TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 1
NOTE: Before you crack the shits that I’m a mean bastard, have a look at the About and Review Format pages. I’m not a monster, I’m just a virtually illiterate 16 year-old girl. BiTCheZZZ!!!!!!!!!11!!!
I’m a bit behind on this one. I heard about it when it started, but I was pretty much like “are you fucking joking?” But now that most of the shows I actually care about are winding up for the season, I’m gonna get caught up on all the shit I passed over. And I am a bit embarrassed that I passed them over for fucking Glee and Gossip Girl. When will I learn? That isn’t saying Once Upon a Time is anything to get wet over.
TL;DR This episode is a slow-paced, meandering sack of crap. But what pilot isn’t? Star power and premise pulled me through.
There’s a lot not to love here. A child as a main character. Laughable CGI. Having goddamn Snow White as the most important fairy tale character. I mean, seriously? Her entire story is about being pretty, getting shanked by the evil witch (who is equally as devoid of character) and waiting for a random guy to mouth rape her, which magically solves everything. At least fucking Cinderella had some anguish to deal with. Snow White? Get out.
However, considering this shit has been renewed for a second season, I’m going to have to assume it gets better.
There are only two real reasons I’ve even started with this show. The first is Jennifer Morrison. I will always remember her fondly as the heroine of the not-actually-that-awful slasher sequel Urban Legends: Final Cut. I remember her fondly, too, from the first two seasons of House. Can you believe that’s still on? Can you believe fucking Smallville made it to 10 seasons? I’m getting distracted.
The other reason I wanted to watch this was the premise. I’m a sucker for a fable. And the promo material, and the fact they’re going to have to stretch this over 22 episodes (and beyond), gave me hope for some decent character development, especially for the evil queen. I always am drawn to evil queens. I wonder why?
The first time we meet present day Queenie she actually seems like a real human being. She has believable reactions to her son running away and finding his birth mother (Morrison). Then in a snap of the writers’ fingers, she turns into a retarded demon banshee. In what I assume is supposed to be a meaningful echo of fairy tale Queenie’s “I’ll destroy you” threat, present day Queenie uses this against Morrison’s character after having met her, like, twice. And all Morrison’s character did was bring her son home after he ran away. I know Queenie has issues (like, you know, being a world-destroying monster without knowing it), but come on. Any hope I had of Once Upon a Time trying to have realistic motivations for their characters died in that line.
On the plus side, Morrison does a good job with what little she’s given. It’s only the pilot, so she’s pretty much reacting to what everyone around her is saying. And even with that terrible dye-job, she actually feels like someone who could exist in the real world. Plus her opening scene where she’s chasing the bail-jumper (she’s a bounty hunter) is pretty boss.
Why I hate this episode:
I know I know I know. Pilot’s are almost always awful. And considering the high concept, and the hype due to my late arrival, I was never going to be pleased with this. At least there are no absolute dealbreakers here.
Henry (the kid) is annoying. He’s wooden and has the unfortunate duty of carrying a shit-load of exposition in his dialogue. I’ve done some light reading (not much. Spoilers, objectivity, laziness? Whatever reason is least offensive) and he apparently drifts out of focus after a while. Gonna have to grit my fucking teeth and bear it until then.
The flashback/fantasy sequences in fairy tale times are hurt by weak CGI. And you just know that they’re going to cram in as many fairy tale characters as possible for fan service. And seriously, fucking Snow White is the queen of fairy tale land? No.
Oh, and Ginnifer Goodwin is Snow White. What the hell has happened to her career? I know being in TV isn’t a death sentence these days, but I feel bad for her.
Reasons to watch:
Jennifer Morrison is the only thing really holding this together for me. I’m praying to Lord Perez that she doesn’t get screwed by the writers. And that Snow White doesn’t become the main character. Please.
And even though I’m not a fan of Ginnifer Goodwin, and Robert Carlyle has been nose-diving into mediocrity ever since The Full Monty, I’m going to respect a show that can pull name stars for important roles.
If this premise isn’t wasted, and the characters aren’t too retarded, I think this could be something special. Like, Condoleezza Rice on 30 Rock special. ABC has already pumped out Revenge this past year, and it found the right balance between actual, enjoyable plot and soap opera padding. Impress me, ABC. Keep me hanging on.