid. Now that season 2 is almost over, I've lost any enchantment the show had over me. The characters get dumber and dumber. Their actions no longer make any sense and fall so out of line with what any sane person would do in the situations they're put in, that it's almost not watchable any longer. Since I'm a a Lost fan, I'm going to hope the writers start to make these characters more watchable. I'm trying my hardest to stick with this show. But I won't lie, at this point, I don't care if the whole cast of good guys die off. They're too dumb to live.

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