IMDb > "Once Upon a Time" (2011) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
"Once Upon a Time"
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany creditsepisode listepisodes castepisode ratings... by rating... by votes
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratings
Plot & Quotes
plot summaryplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 33:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]
Index 326 reviews in total 

43 out of 67 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.

Was the above review useful to you?

49 out of 80 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.

Was the above review useful to you?

53 out of 88 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.

Was the above review useful to you?

81 out of 144 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!

Was the above review useful to you?

16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Contains spoilers: A show ruined by "jumping the shark" with a gay sub-plot.

1/10
Author: frisco2007 from United States
18 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

CONTAINS SPOILERS: I'm writing this in regard to the show overall, and most of all because of the 4/18/16 episode, when the writers decided to throw in a lesbian plot line. For the record - I was pro-gay marriage before it was cool, and I have respect for everyone's rights. But - defying the subject and suitability - every show writer now thinks it's oh-so-cool to shove a lesbian sub-plot into a TV show, even if it sticks out like a sore thumb, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the characters, the subject of the show or it's style. ONCE is a show about fairy tale characters placed in the real world. It is about as suitable for a story about gay relationships as an episode of the Care Bears! Wrong subject, wrong theme, wrong plot, wrong characters, wrong style, wrong show. It's just bad art. And I am sick of people band wagoning onto gay subjects. If you want to make a show about gay issues, do so. You don't bring a specific subject like that up in the middle of a show which it has zero to do with. This is not a show about sexual orientation. So, don't bring in gay off-subject material. IT IS UNSUITABLE. And I am tired of the unsuitability. So, I changed my rating of this show to match it's writer's bad judgment. In any case - overall - the show has been getting more boring over the last 2 seasons, and the audience is painfully aware of that. That the writers would "jump the shark" and resort to a wild change of subject matter in a sad, obvious, desperate attempt to jazz up an increasingly declining show is just sad. And pathetic. And a major disappointment because I really looked forward to and respected this show up to season 3, and now, I'm just weary, and the straw that broke the camel's back is tonight's mis-application of gay issue subject matter. Tragic "jumping the shark" moment. I won't be watching anymore.

Was the above review useful to you?

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.

Was the above review useful to you?

19 out of 25 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.

Was the above review useful to you?

32 out of 53 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.

Was the above review useful to you?

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Loses plot per episode, goes literally nowhere

1/10
Author: SherbetDLemon
27 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am so surprised, and wary, of all the positive reviews. Maybe it's one of those troll phenomenons where bad product gets critiqued highly or maybe it's all based on the first season. Anyways...

As a viewer if you're looking for a TV show that challenges you and makes you think, you're at the wrong place.

As a viewer if you're looking for weak plots, weaker plots and weakest plots, congratulations.

I know what you're thinking, why did I consider a show based on fairy tales for intelligent TV viewing?

I hadn't. It was by complete chance that I stumbled upon the first episode and it intrigued me. The first season was done remarkably well but as with most shows the problem generally arrives after the first season.

Second season was made up of a lot of about-turns and the general tendency of this show is, if there is a snag in the storytelling, throw in more characters. The amount of irrelevant characters they put and pull: amazing. For that, I guess, we can give the writers credit. It does cause people to overlook how tedious the story progression is.

And as all shows, when nothing goes right, sprinkle romance.

Again, you might ask, why would I not expect romance in a show based on fairy tales?

Because it started out as a good adventure based show, I could actually see it turning it into the likes of Merlin where the focus is more on the fictional setup. By season 3 all their magical back-stories were, I don't know put on hold maybe, and they had 2-3 new guys for the love stories. There never was a chance to get invested in those love stories/triangles as they were sudden and lacking any emotional growth.

If they lose half the unneeded cast, try to find one story which the show can stick to, give the characters a break-free path to grow upon, this show might regain it's charm. Otherwise, well a lot of people liked Twilight (The similarities are uncanny when we compare twilight to the main lead Emma Swan's so-called romantic 'problems'), and I guess if this made it to fourth season, a lot of people like this too.

I have to admit I stopped caring around halfway season 2 but I still made myself watch till the end of season 3 because I kept feeling like this was such a wasted opportunity and oh this could have been so much more than a soap drama. I guess that's the only reason I care enough to write this review even though I'm not gonna continue watching it. It's just sad to see so much potential executed so badly.

Was the above review useful to you?

10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Meh

3/10
Author: rebbekcah
13 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only way I can describe this show is meh. The premise seemed promising but before the end of the first season, it turned into a fairytale soap opera for 12 year olds. Some of the little subplots were entertaining, such as Ruby/Red being the wolf but this only lasted an episode or two. I was torn between clawing out my eyeballs and falling asleep during all of the Snow/Mary Margaret and Prince/David crap, and the whole thing about Regina/Queen and Emma fighting over Henry got old really fast. The one part of the show that was worthwhile was Rumpelstiltskin/Gold. His character was amazing and he was the only reason I watched as much as I did. Overall, it was pretty cheesy and random, but I am giving three stars for Rumpelstiltskin/Gold.

Was the above review useful to you?


Page 1 of 33:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]

Add another review


Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Official site Plot keywords
Main details Your user reviews Your vote history