For those of you who don't know, Once Upon a Time is, well...this:
First, let me address some of Sara's criticisms of the show (after only watching half of season 1).
#1 "It's not funny enough."
Okay, I'll admit, it isn't exactly a comedy. But there are a lot of small moments of humor, and while they don't really stand alone as hilarious, there are parts that are really funny once you get to know the characters. Like Henry calling David/Charming "Gramps," or the fact that there was an eighth dwarf called Stealthy, or...just so much of it is in the delivery of the lines and the characters' reactions more so than gags or jokes. Here's a video with just a few funny moments from the show. I couldn't find a really great one that summed them all up, but enjoy.
I don't think I know how to refute this. I just disagree. Perhaps I could direct you to some actually dark shows/movies? Sara, don't you like Pan's Labyrinth? That's a very dark fairy tale. Like, very dark. Once Upon a Time is better described as suspenseful, exciting, fantastical, and intense, but not dark. Not really. Actually, despite dealing with sadness and peril sometimes, the overall mood of the show is upbeat, I think. Everyone's not happy all the time, but it's not a depressing show. The tone is hopeful, which keeps it from being dark.
#3 "They take away the happy endings, and I want them back! There's too much suspense and misery and sadness and DEATH and separation!"
If everything were happy and hunky-dory, there would be no CONFLICT! No PLOT! Furthermore, they don't take away the happy endings; they merely prolong their fulfillment, since it's only the second season. Do you actually watch the show and think, "There's no way Snow White and Prince Charming will end up together!"...No. They'll always find each other. It's just going to take a while. Have a little patience, dearie.
And yes, some characters do get killed off, and sometimes that's really sad. But that happens in a lot of your favorite shows. And I think it makes it a better show when the writers aren't afraid to kill off an important character. It's like no one is safe. It amps up the tension and drama.
#4 "They also change the story lines."
Yep. This brings me to another point about why Once Upon a Time is fun to watch. It adapts fairy tales, but it also incorporates the Disney retellings of the fairy tales. ABC is owned by Disney, so they can do that. And noticing the Disney vs. original fairy tales details is always fun. But, Sara, you're right. They do change things up a bit. Sometimes. Because, let's face it: if we knew how everything was going to turn out it wouldn't be quite so exciting. So, there are twists. Sometimes one person can carry multiple fairy tale roles, like Mr. Gold does. And sometimes there are sparks between characters from different fairy tales, like a possible love triangle between Aurora, Prince Philip, and Mulan. But I think that makes the story less predictable and more interesting. Also, if you've actually read the fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, they are very different from the Disney versions. And they're WAY darker than Once Upon a Time.
#5 "They make the characters so ambiguous. You don't can't know who you're supposed to trust."
Okay, I'm thinking that your definition of "annoying" and my definition of "interesting" are lining up more and more. I love morally ambiguous characters! They're way more realistic, complex, and interesting to unravel. It's captivating to find out what makes them the way they are, and Once Upon a Time is great with backstory. Plus, you know, people in general are pretty morally ambiguous. We all do good and bad things, and in life you don't always know whom you can trust. While I can understand your frustration at that in real life, fiction is another story. Think of all the shows/movies/books you like that have morally ambiguous characters. Sherlock. Captain Jack Sparrow. Aladdin. Spike from Angel. Snape. Even the Doctor is morally ambiguous! Granted, you usually know who the good guys and bad guys are, but what makes Once Upon a Time so interesting is the fact that a villain can become good, and that characters can flip flop back and forth between doing good things and bad things. That's why morally ambiguous characters have more depth. They make mistakes. They do bad things, and sometimes they're not sorry. But sometimes they are and they try to redeem themselves. And then PLOT TWIST! They do something evil again and so on. It's cool.
Going along with my rant about morally ambiguous characters and how interesting they are, I'd just like to point out how even the obvious "good guy" characters are still complex. Because the show deals both with present-day Storybrooke and flashbacks of Fairytale Land, there is a lot of delving into character backstories. Also, the characters are just generally very likable. I can think of very few characters I haven't liked, and even with those, it's usually because I love to hate them. Even the villains are likable (some of them very likable). It's one of those shows that's very community-centered. There are main characters, but it seems like all of the characters are pretty important, and they mesh well together, despite being from different fairy tales.
So what are some other reasons to love Once Upon a Time?
The cast is basically great. There are some really well known actors, and there are some that seem to come out of nowhere, but on the whole I'd say they're all pretty good. Even the guest roles are filled by impressive actors. I mean, I think I already mentioned how FLAWLESS Bailee Madison was as the younger version of Snow White! (CAUTION: SPOILERS BELOW!)
No, this isn't a huge driving factor for me to watch the show, but the costuming is still excellent. The fairy tale outfits are amazing, and even the Storybrooke clothes are stylish and cute. Regina, particularly, has a nice wardrobe.
As the end of season one approached, we all knew that a very important thing was going to happen. And I wondered how the show would continue once the very important thing happened. And then the very important thing happened, but that brought on a whole new world of problems and possibilities for the show, and the writers just keep coming up with plot twists and mysteries to keep us guessing!
Plus, they keep expanding the fairy tale worlds. Like, now we have Wonderland, and Neverland, and Frankenstein has made an appearance. Mulan is there. And Lancelot. It's not just your traditional fairy tales anymore. While this makes me skeptical sometimes (coughFrankensteincough), mostly it's awesome! I can't wait to see what other worlds will be brought in later.
LOVE STORIES AND CHILDREN! What more could Sara want?!?!?!?
Okay, there aren't that many children (Henry, Grace, Hansel, Gretel, Baelfire). But Henry is one of the most important characters. Possibly the most important when you think about it. And he's a pretty cool kid.
And there's true love!!! Classic love stories like Snow White + Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast...And new love stories and couples to speculate about. Like who will Emma end up with?
Okay, so I could talk about Once Upon a Time forever...or I could do my homework. But the overall point of this post is: SARA WHY YOU NO LIKE?!!
No, but really, guys. This is a great show. If you haven't, watch it!