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Giants, ogres, werewolves, Frankenstein, Mulan, Captain Hook … what do all the things have in common? Once Upon a Time Season Two, that’s what! This is the series that has single-handedly changed the face of television fantasy and made ABC a major player in creative, prime-time entertainment.
This show has almost limitless possibilities and (at the writing of this review) is creatively satisfying the potential of an ever-expanding setting while maintaining continuity with previous episodes. To date Once Upon still hasn’t sold out to the HBO/Showtime/AMC paradigm of dark/edgy/gritty; a thematic bandwagon I’m so sick of I could literally vomit and more importantly they stick with the main characters from season one, continuing to develop them in a huge way (e.g. the welcome “manning up” of Charming) while constantly introducing new ones.
Also, I’ve sort of come to expect sub-standard or straight-up cheesy FX from television as a given and this is where Once Upon just continues to amaze me. What I really find astonishing is when I hear other people actually labeling the CG as bad… I guess I just don’t get it. I mean if we see a dragon on TV we already know it’s not real; we just hope it’s convincing enough to maintain the illusion that the events we’re watching might actually be taking place somewhere… out there. I say kudos to the producers for their frugal reliance on CG which is inherently a technology always one step ahead of being outdated and overly scrutinized as more people become fluent in graphics tech. In other words, too many people know how the trick is done to maintain the illusion if it’s the only trick up the sleeve, so to speak, and so I guess it’s a good thing that Once Upon excels in the areas of camera-work (including green-screen), costumes, sets, lighting, makeup, fighting and action choreography.
So get ready for a bigger season with more action, a slightly more serious tone with some clever plot twists and much more fantasy than the first with less emphasis on Emma, spotlight on Charming and Snow as their characters are reinvigorated, less of Henry, more of the hottest werewolf on TV, far less screen-time for the Evil Queen as new dangers are introduced and based on the way this series is gaining momentum, at the writing of this review, I’d predict it may very well be a five year run because it just “feels” like the writers, producers, actors etc. actually enjoy what they’re doing and I can’t wait till season two picks back up in January . )
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Return to the town of Storybrooke as the brilliant Anthony Horowitz and Edward Kitsis work their magic once more. You thought the Season 1 finale changed the rules? Get ready for them to change again. Magic has returned, but that’s only the beginning. Gold wants revenge on Regina, and not even his beloved Belle can turn him away from his quest. And the consequences of his actions will tear apart any semblance of a happy ending you may have thought existed at the end of Season 1. New challenges await, new mysteries are introduced, and it will take everything our favorite fairy-tale characters have just to survive.
Fans of “Lost” have much cause to rejoice in Once Upon A Time. I don’t think Lost really grabbed me until its game-changing Season 3 finale – after that, I was hopelessly hooked. The great thing about Once Upon A Time is that it takes all the elements that worked so well from the later seasons of Lost and puts them into play early on. The twist at the end of “Broken” will evoke memories of similar clever shifts in the structure of Lost. I can’t say any more for fear of spoilers, but rest assured that the story of Once Upon A Time is very far from over – and any assumptions you might have had about what’s to come will quickly be blown to bits. Don’t miss “Broken”.
***Overall Show***Show is solid, season 1 showed real promise. Very reminiscent of LOST (each episode is about one character, frequent & revealing flashbacks, super-natural forces, examines the nature of faith). Suffers from occasionally lazy writing and “Deus Ex Machina” style resolutions. David Nolan cries a little too often.
***Season 2***After a solid first season, season 2 is lazy and a little disappointing. It’s not terrible, but it’s surprising after a solid first season. It seems like they had solid ideas for the overall story arc of season 1, and then were left scrambling to find ways to fill a second season. Also the writing has changed and is lazier, and with less attention to solid character development.