ONCE Upon A Time Episode 1 Review

When you add all the pieces together, this is an excellent television series. A brilliant and innovative concept, created by two writers of the critically acclaimed show Lost, and with a wealth of talented actors ranging from Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) to Jennifer Morrison (House). At least, that’s what it should have added up to.

What happens when all the happy endings from all the fairytales suddenly get taken away, with all the fairytale characters sent to a horrible place (our world) where there are no happy endings and no one remember who they really are?

“Nothing very interesting” is sadly the answer. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t get past the first minute, it is so boring. It starts at the smart and logical point, considering the story they set up: the ending of Snow White, where Prince Charming rides in and kisses his pale love interest back to life. Except, if we’re to assume they both just went through the most trying ordeal in their life, there would have been a lot more emotion to the scene. And “saying goodbye” wouldn’t consist of a boring kiss and her immediately waking up. Take a clue from Patrick Dempsey, dude. He rocked that moment in Enchanted.

And then they’re married, the Wicked Witch crashes and says shit’s gonna go down, and yada yada yada. What we end up getting is essentially Lost, except the flashbacks is where the sci-fi stuff happens instead of the present. With obvious (read: unoriginal) transitions between the two story lines, horrible–yes HORRIBLE–visual effect, very mediocre lines being pushed through the character’s mouths, and even some bad acting from actors we know are talented elsewere, it’s no wonder I kept checking how much time was left in the episode. The story, unfortunately, is paper thin. But wait, let me explain.

In the fairytale land, the characters do for a whole episode what would have been 10 minutes at most in a well handled movie or tv show. Back in the real world, they take just as much time roping the daughter of Snow White into coming to live in Storybrooke, home of the amnesiac fairytale characters, through her given-up-for-adoption and kinda weird son. Are the writers afraid they’ll run out of story if they pack their episodes with plot? At least it would have caused them to breeze faster past the stale plot they were serving us.

I know action can work on television. Even though it’s nothing groundbreaking in the two episodes I’ve seen, Nikita is a show that can nail an action scene as good as the big boys in Hollywood. But the fight scenes in Once Upon A Time are lackluster at best, mainly because of the poor cinematography–which, by the way, will randomly zoom around characters like the moment is important when it’s not. Some might see this as sad, but they really need to take a page from the camera crew on Glee. Check it out for yourself. That show’s on Netflix, too.

Are you guys tired of me bashing on Once yet? Because I was about 3 paragraphs ago, but continued on because this wouldn’t be much of a review if I just said “it was bad.” You guys deserve to know why. But I’m really left wondering: how did that show keep upwards of 11 million viewers an episode in it’s first season? I can’t believe it’s just the added benefit for viewers at being able to point and say “ooh, ooh, that’s supposed to be Little Red Riding Hood.” So I guess I might watch a couple more episodes just to see if they finally bring the A game.

If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something you might want to go to after you exhaust all the really good stuff you want to see. It can wait. There are better things on Netflix.

And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

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For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

Strangely, the Blu-ray is $2 cheaper than the DVD. If you’re looking for an excuse to pick up that well-priced Blu-Ray player you’ve been eyeing.