It’s my last day of cable TV, and yesterday there was some news that somewhat justifies cutting the cord. They’re cancelling Once Upon a Time.
I have such a love/hate relationship with that series. It had so much potential, but most of that potential went unrealized, which was frustrating. This final season has been a real mess, with me transitioning from enjoying it but snarking about it to pretty much flat-out hate-watching. They got rid of most of the characters I liked, even including one whose actor is still on the show (playing a different character who’s a different version of his original character) and the new characters are weak. They’re not even trying to make any of the worldbuilding make sense.
For instance, the timeline. This is driving me nuts. The new central character is the kid from the first six seasons, now all grown up. There are flashbacks taking place about 9-10 years ago, in which he’s already an adult, and then in the present day he has an 8-9-year-old daughter. But the same actors as before are playing the people who were adults in his life when he was a child, and they aren’t doing anything to age them, but they haven’t explained why at least 15 or so years have passed since the end of the previous season and one character grew up but nobody else has changed at all. I’m aging weirdly so that no one believes how old I really am, but if I look at photos from 15 or 20 years ago, there is a difference. One of these characters is immortal, which explains the lack of aging, but it doesn’t explain the others.
Then there’s the new setting. The new curse moving the fairy tale characters to our world didn’t create an isolated small town like before. They’re in a neighborhood in Seattle (present-day Seattle, in spite of so much time passing, but I’m sure that will eventually be explained), where the fairy tale people are mixed in with “real world” people, and I’m not sure how that works because two of the characters are cops in their cursed identities, and that would require having a background that could be checked. Someone couldn’t just magically appear out of nowhere and become a cop, and since magic doesn’t work in our world, would it be able to alter memories so that “real world” people remembered having worked for years with someone who just arrived? That sort of thing needs to become clear for the world to work.
And the city is so blah. I do think you can make a city feel magical. Look at Neverwhere. Or Grimm. Or Enchanted, Inc. Or any urban fantasy. They just haven’t done anything to make their setting feel like a place where you might meet Cinderella or Rumpelstiltskin.
So, I’m curious to see how they wrap it up, but the series going away means I won’t have to find a better antenna that will bring in ABC for next season (unless ABC comes up with a new series that sounds good).
And, meanwhile, I may have come up with a way to play with some of the ideas and concepts I liked from the show that I felt like the show didn’t explore without it being super obvious where I got the ideas. That was a challenge because the concept was so unique that there wasn’t much of a way to file off the serial numbers.