October 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm #232437
Advance reviews have not been promising, but hopefully, this will be more entertaining than not:
Episode 1.1: Pilot
Written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis; directed by Mark Mylod
Meet Emma Swan – a 28-year-old bail bondswoman who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry, the son she gave up years ago, finds her, everything changes. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma’s help. He believes Emma comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter.
Not believing a word of his story, Emma brings him to a town called Storybrooke, but soon comes to realize it’s a place where magic has
been forgotten, yet still there. Where fairytale
characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once
were, and where an evil queen named Regina is now Henry’s
foster mother. A battle for the future of both worlds is about to begin, and for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny.October 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm #232439
I watched the pilot in IMDB and I have mixed feelings about this one.
I think the flashbacks with the kingdom and the story about how all this happened is done in a way that’s cheesy and predictable, with bad fairytale dialogue, overly maniqueistic plot, awful special effects and didn’t bring anything new to these very overplayed characters.
However, the part in the present, with Snow White’s daughter coming to the town works really, really well and I can see this show creating a fascinating mythology around these characters and Storybrook. In this part, the premise becomes really interesting in which it gives room for more depth and ambiguity to be a big part of the story in future episodes, and also play much more with the archetypes from the tales, especially with the Evil Queen, that is now the Mayor of the city (and the most interesting thing about the pilot).
That doesn’t mean the “real world” doesn’t need some improvement too. The pace of the plot is a bit off sometimes, the dialogue here is a bit clunky too (although better than in the flashbacks), and it can get a little too corny in some scenes. But I believe once the characters are more developed, and when/if they get the pacing and dialogue right, this could become addictive and entertaining.
I think liked this more for the promise of what it could be than the actual execution of the pilot, but still, I say is worth checking out and giving the following episodes a chance too.October 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm #232440
I don’t know what to make of this, specially where the hell it’s going to go. In the battle of “does it make sense?”, Grimm has this beat easily, even if I’m just going by trailers when it comes to Grimm…
I agree that the modern day stuff is much better than the flashbacks to the fairytales, but the real problem here is that the writers aren’t convinced that we know enough or that we can figure things out by ourselves, so the dialogue starts to become a little cheesy when it comes to revealing who’s who. “I want to see him…”You mean…” “Yes…him…”…common! We know who she means!!! We always knew! Don’t write it like that. Red Riding wearing the scarf was another lame thing. The grandma is there, we already saw the wolf, the girl has to be Red Riding, we already knooooow!
And it happened so many times, like showing Pinocchio when Geppeto talked about his son, of course it’s Pinocchio, who else would we think it was? Shrek?
They should’ve done more things like the mirror near the end, of course it’s the mirror, or the wolf in the middle of the woods, it worked better like that.
The pacing, the tone, were also off, and Jennifer Morrison was to blame here, I didn’t think she was ever comfortable with this. Lana Parrilla and Ginnifer Goodwin ended up the best here, but only in their modern day scenes, when she’s the Evil Queen, it’s back to cheesyland…or Cheesybrooke (that town name almost made me turn the t.v off).
I’ll give it one more shot out of curiosity, but it’s looking a little lame and obvious…we’ll see.October 25, 2011 at 5:21 am #232441
I really wanted to like this show. I REALLY REALLY did. But the God awful special effects (the last scene with the Evil queen destroying the kingdom were expecially cringe inducing) and formula-like writing left me rolling my eyes or moaning….and not in the good way! The premise is very cool and could work in the hands of the right writers and directors, but with the present team this show looks and feels like one of those Disney or ABC Family channel halloween specials. And the pacing? Wow how very very bad. A little boy shows up unannounced at your apartment (in NYC no less) and we find out that you gave him up for adoption within 2 minutes? And it was all so matter of factly. A reveal this big would have been better suited after an appropriate build-up. I understand that they needed to get her to Storybrook, but there were hundreds of different ways to acheive this.
I did like the lead actress and Rumpelstilskin (even if he was over the top). The Grandmother/Red riding hood could be played out nicely for comic relief.
But the pacing was so damn bad that all of the decent bits just went by the wayside. However the POTENTIAL has me intrigued to watch one more episode. If its still just as bad, then I would be surprised if this show made it past a few more episodes.October 25, 2011 at 7:09 am #232442
This actually kind of snuck up on me and caught my interest. I agree that it’s far from perfect, but the basic premise behind the action, the idea that the Evil Queen stuck everyone in this town in Maine and now Emma White-Charming has to come and somehow save them, does have, as everyone says, some potential. I like shows that have an overall, achieveable goal — in this case the restoration of the fairy tale characters to their fairy tale land — and watching how the episodes work toward that goal. But I’m concerned that all the Storybrooke characters are already in the orbit of all of their fairy tale selves, so it feels like there isn’t as much room for exploration and playing with dynamics as there could be. I’ll probably watch again next week, but I’m far from committed.October 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm #232443
Well, I’m a sucker for stories like this. Fairy tales with a twist always pique my interest, and my interest is definitely piqued with this one. I love how in Storybrook, Prince Charming is the one that’s sleeping. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series turns out. One of my favorite pilots from this season.October 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm #232444
When Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis announced that “Once Upon a Time” would be their next project following “Lost,” I thought it sounded like an awful idea. Re-imagining fairytales isn’t new to television (the much loved “Beauty and the Beast” on from the 1980s had its share of fans), and it can certainly be used to good effect. But meshing those tales with a cheesy reality set in present day? Not so easy to pull off. That being said, I went into the pilot with the hope that, for all of the preceding news I had heard about the plot and so forth, Horowitz and Kitsis would be able to create a dual-world that was both fun and fascinating. Unfortunately, this pilot episode — which ended up feeling like a very cheesy ABC Family Made-for-TV movie — met all of my initial low-set expectations.
The concept of characters having hidden identities (in this case, fairytale personas) that even they themselves were not aware of is an interesting one. But for me, it never quite paid off. For starters, the ‘flashback’ fairytale scenes were corny at best, with hocky dialogue and pretty awful green screen effects. The actress playing the Evil Witch had some of the worst lines in the script, and I wanted to reach through the screen and rewrite them for her so that she wouldn’t have to endure saying them. “I shall destroy your happiness,” she promises, right before disappearing in a puff of black smoke. Don’t worry, Miss Witch, the writers already took care of that, what with these cheesy back-to-back lines. I did like the meshing of fairytales together, like having Snow White visit Rumpelstilskin in prison, for example. And it was a bold move to have Prince Charming, who easily could’ve been a go-to heroic lead, stabbed and left in a coma. But for the most part, there wasn’t much to these fairytale scenes.
I wish I could say that the present-day scenes helped balance out the pilot, and in a way it did balance: they were just as corny as the fairytale flashbacks. It isn’t even the whole little-boy-tracks-down-birth-mother-independently subplot that bothers me; it is the way in which Emma reacts to him. When she first meets him, he bursts into her apartment building and claims to be her son. And instead of questioning what he was saying because, after all, kids say the darnedest things, she goes to her bathroom to catch her breath and leaves him in her kitchen by himself. When he says he is from Storybrooke, Maine, she is taken aback by the town’s name only for a moment, before agreeing to take him back home. That’s right. She just met this kid, knows nothing about him, and immediately puts everything on hold to take this kid on a roadtrip to a town she has never even heard of. I almost wish we had seen her Google Maps it; it would’ve added credibility to the fact that she gets there so smoothly without any apparent traveling errors.
Look, I get it. You can’t attribute too much logic to a show like this. Its fantasy from the get-go; if you’re not along for that kind of ride, you’re only taking up your own time watching a show you’re not that interested in. But the storybook, the name of the town, the relationship between characters, Granny giving ‘Mr. Gold’ the money right in front of a customer, the sheriff who looks like Ashton Kutcher … it was all a bit much for me. I did like one moment, where we see that Prince Charming is still alive in the present world, as a John Doe in a coma. Interesting that he is the one who is sleeping now. But other than that, it was not very good.
Grade for “Pilot”: COctober 26, 2011 at 7:45 am #232445
Seeing the Prince in the coma in the present day was actually one of the biggest disappointments for me. I do like the twist of him being the one who’s in the coma, and that he’s a John Doe in a hospital, but it just seemed like a lot of wasted potential to have that information handed to us in the first episode. Part of the reason this seemed like a TV movie or a special is because the audience naturally wonders how long this premise will go on, and the pilot mostly reinforced that by making me feel like the story is basically almost all told already, and we only need another half hour or so to wrap it up. What is this show doing to do to keep people invested for 12 or 21 or 100 more episodes? By episode five it’ll probably just feel like we’re just biding time until the curse gets reversed.October 26, 2011 at 8:31 am #232446
I agree that at this point I only need for Emma to figure out who the mayor is, battle her and set everybody free.
What else do we need from this Pilot? Does all of that really have to take 4-6 seasons to happen?
I don’t even need for other fairytale characters to show up.October 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm #232447
Episode 1.2: The Thing You Love Most
Written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis; directed by Greg Beeman
Regina wastes no time in ramping up her effort to expel Emma not just out of Storybrooke, but Henry’s life as well. Permanently. Regina also released a curse upon the fairytale world; here, we get to see how she managed to accomplish that.October 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm #232448
Finally got around to watching the Pilot episode. All I can say is I loved it. It is a freakin’ fairy tale fantasy, people, with characters who are going to deliver some cheesy dialogue. And since fate was going to bring Emma back into the other characters’ lives on her 28th birthday, I easily bought into her believing the little boy and following him, especially since she had made the wish about her life to change after she blew out her birthday candle.
Above all, I just really enjoyed seeing something original and creative this season, instead of another variation on the procedural. In fact, the new shows I am really enjoying this season are flawed yet NOT just procedural shows: Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Amercian Horror Story, and Homeland.
This one’s a keeper for me.November 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm #232449
Just got caught up with the first two episodes. I like some parts (the Jennifer Morrison/Lana Parilla battling in the contemporary scenes), but those fairy-tale scenes feel all wrong: silly writing, terrible acting from typically good actors (Robert Carlyle’s Rumpelstiltskin is cringe-worthy, though I like his Mr. Gold), bad camp all around.
Also, precocious little kids on TV tend to grate on my nerves, and I wanted to chuck this one out a window in his very first scene. Nevertheless, I question the wisdom of a birth mother who would so defiantly hover around the boy she placed for adoption and then feed his delusions to get him on her side. Even though his adoptive mother is clearly evil, Emma’s lightning-fast attachment seems unhealthy, as does her competitive wish to alienate him from the woman who raised him. Of course, we in the audience know the whole story, but Emma doesn’t, so her behavior seems a bit reckless.
Not sure if I’ll keep up with this show. I find myself wanting to know what happens next, even though this didn’t especially impress me overall. I’m way behind on my shows right now, so this might have to take a back seat for a while.November 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm #232450
Oh, and I forgot to mention: in just one scene, Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam — um, er, Maleficent — managed to bring the cheesy fairy-tale world to life. More of her might inspire me to give this show another look.November 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm #232451
Finally got around to watching the Pilot episode. All I can say is I loved it. It is a freakin’ fairy tale fantasy, people, with characters who are going to deliver some cheesy dialogue.
I always bristle at this kind of defense, which is sort of a defense without a defense. The idea that its very genre should force our standards lower is unfair to fairy-tale fantasies. Good thing Guillermo Del Toro didn’t get that memo when he made “Pan’s Labyrinth,” albeit a darker fairy-tale fantasy but one decidedly lacking in cheesy dialogue and bad acting. That the show is fanciful is a given. Its job then is to help us suspend our belief, and glaringly cornball execution gets in the way of that.
Consider “Pushing Daisies,” which wasn’t based on a specific fairy-tale but most certainly fits the description. In its tone, scripting, visual style, and acting, it was just about perfect, and illustrates where and how “Once Upon a Time” falls short.November 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm #232452
I finally got around to the pilot. I heard a lot of the bad buzz and was preparing for a let down. However, I actually enjoyed it. A lot of it is cheesy (especially the writing), but there was a lot to like. Jennifer Morrison was a good lead and Robert Carlyle stole the episode with only 2 scenes. I also like Mark Mylod’s direction who combined a lot of the familiarity we have with these characters with a new storyline that fit what we know about them. Unfortunately, I don’t know where this series goes from know (still haven’t seen the second episode).
Also, some of the acting was really bad. The main child was very annoying and Lana Parilla quickly made me hate her two characters (and not in a love to hate way).
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