Hippogriff's Aerie

Apparitions of Imagination

Pulling the Plug on Once Upon a Time

once upon a timeI had planned a post about Once Upon a Time, but after watching it last night, I’m calling it quits on this series. If there’s one thing that will kill a series for me (No Ordinary Heroes, Revolution, Terra Nova, Heroes), it’s writing characters as if they were idiots – poor decisions, poor dialog, drama just for the sake of drama. The shows I like, for the most part, have smartly written dialog, believable characters, action, and tension that is driven by that action rather than by drama.

Once Upon a Time, week after week, has had characters making poor decisions, showcasing their inability to communicate with one another, and using luck and magic as a deus ex machina to get characters out of the dumb decisions they’ve made. The show continues to rely on flashbacks to explain each week’s episode, which has become a distraction…I believe flashbacks are useful to illuminate character backstories, but should not be used to advance the plot. Flashbacks have become far too “trendy” for my tastes. We already know what has happened in the past, so the few new details being shared in these flashbacks do little to peak my interest.

The tipping point this week involved Regina (the Wicked Witch from Snow White). Now, while many of the characters have cause to hate her for her previous actions in the faerie realm, and also for the curse she laid on everyone, she also should have redeemed herself (in their eyes) by rescuing Snow White and Emma (Snow White’s daughter) when they were trapped in that realm. Not only would it be in everyone’s best interests not to turn her into an enemy again, but they act like she didn’t even help Snow White and Emma. These characters – Snow White, Prince Charming, the Dwarves, etc. – can’t even be “the bigger person” and give her a chance. So when she’s framed for a murder, everyone assumes she did it, without any proof. The writers have also conveniently forgotten that they gave Emma the ability to determine whether or not someone is lying during last season, but now she seems to have “lost” that ability, an inconsistency in writing the character.

In addition, it’s clear that Regina loves Henry, Emma’s son, who Regina raised when Emma gave him up as a baby…Regina never mistreated Henry when she raised him, yet Emma acts like Regina was a poor mother…a poor role model, perhaps, for her malicious acts, but never for mistreatment of Henry. It seems like Emma would want to give Regina every chance to prove her innocence, for her son’s sake. And finally there’s the actions of Regina herself, who knows she was framed, but does not use any magic or even do any of her own investigating to find out who framed her and why – she just sits around, doing nothing.

I originally liked the premise of the show – faerie tale characters trapped in our world – but poor writing and inconsistencies caused my interest to wan. It’s amazing that I stuck with it as long as I did. My time is better spent elsewhere, I’m afraid…

January 8, 2013 - Posted by | tv shows |


  1. I stopped watching right after season 2 started. For me, the whole tension of the show depended on the fairy tale characters NOT knowing who they really were. When – spoiler alert for season 1 – the curse was lifted and their memories came back, I thought “That’s a daring move. I’m curious to see where the writers are going now.” Unfortunately, my interest in the characters was completely lost. Everybody had their memories back, lost loves were rekindled, blah-blah-blah.

    Also, when Mulan showed up, the Disney-ripoff became way too obvious. Season 1 was already somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. From what you say about the characters’ decisions and the dialogue, I feel like I haven’t really missed much since then. It’s a sad thing because fairy tale mash-ups can be a lot of fun. Oh well, another show I don’t have to watch which leaves more time for Sherlock re-watching. 🙂

    P.S.: I really like the new features (TV, movies, etc.).

    Comment by Nadine | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  2. I pretty much agree with everything you said. The show is way to, well, “Disney-ish” now. I haven’t caught Sherlock yet, but I’m intrigued. I watch Elementary from time to time, but it seems too much like a rework of House. I do love me some Lucy Lui, though. And thanks for the feedback on the new features, wasn’t sure what people would think about it…

    Comment by hippogriff | January 10, 2013 | Reply

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