March 12, 2013

Better Late Than Never? Part #2 - Once Upon A Time

There are a few dramas on ABC which I did not watch from the beginning but suspect might be worth my time. In this series, "Better Late Than Never?" I watch a few episodes of a show and let you know what I think as a latecomer. Was I better late than never?

Part #2: Once Upon A Time

I joined this show in season 2, episode 15, "The Queen is Dead." I had high hopes, as I am a fan of all things fantasy. A world where multiple fairy tales collide sounded right up my alley.

Alas, my first impressions weren't very positive ones. I found that the acting was overdone, the effects were cheesy, and the plot moved incredibly slow. Soap opera slow. Here's a recap: The wicked stepmother and her mother sought out and eventually found Rumpelstiltskin's dagger, while the rest of the characters, who I gather are the good guys, tried to stop this from happening. I say "gather are the good guys" because I was inclined, as I watched this episode, to side with Regina, the wicked stepmother. This was primarily because Lana Parrilla delivers better than anyone else in the cast. Which is in itself confusing, because all of these stars are fine actors. This leads me to believe that the problem is with the writing. Take Sunday night's episode, "The Miller's Daughter," for example. How on earth was Jennifer Morrison supposed to deliver the joke about the invisible chalk without sounding corny? "I drew the invisible line - I think." Really? Episode 16 was supposed to be a big one, judging by how ABC marketed it. They got all #OneWillDie hashtag happy.
Frankly, I wasn't very concerned about the impending death. I was too distracted by the spinning wheel scene - à la Ghost. Was it supposed to be evil and frightening? Sexy? Whatever. The plot device that characters can live with their hearts outside their bodies was equally distracting. Because I'm not sure why that worked, I'm also not exactly sure why or how Cora died.

What I missed as a latecomer: Everything, it seems! But most importantly, the timeline. It was difficult to follow what was happening in the present and what was a flashback. (Or are they flashing sideways? This is, after all, another show from the writers/producers of Lost - but not the ones you'd remember - this guy and this guy.) While the exposition delivered in Lost's flashes back or sideways serves to further the plot, these fairy tale flashes in Once Upon A Time only serve to slow it down. The timeline was made even more confusing by the fact that four women who looked to be not fifteen years apart on age are, in fact, four generations of the same family. (Am I wrong, OUAT fans?) 

The Verdict: Better Late Than Never?
No. It seems you had to watch this show from the beginning in order to appreciate it. If I had, I might love it. But I don't think I'll watch Once Upon A Time again. Especially since it's up against The Amazing Race, which makes for a more relaxing Monday morning eve.


  1. Great series concept! Nice review, too.

    1. Thanks, Brittania! Another "Better Late Than Never?" is still to come!