Playing Catch Up: End of Season 1 ‘Once Upon a Time’ & ‘Once Wonderland’

So my journey with ABC’s Once Upon a Time and the spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland continues as this week I finished the first season of OUAT and the mid-season finale for Once Wonderland. Despite the fact that one show came from the other (or I should say is based off of the other) there are major differences between the two; one could argue that the only reason Once Wonderland was marketed as a spin-off was to get people’s attention who watched the original or to get people like me to start watching the original after liking the new show because they’re very different.  In the beginning I really liked Once Wonderland, but I have started to lose faith in this show as my love affair with OUAT continues. I honestly was thinking of giving up on Once Wonderland  until the last few moments of the finale when things started to get interesting. As sad as it sounds, I could care less about Alice and Cyrus reuniting, it was ho hum to say the least and I had just starting caring about them too which was upsetting.

The problem that I have with Once Wonderland is that it feels too limited. And the CGI is terrible. After being introduced to so many multi-layered worlds in the original show, it’s hard to be “stuck” solely in Wonderland. Although I did really enjoy the flashbacks to Jafar’s childhood in Agrabah. It was a great villain origin story and made me feel a little something for a character I previously cared little about. (But again, terrible, terrible CGI. Like distractingly so now that I’ve seen the light.)  I wonder if the show is going to go further than one season; I like the idea of it being “one and done.” It could open up possibilities for other similar series that take place in different worlds which could be cool.

I think the thing that saves Once Wonderland is Sophie Lowe and Michael Socha. With anyone else the show could have the potential to fall into the awkward actors-acting-in-front-of-green-screen-moments, but with those two the show is light and fun without being totally awful. I kind of like how the season finale set up a dynamic that added Cyrus and Anastasia to the merry twosome. Also, (*spoiler*) with the new development of the Knave as the genie things could get very interesting especially with Ana wanting to make the wishes and Jafar coming… with an evil storm cloud? (*end of spoiler*). As much as I say I probably won’t watch it, I know I will tune in to the rest of the season just to see what happens and to watch Sophie and Micheal be adorable and British.

Now on the other hand, OUAT has been consistently awesome. (Except for that whole chunk of story line where Kathryn’s “heart”

was found in a box and everyone thought Mary Margaret did it even though duh she’s like the nicest person ever and there was in no way she could be guilty.) By far two of my favorite story lines of the second half of the season were with Rumpelstiltskin and Belle (who would’ve thought?) and Ruby aka Little Red Riding Hood (*MAJOR SPOILER*) ACTUALLY BEING THE BIG BAD WOLF. Genius if you ask me, I never saw it coming. It’s the little things that I really enjoy about this show (*End of major spoiler*). Also, I love Bucky the Mad Hatter and the fact that they didn’t replace him with another actor in Once Wonderland because he couldn’t come back because no one could do the job better. Really every character we are introduced to I like better than the next.  

I liked that the season ended with the curse lifting and everyone remembering who they were, but not getting to go back home. It allows for the stories to still switch back and forth between Storybrooke and fantasy world which prevents the show from closing itself off, while still allowing the characters to explore new relationships now that they all know the truth. I also find it hilarious that all these people are basically running around yelling, “Kill the witch queen”, but wearing normal clothes. I have mixed feelings going into season 2 because I’ve heard they just try to shove as many Disney characters into the show as possible, but I also hear it’s better than the first so I guess I will see what happens as I go on. (Update: I started the first episode of season 2 and I love it already. Can I just say Prince Philip*swoon*?)

While I love shows like Mad Men and more recently Masters of Sex for the acting, history, and production value, OUAT is just pure fun. It is basically seeing your favorite Disney characters coming alive; despite the terrible CGI and campy acting, I’m enjoying it probably more than I should. I can’t wait to see what happens going forward and I hope to catch up to OUAT soon especially since I know some of my favorite characters like Peter Pan and Captain Hook show up in season 3.

Final Words

  • I really really want Regina and Anastasia to meet and have a diva off


  • Why does anyone drive in Storybrooke when the town is super small and no one can leave?
  • If Cyrus is a genie why can’t he fly?

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