I’ll admit it, I’m a big Once Upon a Time fan. I know the series could be better, but I find the show cute and original in it’s own way. It’s a fun, casual sit through with enough plot twists and action to keep me waiting on the next episode. It also helps that I’ve always had a soft spot for fairy tales. I used to read the Brothers Grimm in high school and I have a hefty book of their stories sitting on my shelf. I liked how Once started to take characters most of the audience had grown up with through Disney films and give them a bit of a twist to refresh them and even make them a little darker almost like their original versions. And the show still managed to keep a light atmosphere and likes to remind us that good always win and love is important. It can get cheesy, but I still find it cute and I love just about every character the show has given us.
That being said I’d like to see new story arcs revolving around more obscure fairy tale characters or even characters that some of us got to know through old Disney movies. Currently the show’s writers introduced Elsa and Anna into the cast for their own storyline which is fine, but I’d like to see characters who haven’t gotten great exposure over the past decade. I did go and see Frozen and I liked it, but I think Frozen needs to chill for a while (pun intended). It was a little overdone and it needs to take some time to sit back. I was excited when I heard Elsa and Anna might get an appearance, but I was hoping for a one shot story just for fun. Instead the new season is revolving around them and I keep wishing it was someone else.
I also think what’s dragging down the Elsa/Anna arc is that the writers are making their story Frozen 2 rather than recreating their fairytale in a new light. They had a great opportunity to go back to the Snow Queen story it’s based on and possibly even tie the Little Mermaid into it considering Hans Christian Anderson wrote both stories. Yet these characters even look exactly like their Disney counterparts from hair to clothes and it’s a little disappointing. They don’t feel like original characters or characters with a twist. It’s the same ones we watched in theaters about a year ago without any change whatsoever. It’s not good writing – it’s just riding on a coat tail that’s already been worn down.
We did get to see Rapunzel last season which was a fun treat. The character recently got back into audience’s minds from Tangled, but this Rapunzel was a bit different and also looked nothing like the one we saw in theaters. Only Rapunzel got a one shot story and we’ve yet to see her again. I’d love for that character to make a return and get a bigger plot. She was familiar yet different and an original character all in her own which is what made the show popular in the first season. We need more of that and less of “let’s copy what Disney is currently doing.”
I loved the Peter Pan stuff even if the looking for Henry seemed to drag on in episodes. I liked seeing Peter Pan as a villain and I liked seeing Hook as a good guy. Again, it was different but retained familiar elements. We even got to see Wendy and her brothers searching for her despite the fact that she had stayed in Neverland and never aged while they were grown men. It was interesting and refreshing. Again, we need more of that with this new season.
I would love to see characters like the Hunchback or Hercules show up. I know they aren’t exactly fairy tales, but they are Disney adaptions which gives them just the right association for the show. I realize a Hercules movie just came out in theaters, but it didn’t gain a huge notice. It’d be nice to see him in a different light and actually it’d be interesting to see a bit of mythology in general make it’s way into the show.
There are countless other characters I’d love to see get some recognition. I know Jafar got some screen time in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but I’d like to see either him or another Aladdin favorite find their way into the main series. I am glad that the Knave of Hearts gets to join the main cast and this week’s episode was great with reference to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. We need more of that. I’d love to see even just the return of Ariel or Archie (Jiminy Cricket). I was also hoping for more back story on Mulan that possibly explains that she is the Mulan from China who got sent to the fantasy world somehow. That would be a great plot, but will we ever see it? Doubtful.
Still, I’m enjoying the show despite wishful thinking of the appearance Disney veterans and obscure fairy tales. I hope the second half of the season will introduce someone we haven’t seen in a while and give them the same bit of a twist that the other characters were given early on. I’m still holding out for a Lion King reference (maybe a human Simba? I know human Lion King characters will just make it Hamlet, but Shakespeare is great so why not?) Sunday’s episode was one of the best they’ve had in a while and it’s giving me hope for what’s in store. Here’s hoping lesser known fairy tales will get some of the recognition they deserve.
If you’re a fan of the series is there anyone you’re still waiting to show up in Storybrooke?