I never really understood the term “hate-watching” when it comes to a television series. Why would you watch something if you hate it? Why spend the time doing that instead of doing something you love? I think I’m starting to understand it a little bit more. Now, if this post comes off sounding harsh, it’s only because I just finished watching the most recent episode, and I can’t hold my frustration in anymore. I just have to get it out.
Once Upon a Time has become so ridiculous, and the plot has become so out of control that I should just stop watching it. Yet I haven’t stopped yet. Why, you ask? I loved the first season. I loved the premise. And I so desperately want it to be that good again. The first season was fresh, and had a specific goal in mind: introduce us to these fairy-tale characters living in our modern world with no memory of who they really are, while giving us flashbacks of who they were and what happened prior to being thrust into their current state. Oh, yea, and break the curse that was placed on them.
During the first season, I wrote a post about Once Upon a Time and wrote that I liked the idea of the series, but I felt the premise seemed more suited to being a mini-series (much like 10th Kingdom) more than a series with a full 22 episodes, not to mention multiple seasons, and I worried where it could go. Well, I can tell you where I feel it’s gone. The show and its characters are flailing about in a sea of plot-hole-filled episodes, tossed about by every cockamamie idea that comes into the show runners’ heads. I want to see the show back to being anchored in a firm idea, and not just a pit stop for any villain based in a Disney film to come in with their evil goals, rear their ugly, villainous heads and then leave, never to be heard of again (with the exception of Zelena, it looks like from the preview). Whew! Okay, I said it.
I understand why they've broken the season into two halves with a different plot and different villains, it’s because the plots are so thin that it’s hard enough to spread it out into even 11 episodes. The stories could probably be told in fewer than six episodes. The plot drags on for so long, that by the time it's resolved, you can't remember how you even got there, and can't decide it you even care.
So, the main plot for the second half of the season 4 of Once Upon a Time is villains trying to find the author of Henry’s book so they can get the “happy ending” they think they deserve. And I have to say, this is about the most flimsy plot line they've come up with yet. The idea that they even think that a writer is deciding their fate, and not that they have any hand in it is laughable. And the writers felt they needed to bring in three villains for this one. Three!
And what’s all this nonsense of having the villains actually call themselves “villains”? I have never heard of a villain ever actually refer to themselves as a villain before. Not even in movies based on comic books, where there are lots of villains. Characters who are the “villain” in a story usually feel they have good reason to be evil or bad. That’s the reason we get books and films like “Wicked” and “Maleficent.” When you look back into the villain’s past, there is usually a reason they became the way they are, a reason that either they believe excuses or justifies what they end up doing that we call wrong. And they would most likely call themselves a hero before they ever called themselves a villain.
And speaking of heroes, guess what they call themselves? That's right - "heroes." It just leaves me speechless.
I feel that the show runners for Once Upon a Time are at a loss of what to do with this show. Just adding new villains every 13th episode is getting to be old and boring. I am begging you (although I’m sure you’ll never read this) to bring back the magic of that first season. Give new stories to our core characters and quit introducing more characters that we’re expected to care about immediately, just to have them disappear at the end of the season.
Looking at the ratings, I’m sure that many people still love Once Upon a Time. Or maybe they’re “hate-watching” just like I am, hoping to see a glimpse of the magic of season 1 that made them start watching in the first place.