Once Upon a Time (2011– )
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What made it worse was that the ending of season 6 was clearly written as an ending of the show, but some producers who sit on the money-tab purely went by numbers and renewed the show for another season, because of its success.
Thereafter the story went totally downhill: The former quaint village was replaced by a materialistic rough city with lots of concrete - the characters (which likely were already be sacked at this point and were doing other projects) were written out, so that from season 7 on we get a total new storyline which much better should have been turned into a separate offspring series.
They made the same mistake which was made with the Matrix by adding part 2 & 3 which only watered down the original spiritual message.
So please next season - improve acting, improve story line, be a bit more original, and get some good actors, seriously !
Season 5 was a mess, a drawn out convoluted mess, and it just stopped being fun. It was downhill from there, and season 7 is just a different, inferior show sadly.
Now the series is at season 7, and I am still hooked. Season 7 was a bit slow to start, testing the patience of its audience--but now that we're at episode 10 of season 7, I can say that it was worth the wait. Seeing everything unfold as it has the last few episodes makes up for the slow start.
I am also extremely pleased that Adelaide Kane has been added to the cast. She is my favorite actress, and after her previous show, 'Reign', was canceled, I have been having Adelaide withdrawals, lol. She is a stunning young lady, but also (fortunately) a very talented actress, so she's not on the screen just for looks as opposed to some other actresses.
Lana Parilla never ceases to blow me away with her performances, and I'm really excited that her role in the series continues to grow and progress with new story lines.
With the addition of Adelaide and a few other actors/actresses and a host of entirely new story lines, I am more eager than ever to see each new episode, week after week.
There are 2 things that make this show work - that makes or break any show really. The first is the writing. The story, though not groundbreaking whatsoever, is interesting; the story has a flow and rhythm, with convincing backstory and motivations that move the story forward at a steady pace.
And the characters; most of the characters have good backstories that tie well with the overarching storyline. The best stories of great heroes, all have equally great villains and Once Upon A Time have 2 of them. This modern imagining of Rumplestiltkin as well as the Evil Queen are delicious. Both wonderfully narrated and fleshout characters.
And we come to the second reason that makes Once Upon A Time works; the players. To be honest, most of the actors here are played with competence but nothing more, with 2 exceptions. Lana Parilla is quite good as Regina, believable as the vengeful witch as well as loving mother and both sides of Regina is instrumental in the advancement of the plot. Her trick as I noticed, is her eyebrows and voice. When she's bad, her voice and eyebrows dip downward and when she's good, her voice and eyebrows lift upward. It's simplistic but effective.
But the main star of the show must be Robert Carlyle as the devious, cunning, manipulative, slimy, greasy, charming and endearing Rumpelstiltskin. Horowitz and Kitsis crafted a beautifully flawed character and Carlyle brought him to life in the most nuance way. I daresay that as the story furthers, you'll more likely to want Rumpelstiltskin to win, even when he's being bad.
ABC has a habit of producing trash shows but Once Upon A Time manages to be highly palatable. So, if you're in the mood for an entertaining piece of fluffy trash, this is trash of the gourmet kind. Recommended.
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.
So what was it that made the earlier seasons of 'Once Upon a Time' so good? First and foremost, it is a very handsomely mounted show, with settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully and there were some make-up that suited the characters perfectly and pretty good effects work, at their best fantastical. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.
The writing was humorous, poignant, suspenseful and altogether clever, while the story-lines were ceaselessly compelling and fun and layered to watch. Also doing a great job with the development of the characters, which in the earlier seasons felt like real characters with relatable conflicts, far more than archetypes. It was also a sheer delight spotting and recognising them, a huge part of the fun.
'Once Upon a Time's' actors have always made the most of what they're given, regardless of the material, and a lot of it is very good. Outstanding in the cases of Robert Carlyle, Lana Parilla, Jared Gilmore and Ginnifer Goodwin as four of the show's more interesting characters. Jennifer Morrison grew into her role.
Unfortunately something happened later on, 'Once Upon a Time' lost its magic and there was a real sense that it had run out of ideas. Have never had a problem with the actors, the music or most of the production values. The problem is the writing, which at its worst was so poor that giving up on the show was seriously considered but stuck with it for fairness and curiosity's sake.
It was sad that such layered and clever writing before became cheesy and shallow later on, and that the stories became repetitive and convoluted. Not to mention downright strange in some of the subplots, some didn't feel resolved enough and others didn't make sense or add much to the show. The characters lost their nuances and what made them so easy to relate to and fun, character decisions also became odd and even illogical.
Have said that most of the production values have remained good. Still think that but over-time the visual effects have become less than special and at their worst pretty ropy.
Overall, a very uneven show. Started off truly great but now, especially the most recent season, feels like a completely different show altogether. 6/10 Bethany Cox
This show is about the story, connected to fairy tales, and about several wonderful characters, and they initially manage to tell a very entertaining story on that with very little CGI and on, what seems like, a low budget. But when you've seen them take the same road for the 10th time and when the storytelling get less compelling as time pass, the show is not so fun anymore. I wish they'd taken another path with this show, but yes for kids this works. I give this a 4, which feels slightly low, but I cannot convince myself it deserves better.
but I can't stand the loud soundtrack which makes it hard to hear the actors, I don't know if there is somewhere that i could bring this up with creators or who els is responcible for mixing the sounds , I have been watching this on TV from the first season and it has been difficult to concentrate on diologs .
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.
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!