"You ever walk into a situation where you know exactly what's going to happen, and you go into it anyway? And when what you're afraid of happens, you kick yourself because you should have known better, but that's just who you are, so you keep punishing yourself."
This is a line from an episode of Once Upon a Time, but it could also be a quote from any fan of the show,LOST who has started to watch this freshman drama on ABC. Once Upon a Time is from the minds of a couple of LOST writers, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, who not only make allusions to LOST (The town clock being stuck at 8:15, 108 being Henry's home address, Apollo candy bars, etc.), but borrow the basic setup of an average episode of LOST: Inter-cutting flashbacks with the current storyline. This is a good formula until it isn't.
Once Upon a Time is a good show for a lot of reasons (strong female leads, good acting, an ambitious premise, great writing) but it would be easy for the show to lose sight of the forest for the trees. For starters, the show should set an end date. Why is this so hard for American networks and show runners to settle on? If 100 episodes is your goal because that's how much time you need to tell a story then great. But if your goal is 100 episodes because it's the standard for a syndication deal then you're wasting my time by stretching story lines out like episode 6, "The Shepherd."
In that episode we learn that our Prince Charming is actually the twin brother of the real Prince Charming who was given to a royal family by Rumpelstiltskin. However, that guy was hilariously killed in battle. By a trident no less! Side note: I know it's a TV show, but can't we get better special effects than the smoke lined mountain top in this scene? It looked like a scene from an old Mortal Combat video game. It's embarrassing watching these scenes. I see car commercials with better computer generated graphics.
So yeah, the Prince Charming we know and love is actually the long-lost twin brother of the real Prince Charming. Ugh. Five bucks says we meet the twin brother again later on in season two. In the end, twin Prince Charming tells Mary Margaret (Snow White, in case you forgot) to take a hike and he's going back to his wife who he believes he owes it to her to make an effort to make it work. Just when we thought this show was moving the plot along they drag us back to the beginning. Six episodes in and it's starting to feel like season three of LOST all over again. Stretch out the plot as long as possible, make the characters run around in circles for no good reason except to fill up episodes instead of setting up an end date. This is classic LOST.
Here's another problem OUAT will face after the first season wraps up: On a show where no one ages, how do they explain why this little kid is aging faster than your story is taking to develop. Surely the show runners have first hand knowledge of how fast kids grow up after just a year or two. LOST's Walt was kidnapped by the Others for no other reason than he was going to be a continuity disaster moving forward. When we meet Walt again (in the last season! I wish I could get those hours back when I thought Walt's super bird killing powers had something to do with the end game of LOST.) he's older and it's only for a couple of minutes. A potential answer for this problem is that they could just write in a line saying that the Wicked Witch put a spell on the kid so he now looks old enough to drive.
Since I've seen every episode of LOST at least once, I have a feeling I know what's coming next for Once Upon a Time, and this is just a guess here, Flashforwards. The allusions to LOST are a little more than that. They're more like a blueprint for the show. However, I doubt we will see a drunk Snow White screaming to Prince Charming that, "We have to go back!" Although, that would be something I'd pay to see.
With all new shows, I like to give them a bit of slack to find their groove. I understand it takes the writers and producers a while to get the show into a good rhythm. 30 Rock is a great example of a show that started out one way and ended up in a totally different direction come the end of their first season. The same will probably be said for Up All Night as it moves to Thursdays to finish up its first season. With that being said, OUAT shouldn't already be jerking the audience around with secret twin brothers and pointless back stories. The writers of LOST figured out pretty fast that you can only flashback so much before it becomes tedious and annoying to the viewer. Hopefully the writers behind Once Upon A Time follow suit or else I don't see the show lasting very long in my queue. Nevertheless, I should have known this was going to happen. But this is just who I am and I will continue to keep punishing myself.
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