Once Upon A Time Makes Good On Its Promise of No Happy Endings

Well, we haven’t been this disappointed since high school prom night.

We had such high hopes for ‘Once Upon A Time’ – and, hope is something you need to have, or so they drilled into our heads repeatedly over an hour. The sweeping panoramas and scenery shots in the opening scenes made us giddy with excitement. Even Snow White’s glass coffin was a work of art worthy of the big screen.

Sadly, that’s about where the love affair ended – one minute in. It seemed like they blew their budgetary load in the first two minutes of the show, only to fill the other 58 minutes with mediocre special effects – we’re looking at you blue fairy.

The exact moment that we checked out of caring about anything going on was when Prince Charming opened his mouth and yelled “HEY!” to the evil witch. He sure told her. Seriously, they couldn’t have used something a little more period appropriate like “HALT!”? In fact anytime he said anything he either sounded like a half-wit or giant pussy. We’re pretty sure they meant for him to be the ultimate romantic, but we are fans of the stereotypical Prince Charming – says very little, vanquishes witches and saves the kingdom.

Having seen both of the premieres for the fairy tale shows this fall, one of them has clearly taken its place as the winner…and it was not the one we thought it was going to be. ‘Once’ has practically failed in every single way that ‘Grimm’ has excelled.  Where ‘Grimm’ was more subtle and used background imagery to remind us that we were watching a show about fairy tales, ‘Once’ delighted in beating us over the heads with the terms “Happy Endings” and “Hope” and “True Love’s Kiss”.

Both of the main characters are able to see people for who they are instead of who they pretend to be. In a casual back and forth with his partner, ‘Grimms Nick Burckhardt reveals to the audience that he can read people from a far. ‘Once’s Emma Swan flat-out tells the audience within the first five minutes that her “superpower” is knowing when someone lies to her. Nick’s ability is a key element in the over all plot of the show while Emma’s is a weak device to keep the lurching plot going.

Since we’re on the subject of characters, ‘Once’ has shockingly flat characters for something based on beloved children’s stories. There was absolutely no back story to any of them. When you have a character who’s credit is simply “Evil Queen”, you really need to flesh that out, especially since bitter, vengeful stepmothers and witches are a fairy tale staple. Not only are they written as one-dimensional and bland, to make matters worse every woman on the show look exactly the same. How can a magic mirror even tell who the fairest of them all is?!

To complete the trifecta of failure in character development, the earth-realm names on ‘Once’ make no sense and have no relation to their fairy tale world personas. Snow White is transformed into Mary Margaret Blanchard. And perhaps worst of all, Evil Queen is turned into simply, Regina. Enemy number one doesn’t even warrant a last name. The closest they come to making any sense is the lame Archie Hopper for good old Jiminy Cricket. At least ‘Grimm’ manages to honour the source material by giving their main character a Germanic last name.

Even though ‘Grimm’ is focusing on the more macabre and frightening side of the original Grimm Brother’s stories there is still an element of humour throughout the episode. One of the elements we like the most was reformed Big Bad Wolf, Eddie Munroe, who gives the show an added element of hilarity. There wasn’t a single moment worthy of even a giggle in ‘Once’. The show is based on the more romantic and whimsical side of fairy tales and yet they seem to be taking it way too seriously.

Once the credits began to roll on ‘Grimm’ we immediately launched into speculation on what was going to happen with the characters and where the story line is going to head. We want to know more about what happened to Nick’s parents. We are curious to see if he will propose to Juliette. And who are the “Reapers of the Grimms”? As ‘Once’ ended we felt a sense of relief more than anything. The premiere barely held our interest and seemed more like an hour’s worth of fluff and filler. All we could talk about was how terrible and unsatisfying it was. We could care less what happens to anyone on that show, in this realm or the other.


About surlygurls

We’re two SurlyGurls brought together by a love of all things awesome and an equal hate of all things which are an affront to awesomeness everywhere.

Posted on October 25, 2011, in OPINION, PREMIERES, RANT, REVIEWS, TELEVISION, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Alas, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on “Once Upon A Time.” I haven’t seen “Grimm” yet, though but have high hopes for it. If “Once” is going to give me drama, I want “Grimm” to scare the crap out of me!

  2. I think the plan is to use the flashbacks as a way to fill in the back story as things progress in modern times simultaneously. Remember, the “modern” incarnations of these people are mere facades, and so it makes sense that they seem incomplete.

    I’m giving them a little wiggle room for another couple of episodes. They’re definitely going in a particular direction. Let’s see if they get to where they’re going.

  3. I didnt get a chance to see either of them…but I will watch Grimm if I do get a chance, cause the SurlyGurls are barely ever wrong.

  4. Excellent Article. Please take a look at mine!

  1. Pingback: ABC ‘s Once Upon A Time Brings The Fairy Tale Thriller To TV | Tasithoughts's Weblog

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