NOTE: Contains some spoilers
The last few days have been a virtual bloodbath, with the cancellation of some of my favourite TV shows.
Happy Endings, Smash, Rules of Engagement, Golden Boy, Body of Proof, The New Normal .... OK, those are my favourites. But it seemed like nothing was left, as CSI: NY, Touch, Whitney, Go On, Guys With Kids, Vegas, How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life), Malibu County, Family Tools, Up All Night, 1600 Penn, Deception, Red Widow all got pink-slipped. Don't get me wrong, I fully expected about three-quarters of that list to get the axe, but hearing it all at once was a little jarring. I mean, what's next, cancelling Christmas?
Which leads me to Once Upon a Time, a series that has never been must-see for me. It's the kind of show that I can have on in the background, but doesn't need total concentration as I work on stories, read through emails, or get my dreams crushed by Candy Crush. In fact, at the end of last season, I decided to forego Season 2 but somehow I got sucked back in, like the main characters into a portal.
My least favourites have always been drippy David/Charming (Josh Dallas), and Mary Margaret/Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), whose pure goodness is way too saccharine for my taste. I've always found Jennifer Morrison to be such a vanilla leading lady, though I do like Emma. But they weren't the main focus this season, which explains the show's resurgence, in my eyes. I'm instantly captivated whenever Gold (Robert Carlyle), Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) are on-screen. That has always struck me as odd because I'm a big believer in good prevailing over evil, and I typically cheer on the good guys, but there's something about those flawed baddies that I can't help but root for. Because the focus has shifted a little, the show's sophomore season has been a breath of fresh air. It's almost like the darker the show gets, the better.
Reading those last sentences over, it sounds like I don't even like the show, but on the contrary, I find it quite well done (though the special effects could still use a little work). I love the introduction of Neil/Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James) and his ties to Rumpel, Emma and Henry (Jared Gilmore). And it was his appearance that really brought out a whole other evil -- Greg (Ethan Embry) or Owen or whatever his name is and Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) -- but they're just low-level villains compared to what's set to emerge.
So Peter Pan, the mischievous boy who never ages, who can fly, leader of the Lost Boys, who spends his never-ending childhood embarking on adventures in Neverland, he is the real bad guy?! Sure, when we meet him, he'll probably be cocky and fearless, but Pan is also the dude who steals people's shadows and rules his Land of Never with the heaviest of hands. And now he's about to get his creepy little hands on Henry. Things are getting awesome up in here.
The way this show has developed in two seasons is pretty remarkable. It began with exiled fairy tale characters stripped of their original memories, being banished to small-town Maine, all of which sounds good. But now that the townspeople/fairy tale characters have regained their memories but are still stuck in Storybrooke, things have finally gotten great. And with the introduction of magic, the intertwining fates of the two worlds, and new threats, Once Upon a Time is about to get even better. A long time ago in a land far, far away, it was predictable, hokey and, dare I say, boring. It was all very good vs. evil, black and white, no in-between, and now the unlikeliest of characters are drawn together and their tales are tangled, but not in a convoluted way.
Yes, networks, I know time is money, but if you give shows a chance to develop and establish themselves, they can prove it's not all bad. Once Upon a Time is proof of that.