Fairy tales have certainly influenced my writing of children’s books, and even come to life to some extent in my novels (particularly BONES AT BREAKFAST). It is no secret that I enjoy them, but am very picky about what I choose to watch. Once Upon a Time has always grabbed my attention because of its inclusion of not just Disney versions of the tales, but also classic literature.
While Season 5 was a big dud in my mind, it had its high points. Season 6 goes back to what made Season 1 so good, and included more classics. It escaped the fairy tale world and made its way into some great fiction literature.
The Good: The additions of Aladdin, Mr. Hyde, Count of Monte Cristo, and a few others worked quite well, while characters like Cinderella finally got a proper back story. The Evil queen vs Regina started out a little rough, but by the end I liked what they did with it. The whole season provided a great canvas to end the current run of characters and it properly sets up season 7 as a reboot with Henry being an adult.
The Bad: There were still flaws with some of the narratives. I feel that the Wicked Witch was wasted here, and Rumpelstiltskin was slightly under used, even though they both played a key role. Emma and Hook were great together, but to me it seemed very redundant with Emma’s role this season. Her performance didn’t move me at all, nor her story. Even though they used other classic tales, I feel like it still lacked for the most part in diversity (as far as types of stories).
Overall: It wasn’t the best season, but way better than the worst. The fact that they are rebooting next season is a welcome addition, but I’m still cautious with my hopes. It could go two ways… 1) it could end up being a fantastic reboot, pretty much ignoring or only referencing the original characters. Using them as cameos as fine, but I no longer want to see those people as a focus (except Henry’s story). Although I wouldn’t mind Regina and Rumple still having significant roles. They have a blank slate where they can go more horror with Dracula, more Frankenstein, etc etc that would really make it feel new. Or 2) They could just rehash the same formula and have nothing new to bring to the table. I’m hoping for the former, but in the meantime I’ll rate Season 6 with 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.
What were your thoughts? And Where would you like the series to go from here? Comment below.
While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait. Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par? Below is my spoiler filled review. As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season. There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch. It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season. Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season. It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again. I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain. Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best. They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind. Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant? At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves. Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works. Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play. My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd. I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used. Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering. Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart. I’m happy with where they both started and ended. Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down. Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.
King Arthur was frustrating for me. It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face. This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power. Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get. The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger. That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season. And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part? I didn’t care about the race change. What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.
Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One. We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.
Violet came as a surprise. Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting. I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it. It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.
Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too. What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara. Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting. Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative. Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.
Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect! In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season. She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.
Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale. (long sigh). Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career. I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset. Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show. In fact I welcome it. But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion. Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that. She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all. To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby. So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead? Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike. If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid. Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot. All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.
Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots. I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences. Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to. We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books? There should be no limits. I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all. Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season. I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town. Who are they? They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else? The suspense is killing me. Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined. Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.
In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important. Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places. That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store. Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.
For today’s installment of my 31 days of Halloween I made a top 5 list of my personal choices for film, book, etc. These are stories that not only have entertained me, but inspired me to continuously try exceeding what I did and topping each previous book I write. I tried to keep them as Halloween related as possible, and even though some aren’t horror, they fall into the thriller category and have spooky elements. What are your personal choices? Feel free to comment below.
TOP 5 NOVELS: The “Area 51” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Robert Doherty), Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Lecter” series, The “Atlantis” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Greg Donegan), Dean Koontz’ “Frankenstein” series (please don’t watch the movie because it’s terrible the books are great though. *Bonus All novels in the FLESH AND LEFTOVERS SAGA by Rick Pipito (had to add them, sorry.) 😛
TOP 5 TV SHOWS: Once Upon a Time, Arrow & The Flash (I put these as one because they crossover and exist in the same universe), 24, Law And Order SVU, Hannibal
TOP 5 GAMES: The “Tomb Raider” series, The “Resident Evil” Series, “Silent Hill”, “HeroQuest” (This is a board game I had growing up, and I just remember how awesome it was. I recently found it in my parents’ attic), The “Doom” series.
TOP 5 SONGS: Dragula by Rob Zombie, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (because everyone needs more cowbell), Mz. Hyde by Halestorm
TOP 5 MOVIES: Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Goonies, Monster Squad, Van Helsing (Kate Beckinsale, Huge Jack Man, and monsters? I don’t care if its cheesy. It’s awesome), The Brendan Frasier Mummy Movies.
BONUS—-TOP 10 COMIC BOOK Movie List (in numbered order):
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2) X-Men Days Of Future Past
5) Captain America: The First Avenger
6) Guardians Of The Galaxy
7) Man Of Steel
8) Spiderman 2
9) Thor The Dark World
10) Batman 1989
*This list is current as of 10/29/14 of course. It will most likely change, but it is the order I believe works. I wanted to put both Punisher movies in there as well just for pure fun, but they didn’t make the cut.
There is a LOT to cover here, but I’ll make it as brief as possible. First off, if you AREN’T watching Once Upon a Time, then you need to stop reading and start at season 1. I guarantee you will get so wrapped up in the characters and stories that you will not stop until you are caught up. There will be spoilers in here so skip to the end paragraph if you want my rating of both shows. Yes, I threw Once in Wonderland in here because to me it is part of season 3 albeit on its own.
I’ll start with part 1 of season 3 Once Upon a Time. The main villain here is Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The reveal of who Peter truly is in relation to Rumplestiltskin really shows why Rumple is the way he is. Wendy’s story arc is good here, and Peter as a villain works surprisingly really well. He was the villain you loved to hate.
We also see a turn for the better with Rumple and Regina here, that leads to them being more heroic than ever. In fact, it is safe to say they are now heroes for season 3, and likeable ones at that. Neil (aka Baelfire) however becomes the ultimate hero by sacrificing himself to save everyone.
What took me by surprise is that at the mid season break, it finished up that storyline, so instead of one long season arc, we actually got 2 shorter arcs, but I think this was a good thing to keep the show fresh. The episode with Ariel and Eric was satisfying, and seeing that the Evil Queen Regina took on the form of Ursula the sea Witch was fun as well.
Now we get on to Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. It really is ashame that this didn’t get renewed for a second season. I think the time slot was a bad choice. This should have aired at the mid season break slot of Once Upon A Time, but instead was on a different night where not many people tuned in. It DID however give us a good look at Wonderland and those characters, and they wrapped the whole storyline up. Basically, they didn’t leave us hanging to wonder what happened, and they left it open to include the remaining characters in the main show at some point.
Anyway, so we have Alice being taken back to Wonderland to save her lost love, who is a genie. Now keep in mind that this genie, AND the Sultan, are NOT the genie and Sultan from Aladdin, BUT, Jafar is the main villain. Speaking of which, Jafar is one of the best villains on this or the main show to date. His portrayal and agenda echoed what is known of the character, and he is not limited by simple morals. There is a soft side to him, however, which keeps the human part of him real.
Anastasia/The Red Queen was an annoyance at first, but the last few episodes had me liking her. The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, The Bandersnatch, The Knave of Hearts (Will Scarlet), and Alice herself all had great purposes in the series and I enjoyed every moment they had on screen. We even had a little back story with Robin hood and his merry men, which was a break from the norm of the show. The character of Elizabeth “Lizard” was odd at first, but a welcome sight…. until she died, which choked me up a little (I’ll be honest… I never like seeing a pretty woman die).
Cora appearing as the Queen of Hearts was expected, and she lived up to the menacing person she portrayed in the main series. Of course this was all in flashback here, but it was needed for back story. The Well of Wonders and the genies had a nice little plot thrown in there, but we could have probably skipped over that whole angle (though the demon of the well was creepy as hell).
At first I was disappointed by the Jaberwocky, but five minutes after her first appearance on screen, I grew to really like her as a creepy, fear inducing villain, and I hope she comes back at some point.
My only problem with characters here are the Tweedles. I didn’t like how they looked, and I felt they were used inappropriately for the most part. Their roles could have been better planned. As far as overall plot, Jafar trying (and succeeding) in rewriting the laws of magic seems to directly affect the events in the main series. In other words, despite the connection being little to both shows, they seem to acknowledge the events of one another to some extent. One last thing to mention is that there were definite ties to Storybrooke and the real world. I doubt we will ever see Alice again or the Genie, but Wonderland will be back in some form in the main show, I’m sure of it.
Returning to the main series, let’s talk about part 2 of Season 3. Here is where I was highly interested, perhaps more than I’ve been in the whole series. Why? I’ve personally read all 15 of the original L Frank Baum Oz novels, so bringing that in here was more than a welcome sight for me. Before I get into the main plot of this half, I’ll touch on the characters. Aurora, Phillip and Mulan were underused as usual. I almost don’t even want to see them in the show anymore unless some kind of good use for them is found. Rapunzel’s addition felt rushed, and I HATE when they change the race or sex of a character. (IE I don’t want to see a Black Indiana Jones or a white Blade). It annoys me, and especially with Tangled being so fresh in my mind of Disney movies, I had an image of Rapunzel in my head. Other than that, I don’t have an issue.
The new take on Lumiere (the candleabra) was interesting and refreshing. Blackbeard and Glinda, though minor roles, served their purposes and worked well in the story. Dorothy Gale coming to Oz was both hit and miss for me. I liked what they did with her, and how the fairy tale was twisted, but again, this felt rushed. I only hope we see more of her and Oz characters because in the long run, there is a lot of Oz that could still be used (even from the original characters we all know and love, that have yet to appear).
Now on to Zelena (The Wicked Witch of The West). She truly was wicked. I like the explanation of her green appearance (envy) and why she was so wicked. She had similar goals as Jafar in Wonderland, but for different reasons. The use of the flying monkeys and even the great wizard of Oz himself helped her to achieve her goals, but she still met her demise at the hands of Rumplestiltskin.
Of course, then we had the whole Captain Hook and Emma going back in time, but they sorted out the past and returned to a wonderful future. Charming and Snow White named their newborn son Neil. Emma embraced her magic and purpose and decided that her and Henry were going to stay in Storybrooke. Rumplestiltskin and Belle married. Regina and Robin Hood were happy together.
It was all a peaceful ending that made me worry. I worried because I thought “This is it.” Everyone has a happy ending. There is no need for another season. I’m so glad I was proven wrong, but now I have to wait until the Fall for more episodes. Like Once Upon a Time normally does, we are left with massive cliffhangers. In the last two minutes of the show’s season, we learn this. Rumplestiltskin still has his own dagger, even though his wife believes that she is the one that has it. This is sure to cause a problem in the future. Regina, finally void of her Evil Queen status is suddenly screwed by Snow White’s family again, because the one person that Emma saved in the past was supposed to die. That person was the Maiden Marion, who was married to Robin Hood and mother of his child. This then takes Robin Hood away from Regina, and her vengeful “Evil Queen” may or may not emerge to exact vengeance upon Emma for ruining her happiness.
Somehow I think they will avoid this mostly. Why? Henry still believes and loves his step mother, Regina, as a good person now. His love for her will stop her from being as vicious as she used to be. Also Tinkerbelle predicted that Regina is destined to find happiness with the man with the wrist tattoo. Now of course, this could have been redacted because of the whole time travel alteration, but I think that somehow they will work on getting Robin and Regina back on track. After all, he can’t just ignore the feelings he has for her.
Let’s see. What else? Other than a fun Back to the Future reference, and a cameo by a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, there was perhaps the biggest reveal of all. Regina tells Emma that “You better hope you didn’t bring anything else from the past back with you.” We find out that one of Rumplestiltskin’s artifacts came through the portal. From it escapes a woman in a flowing blue dress and pale skin. We don’t know what her face looks like, but if anyone has seen Frozen, then you know it is the Snow Queen herself, Elsa, as she freezes and shatters the artifact from which she emerged.
Other than the Frozen story coming to season 4, it has also been confirmed that the Knave of Hearts will be making his way onto the main show, and that Disney’s Brave and Princess and the Frog (retelling of the Frog Prince) will all be included in some manner.
This show keeps getting better, and I’ve learned to expect nothing except greatness and frustration on waiting for the next episode. I give season 3 of Once Upon a time 9 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland gets 6 out of 10 coffins. The reason I rate Wonderland lower is because of the obviously limited budget for the effects, and it really didn’t get compelling enough for me until the last 7 episodes. What did you think of these shows and what do you speculate for the future of the series?
I can officially review this show now, as it has a graphic novel spinoff coming in the fall, and I’m excited, as it is one of my favorite shows on TV at the moment… but did its finale work well for the second season? Warning SPOILERS AHEAD!
First off, let me say that Season one was amazing. From start to finish, it had me on edge, wanting to see what was going to happen next. Then the finale came for the first season, and I was even more intruiged. Now let’s get on to season 2.
It begins with Once’s take on the Sleeping Beauty tale. A wraith hunts down Prince Phillip, while Princess Aurora and Mulan are left to fend for themselves. Emma and Snow have arrived here as well in the Enchanted Forest. At first the meeting does not go well between them, but Mulan eventually learns to trust Emma and Snow. With Magic now present in Storybrook, Emma and Snow do what it takes to return there.
Throughout the season we see a theme. During the first half of season 2, Emma and Snow make it their mission to return to storybrooke, even when it means teaming up with the famed Captain Hook and tackling a Giant at the top of a beanstalk. The twisted takes on fairytales continues to excite me throughout the season. Things like Lancelot, and Frankenstein being incorporated into it as well as Cora being revealed to be the actual Queen of Hearts from Wonderland were a lot of fun.
Things I didn’t like too much were the following: Tamara and Greg… Although I liked the reveal that Tamara was Greg’s “her” I feel that these characters were annoying as hell. I was beginning to think that Tamara was really a witch of Oz, but it just turns out she was a pawn of something bigger (we’ll get to that). She was the true bitch of this season. While true evil like Cora is wrong, she is still likeable. Tamara has nothing about her that I like, and Greg is just as irritating. Greg’s father was lost in Storybrooke long ago, yet he doesn’t seem to care at the end. It is all about the mission. Even if Regina did kill his father in the past, it doesn’t matter. A personal vendetta just seemed to be dropped for the twist at the end. I also didn’t like Belle losing her memory. I didn’t feel it drove the story any until she had fallen for bad boy Rumple, but even the effects of that were short lived.
I also felt that this season had no ups and downs. Is this a bad thing? No. It just didn’t have me waiting for the next episode as much as I was in the first season. High points to me were Cora… Regina’s struggles with good and evil… Neil being revealed as Baelfire… and the mystery of other people finding out about Storybrooke.
As for the finale, and inclusion of Peter Pan lore, I thought it was done well. I really like that they are making Pan out to be a bad guy, because in the original novel, he was really a selfish prick of sorts. Not sure to what degree this will hold up, but I can’t wait to find out. The only other complaints I have are that I have to wonder what kind of taser can electrocute a wooden Pinnochio. Also, how does the group know that the magic bean will take them to the realm that they want? Did Rumple control that?
Next season I’m hoping we get a little Mermaid inclusion, but I’m looking forward to seeing Neverland and actually Peter Pan himself, not just his shadow. Rumplestiltkin, the Evil Queen, Emma, Snow White, Prince Charming and Captain Hook are all now teamed up to save the one person that they all care about… Henry. They have no idea if Neal is even still alive, and it appears that they are going to bring Prince Phillip, Mulan and Aurora back into it again.
Still love this series, and am looking forward to the spinoff Once Upon a Time In Wonderland. I’m curious as to whether the writers will do a crossover episode or two. Can’t wait til the fall. Season 2 gets 7 out of 10 stars from me.