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Old 10-11-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
Doggie Bear
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"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" Pilot OAD 10/10/2013

"Once Upon a Time" hasn't gotten much attention on this board later, so I guess it's not surprising that the spin-off "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" hasn't either.

Since "OUaT" is my favorite current TV show, I was pretty excited about "OUaTiW" -- we've seen Wonderland before, via the Mad Hatter storyline, but there's obviously much more to be mined there in terms of the source material.

And so last night I eagerly went to my "Now Playing" list and selected "OUaTiW." And 45 minutes or so later, I was mildly underwhelmed. It's a quest story (find Cyrus the love interest/genie) which is perfectly fine and works well as a serialized backbone. The graphics suited Wonderland reasonably well -- it's got an appropriate cartoonish look to the roads, hills, and so on. The actress who plays Alice is fine.

Yet, it all adds up a little short. I get that she spent much time in Wonderland and had many adventures with Cyrus, leading them to fall in love, and that these will be reviewed over the course of the season in flashbacks. But while that storytelling method worked for "Lost" and has been working for "Once Upon a Time," it seemed too short-circuited here to convey the romantic connection. At least in "Once Upon a Time," we've all been socialized to know that Snow White and Prince Charming are meant to be together. Alice's relationship with Cyrus is not one that comes from the basic source material (i.e., the Disneyfied version, which is what I'm guessing most viewers come with). As a result, the emotional impact -- and feeling of loss that would drive her to be willing to accept a lobotomy -- just wasn't there.

I'm still keeping the season pass, but this didn't quite live up to my expectations yet. (And my other top pre-season pick, "Agents of SHIELD," is becoming more and more disappointing.)
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
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I tried to watch, but only made it thru about 20 minutes. I may give it another go later, maybe when I'm feeling better.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:49 PM   #3
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I'm sure my GF will be setting up a SP for this if she hasn't already - which means I'll at least give it a shot.

I don't really like OUaT very much.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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It was a strange hour. Very disjointed storytelling. I hope it was just opening night jitters and it will settle down (although it didn't seem strange to me in the ways pilots often seem strange).

The timeline confused me. She went into the nuthouse in the 19th century, Jack and the rabbit left 21st-century (or at least modern) Storybrooke to rescue her...and ended up in the 19th century. So the rabbit's a time traveler?
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
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(And my other top pre-season pick, "Agents of SHIELD," is becoming more and more disappointing.)
I'm one more episode away from taking SHIELD off my SP. Really disappointing/flat.
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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I'm one more episode away from taking SHIELD off my SP. Really disappointing/flat.
I'm one episode ahead of you!
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:12 PM   #7
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Again, one of those "I haven't seen it yet but I'm posting anyway" posts. From the marketing for the show, this seems like much more of a romance story than the fantasy quest type of show that OUAT is. Is that a fair description of the show? If so, I think I may pass; I'm not a big fan of straight-up romance stories.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:15 PM   #8
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I agree the first episode was not knock me down great but there were enough interesting pieces to keep me watching for now. I think this is definitely a show that will require a few episodes.

It was nice that they started out the Knave's story in Storybrooke and included couple of cameos (albeit of lesser characters).
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #9
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The timeline confused me. She went into the nuthouse in the 19th century, Jack and the rabbit left 21st-century (or at least modern) Storybrooke to rescue her...and ended up in the 19th century. So the rabbit's a time traveler?
Time moving in more than one direction is one of the themes of the original Through the Looking Glass book.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:51 PM   #10
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Again, one of those "I haven't seen it yet but I'm posting anyway" posts. From the marketing for the show, this seems like much more of a romance story than the fantasy quest type of show that OUAT is. Is that a fair description of the show? If so, I think I may pass; I'm not a big fan of straight-up romance stories.
It's more like the romantic story is the fuel for the quest. She was separated from her lover, believed him to have been killed by the Queen of Hearts, but now has some "news"(?)/hope that he's actually alive, and she's going to find him.

Like most women in the "OUaT" universe, she's an adept fighter either hand to hand or with weapons.

The Cheshire Cat shows up in the pilot and let's just say, he's definitely not the Disney cartoon version.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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I'm going to record the season and watch it later - I'm still only about halfway through season two of the original series.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #12
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Love the White Rabbit. I wonder how old Alice is supposed to be. Not crazy about the actress, but I guess she's ok. Good to see Sayid from Lost, and I liked the Red Queen. Totally didn't get that the Knave was in Storybrooke in the beginning, but that makes sense. I guess things will be explained more as we go.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #13
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It was a strange hour. Very disjointed storytelling. I hope it was just opening night jitters and it will settle down (although it didn't seem strange to me in the ways pilots often seem strange).

The timeline confused me. She went into the nuthouse in the 19th century, Jack and the rabbit left 21st-century (or at least modern) Storybrooke to rescue her...and ended up in the 19th century. So the rabbit's a time traveler?
Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass
CHAPTER 5: Wool and Water

`What sort of things do YOU remember best?' Alice ventured to ask.

`Oh, things that happened the week after next,' the Queen replied in a careless tone. `For instance, now,' she went on, sticking a large piece of plaster on her finger as she spoke, `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'

`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.

`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said, as she bound the plaster round her finger with a bit of ribbon.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:25 AM   #14
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I'm not really a fan of the other OUAT, so I don't know what I was expecting. I thought that the acting was really bad. That's the best they do for an Alice?

It felt like one of those series that SyFy buys and runs as an "Original".
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:09 AM   #15
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The special effects were horrendously bad, alternating with just plain poor.

The only reason I kept watching it is because of Michael Socha. While I liked him on Being Human (the real one, not the crappy US copycat), he had a really sexy vibe in OUATiW.

But hey, it's still at least a reason to watch that some of the new series this season are completely missing.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:08 AM   #16
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Not bad for a pilot. Not really the same as OUAT as OUAT is about bringing magic to the real world and one of the clever things was the juxtaposition of real and fantasy. Being in Wonderland means there are no rules. It is all whimsy. One of the things I generally do not like about Alice stories. But for this, the only thing I didn't like was making the philosophical Cheshire Cat into a monster without any of his magical qualities. Blech. As for the effects and the backgrounds. They are fine deliberately cheesy. Part of the fantasy.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:02 PM   #17
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:05 AM   #18
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awful
I disagree! I really liked it, which means it will probably be cancelled next week.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:58 AM   #19
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I'm with Rob; the storyline seemed disjointed. That said, my wife and I liked it, though not loved it. And I'm willing to stick with it for a while just because I think Sophie Lowe is breathtakingly beautiful. First saw her in an OK Australian horror film called Road Kill (Road Train in Australia, I think), then later in a very good drama, Beautiful Kate--she played the title character, natch.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:35 PM   #20
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I liked it but not a lot.
It's also in a brutal time slot and it's first episode got pummeled in the ratings.
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:38 PM   #21
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This is one of those shows, that I have a spot open so it records ( but not this week with playoffs, and Dallas game.. Tho I sometimes think I am in wonderland watching the boys...grin) I've seen 1/2 of the 1st episode, and it didn't hook me yet.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:09 PM   #22
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I liked it but not a lot.
It's also in a brutal time slot and it's first episode got pummeled in the ratings.
Yeah, that's very true. TVByTheNumbers calls it a death spot on the schedule.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:46 PM   #23
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Yeah, that's very true. TVByTheNumbers calls it a death spot on the schedule.
Maybe someday a network is going to recognize this and judge ratings differently on Friday nights. Just get the best they can and not expect Monday or Thursday numbers.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:54 PM   #24
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Maybe someday a network is going to recognize this and judge ratings differently on Friday nights. Just get the best they can and not expect Monday or Thursday numbers.
Well, except for the fact that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland airs Thursday Nights at 8 PM (7 Central).

So ABC would like it to get Thursday numbers.
Of course, they have been getting killed in that timeslot for the past few years.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:08 PM   #25
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I thought this show was extraordinarily bad for mainstream network programming. As someone else said, it felt like a syfy channel movie (that's about as bad a ding as you can give a tv show).

The special effects and the live actors didn't seem to mesh well. It felt like humans wandering around an obviously fake cgi world.

The white rabbit annoyed me. I wish the would have made him more anthropomorphic rather than going with a literal interpretation. For example, I'd have made him more like the guy in the rabbit costume in Donnie Darko. As is, it's like two humans, an obviously cgi animation character, and a fake blue-screened mashmellow pond. The artificialness of the special effects really showed through.

Even in fantasy, you want the audience to be able to suspend belief. I just couldn't with this.

I feel so sorry for naveen Andrews. The last thing I saw him in was sinbad, where his acting was the the worst character of the series. He seems doomed to play over the top bad guys who you'd rather chuckle at than be fearful of. I think they should do a Flash Gordon remake with him as Ming. He'd actually fit that role.

I go back and forth trying to decide which was worse, the acting or the plot. The romantic story feels incredibly forced. The asylum story was just plain dumb and lacked any suspense.

The red queen should have been cast as an older woman. The knave of hearts is just wrong.

If there was one thing I liked, it was the Cheshire Cat. Although it too had a cgi look, I was somehow able to suspend belief during the scene.

I give it 5 episodes to removal from the schedule. It only deserves three, but there will be network stubbornness and confusion of why this sucks and once upon a time excels.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:34 PM   #26
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smbaker: do you watch Once Upon A Time?
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:36 PM   #27
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smbaker: do you watch Once Upon A Time?
Yes, it's one of my favorites.

This felt nothing like it to me.

I guess the white rabbit does share some similarity In Implementation with jiminy cricket. Somehow though jiminy worked for me, whereas the white rabbit feels fake and out of place.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:45 PM   #28
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Yes, it's one of my favorites.

This felt nothing like it to me.
Gotcha. I just know that there have been many instances where OUaT has used fully CGI sets, and I know that they aren't particularly believable over there, but it's just one of those things that I am able to shrug off. I was guessing that perhaps you didn't watch OUaT and weren't used to the shows' use of CGI sets, but apparently not.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:25 AM   #29
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Well, except for the fact that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland airs Thursday Nights at 8 PM (7 Central). So ABC would like it to get Thursday numbers. Of course, they have been getting killed in that timeslot for the past few years.
D'oh. See what living with a dvr does to the sense of time!
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #30
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I enjoyed it well enough to keep watching, but I agree it felt disjointed. I think part of the problem was that they didn't seem to know whether they wanted to reveal the backstory up front or via flashbacks later, and so they ended up with something in the middle that was worse than going either way.

I personally would have preferred that they only had flashbacks of Alice's initial meeting with Cyrus, and fleshed that out more rather than rushing to the end where he was thrown off the cliff. Then we would have been left with the mystery of knowing that Alice had at some point lost him, but not knowing exactly how. Also, they could have put off the Red Queen and Jafar's meeting until a future episode.

The other option, which would have been less desirable by me, but still preferable to what we got, would have been to make the pilot a two-parter, and spend more time on the backstory instead of rushing through it.

As it was, it felt more like they were just checking off a list of things that needed to be covered in order to get the characters to the point they needed to be for the "real story" to begin.
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