Happy Endings from the Rabbit Hole

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by Cori Newsom, Staff Writer

ABC’s hit series “Once Upon a Time” keeps on racking up the viewings. By combining fairytale characters all across the board, it’s exciting and plot-twisting stories have caught the attention of viewers for over two years now. Unfortunately, the shows spin-off series, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” hasn’t gotten the same audience viewings ABC was hoping for. The public was informed that there would be no renewal for a second season and the finale on April 4 would be the end of Alice’s story in the franchise.

Though the angle of Alice’s father sending her to a psych ward for her stories about Wonderland and her genie lover was a good one, the spin-off series had a completely different feel from its main counterpart from the get go. For starters, the majority of the series takes place in Wonderland, in which most all the scenery and non-human characters were completely CGI. Though this effect was somewhat necessary because of Wonderland’s natural weirdness, it made the story surreal and harder to relate too. Another difference was the complete lack of depth in the main character. Though Alice was a sublime heroine, she was very task oriented and there was no real character growth like the audience sees in the main series heroes: Emma, Regina, Hook, Snow White, and Prince Charming. Her obstacles were very simple, and she showed no real concern for anything other than Cyrus (her genie lover) until the last few episodes. The only characters that actually experienced any kind of depth or growth were the secondary hero and the secondary villain. However, differences aside, the series ended up having a well rounded plot with a good finish.

The studio has narrowed the shows cancellation down to two reasons.
The first is due to the show’s slow start. From the commercial ABC released we go into the show expecting an adventure leading to Alice’s supposed stay and rescue from the asylum. What viewers actually got was a story starting out all too similar to Snow and Charming’s “separated by cruel fate” love story. The characters are launched into a mindless rescue mission with no time to actually figure out what’s going on. Thankfully, the story straightened itself out in the last few episodes.

The second reason was the time slot ABC acquired for the show. The show aired every Thursday at 8:00. The time and day itself is a hard slot to get many viewers. Since the viewings didn’t turn out the way the studio was hoping, it was decided that they would benefit more by making the first season “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’s” last season. Producers said early on that Alice’s story was meant to be a closed ended one, so the show would’ve had a definite end either way. Though the season’s events were rushed, they effectively crossed the story over with the main franchise and had an ending that was sensible as well as satisfying.

To its credit, Alice’s is the only story so far in the “Once Upon a Time” franchise that has managed to have the stereotypical happy ending we all know and love so well. As Wonderland says it’s happily ever after, don’t forget to tune into “Once Upon a Time” on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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