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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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91 out of 161 people found the following review useful:

once upon a time...an amazing show began.

9/10
Author: audrey-sondheimer
30 October 2011

to be honest i hate all that fantasy crap, like harry potter, twilight, true blood, and i also hate all the shows that nbc and abc brings to the table. But the other night I was bored and a re run of this was on and I thought what the hell, I'll give it a try. This show is mind blowing. I am officially addicted. There are some questions I have, as the whole present time vs story time doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But the end of the first episode got me so insanely hooked. This show is definitely better than grimm. I don't know how there going to make seasons out of this show, but I am very excited to see. I gave it a 9 only because I am a bit confused on who some of the present time characters are. But besides that, amazing.

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37 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Less Than Mediocre

4/10
Author: bbb515 from United States
18 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I want to start off by saying that I really wanted to like this show. However, by the 8th episode I realized that it was a big waste of time. I'm going to have to disagree with all of the other reviews comparing this series to Lost. For me, there is absolutely no comparison between the two. Even if the plot is interesting, most of the actors do not have the skills to pull it off. Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) gives an incredibly emotionless performance for someone who is abandoned as a child, and subsequently gives her own child away. Jared Gilmore (Henry Mills) tries, but I find their connection annoyingly lacking. With that said, I think Ginnifer Goodwin is pleasant in the role of Snow White. She was a good choice for this role, as she is accomplished as well as versatile. Goodwin gives off a sense of grace and purity essential for the character. The only other good part about this series is Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin)he is creepy and believable in both roles with is important when the performance from Parilla (Regina Mills/Evil Queen) is laughable.

I think this series had the potential to be great, but the casting was done so poorly, it will forever be less than mediocre in my book.

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47 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Promising

10/10
Author: sodhym from Turkey
30 October 2011

Great cast and a very promising pilot. It captures the essence of a classic fairy tale and incorporates it with a modern setting where the real and the imaginary merges.

To be sure, it does not have a dark atmosphere and if you're looking for one, this is not the show. But I think there are a lot of dark and gory shows out there, so this one looks fresh and deserves a try by anyone who likes fairy tales and fantasy.

The cast is great. It is clear that there is much effort in that section. I believe I watched Ginnifer Goodwin for the first time and I knew that Jennifer Morrison was in the show, so when I see Goodwin I though she was Morrison. This might be due to my ignorance about the actress, but given the story, the resemblance makes some sense. I don't know whether this is intentional though.

Overall, pilot is a 10, and I hope it will continue this way.

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48 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

Good concept, no punch

1/10
Author: ignazia from Canada NW
3 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The latter part of season 1 of this TV series was shown as a mini-marathon over the New Year holiday. After seeing the trailers and missing the original showing I was all geared up for several hours of wonderful fantasy.

What a let-down. The premise is good but it lacks something - like a cake that looks mouth-watering but was made without an essential ingredient. The only character that fully embraces his fairy-tale self and 'real-life' alter ego is Rumplestiltskin/Gold. All the other characters just float through their dialogue with no real sense that they are committing to either of their characters. Jennifer Morrison and Jared Gilmore try hard but don't get much help from the rest of the cast which makes everything they do fall flat.

Not a show I will be watching again hence the 1/10.

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76 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

If the premise appeals to you, stick with it!

10/10
Author: dtuttle from Seattle
21 October 2011

I love the premise of this. But there are some really poor scenes in the first half of the premier. The acting seemed bad, the script was uncomfortable, large parts of that section were very hard to swallow. The other half of the story where most of the action takes place is plausible, well acted, packed with emotional resonance and charming. It's also got a great dark side to it and the story doesn't hit you over the head by trying to explain every detail of what is going on. There are characters who I think I have figured out but I'm not certain, so I look forward to finding out. However I stuck with it and was rewarded with a marvelous overall premier and I'm looking forward to watching 1.2 right now!

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34 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Refreshing and out of the box

10/10
Author: brtomlinson from United States
1 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How refreshing to see a new show that isn't about courts, forensic science, lawyers or cops. I am keeping my fingers crossed this won't get the axe because it really is a cool twist on fairy tales. Your immediately drawn into this feeling of sympathy for the wicked queen who is scorned somehow (will find out more as the show goes on) by snow white and revenge is her only path. Then you go to a town where the cursed live and time has stopped. You slowly understand with flashbacks in time and why the queen did what she thought was her only path consequently a curse that has unknown origins at this time.

Then another twist is a bounty hunter who is contacted by her birth son that she gave up is the key to the whole mystery and the viewer is drawn into so many different worlds but still able to keep up is the key to unravel this well told mystery.

So sit back and just enjoy a well told story book tale without all the mind-numbing plot lines of so many television shows that all seem to have the same subject matter.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Jumps More Sharks than Evil Kinevil Jumped Buses

2/10
Author: Rob Astyk from United States
7 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a storyteller who's been immersed in folklore, myth and fairy tales since boyhood. The collected tales of the Brothers Grimm, Alexandr Afanas'ev and others over the last 2 centuries are the way we convey the wisdom, beliefs and ethics of the past to the present. That said, I'm not a purist. The Grimms' tales had been revised many times to make them comport with the prevailing religions and mores of the tellers' changing times. I dearly love re-imagined classic material such as Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves (1984) or Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). The only versions of such tales that I truly despise are the Disney versions. Give me Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) any day over the sickly sweet Disney version. That said, after a weak start, I tried with all my might to allow Once Upon a Time to grow on me.

I never watched Lost seriously. I found that show more pretentious and self-involved and just confused, never deep. I was always afraid this show would fall prey to similar script problems. Even so I had to give it a try.

That the first episode was weak isn't entirely a fault. The whole hour was exposition. We had to get from the story books to Storybrook before the real action could begin. The second episode actually had good transitions from past to present. I also wanted to be impressed the 3 main lead women.

And though I despise Disney-fication of fairy tales, I must say that turning Jiminy Cricket into a psychiatrist and a possibly corrupt one at that is a stroke of brilliance.

Ginnifer Goodwin's Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White isn't much of an actress sadly. She seems to have escaped directly from a senior class play onto the set of this show. I think it was Dorothy Parker who criticized Katherine Hepburn as having an emotional range of from A to B. Ms. Goodwin is much less gifted. Lana Parrilla's Mayor/Wicked Queen struts angrily about the set and snarls when she's not whining. She's neither wicked enough to be a wicked queen nor pathetic enough to gain sympathy. Her tragic back story is just a cliché. Ms. Parrilla needs a script and a verbal dope slap or two from her director if she doesn't give us a richer, more nuanced evil queen yet all she has is horrible, flaccid, clichéd writing. I knew that the show was in trouble when the writers' love affair with psychological; gobbledygook explained Lana Parilla's character as a poor, misunderstood victim of a more evil mother and thwarted love. I think the writers decided that she really does care for Henry and can't be all bad. But a fairy tale must have a focus of evil against whom all other must strive. Making Regina wishy-washy necessitates Barbara Hersey's Cora as the ultimate evil. Even this duplicative mess hasn't taught the scriptwriters a lesson and we're in danger of having Cora excused as an overwhelmed mom just trying to do right by her ingrate daughter.

I like Jennifer Morrison. Her Allison Cameron on House was one of a very few actors who weren't blown off the screen by Hugh Laurie. Her Emma Swan in the initial episode was one of the best things in the hour. However, she has no script worth playing and she's fallen into the trap of lazy actors who rely on standard expressions, mannerisms and deliveries if their directors aren't pushing them or they aren't pushing themselves. Unfortunately the writers haven't given her much with which to work. The crux of her problem is that there's just no chemistry between her and Jared Gilmore's Henry.

I've been a fan of Barbara Hersey's work for decades. Her best hope in this series is for Cora to find a quick death so that she escapes further embarrassment.

As for the men, what is Josh Dallas doing on camera at all? I understand that the show needed a pretty boy for Prince Charming he started the show in a coma and as far as I can see has never come out of it.

Robert Carlyle's Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold grabs the camera the moment he enters and holds it until his but too often descends into a lot of scenery chewing. Still even he can't work from the vast emptiness that passes for a script.

I've kept watching for about 2 and a half years hoping week in and week out that this show would grow into something extraordinary but I've given up. Just because these fairy tale characters are archetypes doesn't give license for them to be as flat as the pages of a story book. Rather it offers the opportunity to show us ourselves through them. The greatness of fairy tales is that they deal in absolutes. There is definite evil. There is definite good. Usually the hero or heroine of the story must make a journey of discovery from which he or she returns wiser, more mature and more powerful. Upon the main character's return he or she is equipped to overcome life's obstacles. There is precious little ambiguity. All clouds hanging over the characters clear and the couple, if there is one, can love "happily ever after" exactly because they have the experience to overcome difficulties that are far more petty than those they have already faced. Once Upon a Time founders about in a sea of ambiguity and bad writing and has just become unwatchable. It is infinitely less interesting than Grimm on NBC which also has far better writing. And it's a lot less go-for-broke exuberant and edgy fun than SyFy's Lost Girl. ABC needs to toll the bell, close the book and snuff the candle to exorcise this turkey from its roster even a second hour of the gawdawful America's Funniest Home Videos would be an improvement.

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30 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Unbelievable. In oh, so many ways...

2/10
Author: crunchykitten from United States
12 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This series is so jaw-droppingly bad, my mind was boggled by the dribbling accolades of other viewers. Then I saw a review that said something like, "If you were a fan of "Lost" just stay tuned! You'll LOVE it!!!!" (I may have left out a ! or two.) Of course, that reviewer was absolutely right. I've watched maybe a half dozen episodes, and the writers have changed the paradigm at least four times. That is, they used the now-famous "Lost" principle of fantasy writing: if you introduce enough confusing minor side plots, oddly compelling but ultimately pointless minor characters, ersatz "mysteries" and alarming character about-faces that have the main actors alternately weeping for their lost innocence and true loves and then ripping out and eating the raw hearts of infants - well then by gum, this is the show for you! But- and I do absolutely and personally guarantee this- you will NEVER see anything like a real plot resolution, because the writers and producers plan to throw so many complications into the mix that they think, and past experience has shown, that the fans are too dim to remember more than a few of the most glamorous or grisly, so however they end it, no one will care, and few will notice that in any way that matters, the whole thing just stunk on ice.

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31 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Well, it started out good...

3/10
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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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Time to say, "The End."

5/10
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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