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"Once Upon a Time"
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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant!

Author: SpiritedAngel from United Kingdom
23 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually found this on my IMDb list of recommended things to watch. Id never heard of it before, and thought it sounded interesting so I watched the pilot and was hooked as soon as I saw Robert Carlyle' performance as Rumpelstiltskin.

The story line is well thought out, and the cast is amazing. Id never heard of half of them but Ill definitely be watching some more of their work, they are all brilliant.

I was so upset in episode 7, when Graham died. When he started getting his memories back, I really wanted him to help Henry and Emma break the curse; and secretly maybe I wanted Graham and Emma to get together as well, they would have been so good together. I've watched this episode so many times now, and every time it gets to that part I wish I could change things. Where is Rumpelstiltskin when we need him?

All in all, this is a brilliant show, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new twist to all our favourite fairy tales.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

One of the best shows I've seen in a while.

10/10
Author: Nicholas Sommerby from United States
29 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a huge fantasy nerd, and I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with Fairy Tales. One of my favorite mini-series ever is the 10th Kingdom. So it should be no surprise that when I saw talks for Once Upon a Time, I was very interested to see where it was going to go.

I have to say, I'm very impressed with it so far. The pilot for the show was outstanding, and the episodes beyond have been nothing short of amazing as well. There've been some stale episodes with very little progression here and there, but what show doesn't have at least one or two of those?

Lana Parilla as Regina/the Evil Queen was a fantastic choice. I've seen many different interpretations of the evil queen, and she's by far my favorite. She's crafty, devious, and there are plenty of moments that you can see her trying to fight some of her more human emotions such as jealousy and sadness.

Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin was also a brilliant choice. He plays the subtle but crafty Mr. Gold very well, leading characters on without them even realizing it. And he plays the zany, few screws loose Rumplestiltskin in the fairy-tale world equally well. Along with the EQ, Rumplestiltskin is by far one of my favorite characters on the show.

Ginnifer Goodwin is definitely my favorite Snow White I've seen pop up this year against contenders Kristen Stewart and Lily Collins. No, the movies with those two haven't already come out yet, but already based on the trailers, Ginnifer Goodwin is definitely the fairest of them all. As Mary Margaret, she's got the gentle, sweet, and shy side that we all know and love Snow White for. As the actual Snow White, she's a very strong female that can take care of herself quite well (But still caring to the point of lying to the Prince to save his life).

Other characters are starting to amaze me with their origin stories, and I can only imagine that this show will continuously go on the amazing path that it has already laid out for itself. This show is definitely a must watch. It has everything you could want: comedy, romance, drama, action/adventure, fantasy, you name it, this show has it! Well, aside from maybe futuristic/sci-fi robot-pirate unicorns from outer-space, but that's just silly to ask for that in a fairy-tale story.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Started off Promising But Quickly Lost its Way

4/10
Author: A MH from United States
26 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This show started off great because it had mystery. It was so interesting to see each character unfold...

I love the portrayal of the evil queen, but her path to redemption has been poorly done. I blame this mostly on the writers, who seem to favor her character too much and have given a blind eye to her past misdeeds. Her romance with Robin Hood is the worst on the show because of their lack of chemistry and his inconsistent personality. Not to mention, why pick such a homely actor to be the sexy evil queen's boyfriend? Certainly she could do better.

Emma Swan was also a good character in the beginning because of her strong, no-nonsense, independent personality. Then the show took a turn for the worst by shoving her zero-chemistry romance with Captain Hook in our face. Okay, perhaps they have chemistry but her flirtations with Pinocchio, Graham and Neal were far more interesting...

Snow White aka Mary Margaret was also a great character that got sidelined in Season 4 and beyond. Her character was kick-ass in seasons 1 and 2 but became this whiny woman who dressed in grandma's wardrobe in Season 4 and beyond. If I was Ginnifer Goodwin I would be uncomfortable with the evolution of my character. Some people think Ginnifer is a terrible actress, and while she may not be the best, is certainly not given great writing to work with.

Prince Charming aka David, is one of the weaker links of the show because of the actor's boring performance. I guess Prince Charming is a pretty vanilla character, but seriously give this guy more edge, please...and why couldn't they have chosen a hotter guy?

Rumplestiltskin aka Mr. Gold, is one of the highlights of this show. His character's background is interesting and you root for him despite his many flaws. His relationship with Belle was at first interesting but soon felt unnatural.

All in all, this show has strayed off the path it initially was on. I liked the mystery, the focus on the main characters story lines, and the intrigue of the first season. The emphasis on the forced romances that now occur on the show has detracted from the main idea of feisty independent women kicking ass alongside or against men.

I understand that things have to change for shows to stay on air, but this is not the way to go.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Like a hurricane: exciting at first, but ends in disaster.

5/10
Author: Seán Mac Queen
4 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first season had me hooked. The second season kept me hooked. The third season lost me about halfway in when they butchered Peter Pan's origin. He was a cool villain until they rehashed the whole deadbeat dad back story with him. First it was Rumple, then it was Neal, now it's Pan? Nothing original anymore. And for a show about fairy tales, I don't seem to recall any of them including Greek Mythology. And now they want to capitalize on the success of Disney's Frozen? Yeah, sounds like they'll need it, because both Peter Pan and the Wicked Witch from Oz were crap. The entire third season needs to be rebooted, because I feel like the writers got too cocky and lazy. The whole show is ruined now.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Show being milked to death

6/10
Author: abbie0315 from United States
21 November 2013

I enjoyed this show tremendously when it first came on. It was fast moving with good characters. Over time it kept getting better. Each week was a new fairy tale character or story.

The characters themselves found their niche and kept you interested in not just the storyline but the actual character. The interaction between the Dark One, the Wicked step mother and Emma got better each week.

That is until recently, when the brains behind the show realized they have a good show with a limited storyline. Now the story barely moves. Each individual fairy tale just drags on from one episode to the next.

It seems they are slowing things down and milking the show to get more out of it. Fairy tale stories used to end within an episode but now last multiple episodes. I stopped watching after the third episode with Peter Pan where nothing happened. The entire Peter Pan saga could have been done over two, maybe even three episodes, but this is ridiculous.

A better move would have been to let the story line progress and come to a natural end then continue with spin-offs.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Magic Is Gone

2/10
Author: faerietale13 from United States
18 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Of the many things that really bother me about Once Upon A Time, what frustrates me the most is that I don't think the writers (or producers or whoever comes up with the concept for each episode) understand why people like stories in general, and fantasy in particular. Maybe some people watch classic Disney movies or read Harry Potter because they like the novelty of someone waving a wand and making things go poof!, but I like to think that I'm not alone in loving these kinds of stories because they inspire me.

The basic premise of the show is awesome: the Wicked Queen from Snow White curses all the characters from Disney's animated collection to live in the real world, the idea being that the real world is a mundane and sad place to live. That turns out to be all too true, as the portions of the show that take place in the modern-day town of Storybrook (cute, right?) walk such a fine line between boring and infuriating that I punch things in my sleep.

When OUAT first came on-air it seemed like an opportunity to make classic stories relevant again. Yeah, I love old Disney movies, but they tell incredibly compact versions of stories with a lot of untapped potential, and they feature tons of opportunities to create awesome character arcs. What OUAT did with its dependence on Disney stock was keep all the silly details from the movies that nobody cares about--Chip from Beauty and the Beast plays a laughably big role in one episode (made all the more ridiculous by the fact that he's not even a magical talking teacup in this version of the story); True Love's Kiss is apparently Magical Penicillin; we hear the Genie of the Lamp is from Agraba--while forgetting everything that actually made the movies inspiring.

Take the Storybrook version of Snow White. Snow White's name basically lays out her personality for us: she is pure and utter goodness--except, apparently, when she has an affair with the married version of Prince Charming. The only way her character could get any unrecognizable would be to have her accidentally get pregnant--but that, the writers save for Cinderella.

But even if you can forgive the questionable decision that "gritty rebooted fairy tale" = creating bizarre portrayals of classic characters, it's much harder to shrug off their decisions, which are so bad they make Snow White eating the apple look brilliant by comparison. Far and away the worst of these decisions is one that almost all the fairy tale characters share: if you have a problem, strike a deal with the devil. In this case, the devil is Rumpelstiltskin, a character whose magic powers make Merlin look like a pansy and whose sliminess makes Gollum look trustworthy. Yet, every character's problem, no matter how laughably trivial, can only be solved by the one person in fairyland who everyone absolutely knows they can't trust. Thanks to Rumpelstiltskin, Jiminy Cricket inadvertently turns two people into marionettes because he needed help to get away from his parents. Keep in mind that Jiminy is a grown man, presumably fully capable of telling his parents that he's moving out, but for some reason he couldn't manage it without nefarious magical aid.

This basic plot of characters going to Rumpelstiltskin to fix their problems, only to have it blow up in their faces, repeats itself so many times that you'd think people in fairyland would've learned to just grow up and improve their lives themselves. But then again, that would require ingenuity on the part of the characters and of the show's writers, something that is clearly asking too much.

For all the references to true love and magic, OUAT falls completely flat. Nothing in any of the show's numerous romantic sub-plots convinces us that we are witnessing the birth of true love. Magic is portrayed either as a gimmick (I'm thinking of the awful "fight" scene between the Queen and Maleficent) or a plot device (Prince Charming has to go on a pointless quest to get magical water), but it never instills a sense of wonder or even excitement. The dialogue is mostly insipid, with old- timey language thrown in whenever the writers want to remind you either that you're watching a fairy tale or that this show is really bad. As for the acting and set design and general production value, honestly, I was too busy being appalled by the terrible storytelling to notice it one way or another.

In the sense that traditional Disney characters seem to depend almost exclusively on magic, Once Upon A Time does stay true to the source material. But, again, it misses the point of most of those stories: love isn't the cure-all in and of itself, but it drives us to accomplish things that seem impossible. Loving someone that you can't have is painful, but that doesn't condone having an affair. Fairy tales are supposed to inspire us to be stronger, nobler, and more loving. Once Upon A Time had the chance to embrace the idealism of fairy tales by grounding the stories in relate-able scenarios: instead, it showed us that even idealized characters are corrupted by our world.

And that is the opposite of what fairy tales are supposed to do.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

too much idiocracy to keep the show go on.

4/10
Author: nicebigben from US
9 June 2014

I started following the show (from season one) a short while ago and I'm now towards the end of season two. Season one was interesting. I mean the original idea was very good and the mix-and-match of fairy tale characters was cool. But starting from season two, it's going down hill with too much idocracy and stupidity flying around. I mean how can the writers possibly think some of the plots even make any kind of sense.

The first half of season two is all about living a normal live with someone who constantly says (and act) that she will kill you. Saying good morning and having breakfast at the same diner with someone whom you know for sure is doing something to kill you and then yea sure, let's get a coffee and think later when you actually have everything in place and at my doorstep to kill me. And then hey, when you are at my doorstep, I cannot run and I cannot fightback because if I hurt you when I'm fighting back, then I'm a bad person. But keep saying that - we cannot lose and be defeated. Season two is about repeatatively playing that sequence over and over again.

And then now I just came across a Taser killer who kill a man that looks like from out of this world and can fly and have red smoke coming out of his nose but instead of playing fireball or flying away... flew in front of someone with a taser in hand and stand there and actually "be killed" ... ridiculous.

Plots like this are all over in season two and I think you should just stop after watching season one.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

It Only Gets Better

10/10
Author: JayJay_13 from Australia
17 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Once Upon A Time had me at hello. The very first promo that graced my TV, together paired with the song 'Rescue Me' had grabbed me.

Season one started off with a bang. Already displaying well-developed characters and plot- lines set in place so there was no where for a viewer to get lost. There was the initial fear that this show would be cliché, but on the contrary, they aimed to do the exact opposite an I was pleasantly surprised with how they portrayed the fairy tales we watched or read as children. Dark twists are in every corner and there is always an unexpected element

Season two, admittedly. took a rather slow start with the first 5 episodes. I think the problem was that they we're trying to cram too many story-lines and way too much information into them. New characters were introduced and this seasons consistency for good vs. average episodes was a bit of a give and take game. Nevertheless, it ends with a bang and a promising look towards season 3.

Season three, so far, is climbing it's way back into viewers hearts. The writers chose to do something a little different with the show, now that they had essentially resolved the towns Evil Queen/Curse problem. Season 3 has sort of divided it's self Cleverly into two story-lines. 3A, we're introduced to the story of Peter Pan & Neverland, and unlike previously, like with Cinderella or Pinocchio, the story is explored for more than one or two episodes, making the show much more intriguing. 3B will focus on The Wizard Of Oz and so far is proving to be my favorite storyline yet.

Overall, Once should be watched not only for the incredibly imaginative writing (Shout-out to Adam & Eddy!), but also for the incredible cast. Jennifer Morrison, who portrays Emma Swan, has reduced me to tears more times than I can count. The entirety of the cast, including young Jared Gilmore, who plays Henry, have an incredible knack for making their characters believable in order to draw emotions out of their viewers. Which I imagine must be very hard to do in a show based on fairy tales. You might not take the idea of the show seriously, but once you start watching, you'll wonder why you put it off. None of the characters, you should know, are completely evil or completely good. Which is just very reason the why this show isn't the cheese-fest it could have had a danger of being.

I can't understand why so many are saying this show has gotten worse with time. If anything, it's just beginning! The first few seasons are always questionable in any TV show (Lord knows Breaking Bad was hard to get into at first), but I promise Once Upon A Time does not disappoint (Apart from the CGI. Though not many TV shows have a big enough budget for it anyway, so I give them leeway on that one small flaw)

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Love this show so much

10/10
Author: m-willis4 from United States
17 March 2014

This is the best show on TV I mean this is like my weekend I look forward to a new episode all week. I love it so much I hope there is 20 seasons. Regina (Lana parrilla) is so awesome such a good actor. Eddy and adom are so creative. All the characters are great. I hope Pinocchio is on again. I hope we see more of Regina's back story and her in her castle being evil. I hope we see more of rumple and belle. I love this show so much best show on TV I own all the seasons. I got my whole family started in this show at first they said ehh just fairy takes but them started watching it and couldn't take there eyes off of the screen. They all like me gold but I think Regina is just amazing on the show.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Cheese Factor 10

2/10
Author: GenerationSilverScreen from Canada
8 September 2013

I have a very big problem with shows that don't have a clear identity, and Once Upon A Time is one of them. Simply put, Once Upon A Time is too cheesy for anyone over fifteen and often incorporates themes too dark for under-seven-year-olds. So what audience is Once Upon A Time trying to appeal to, exactly?

To be fair, I loved the premise of the show. I thought it was clever, mostly original, had a very intricate story-line and was well put together. Underneath that, though, I was constantly bothered by unspeakably cheesy character names, cringe-worthy dialogue, sappy music, and a confusing half light, half dark tone. I made it through two seasons, but looking back on it, I wonder how managed it and more importantly, why I bothered.

What do I think would have made this show better? If it had picked to go either much darker and realistic or much lighter and surrealistic, instead of weirdly in between.

a) Once Upon A Time should have focused on the darker elements of its story and gone the older-children-to-adult route. The atmosphere should have been moodier, more realistic, with sharper, more clever dialogue, more serious music and way less of that Disney-type feel.

b) Or, Once Upon A Time should have played up the light elements of the story and aimed for the ten-and-under-with-parents audience. The atmosphere should have been less serious, even more magic-focused, brighter in setting and themes, and with a hint of Disney's fairy-tale style comedy.

But what happens when the show gets caught between dark and light tones? Firstly, it results in some of the cheesiest dialogue I've ever heard. Also, the writers have no idea how "evil" to make the villains, since they don't know which age group they should be dealing with, which means characters (especially antagonists) tend to lose and gain personality traits whenever the plot demands it- until they are all very much OOC. I really did want to like this show, but I now get the sense that they couldn't decide if I, the audience, should be a kid or an adult. And after two seasons of cheesy writing and tone-confusion, not even magic can save my interest in Once Upon A Time.

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