August 2018 on Amazon Prime Video made fairy tales and storybooks come back to life.
Once Upon a Time (Season 2) [8/10]
Once Upon a Time (Season 3) [9/10]
Once Upon a Time (Season 4) [8/10]
The second season of Once Upon a Time might still be a soap opera at its heart, but fortunately there is much more time spent in the fairy-tale/fantasy world without simply relying on flashbacks. Of course there are quite a few of those explaining certain relationships or enmities between characters, but it’s nice to actually have two storylines running side by side, one set in the fantastic and one in the mundane world (which again is the less interesting). The pacing is much faster, there are new mysteries to uncover, so that this season is much more engaging than the first one with more magic, more adventure, more drama, action, and even better special effects. With an ending that couldn’t be any more cliffhanger material, one clearly wants to know what happens next.
It seems that the third season of Once Upon a Time tries to pack in as many fair-tale or storybook characters as it can. First having Peter Pan as the villain in the first half and then the Wicked Witch of the West looks like a bad idea in storytelling terms, with even more having guest star appearances, e.g. Rapunzel or Arielle. But the way how well-known stories are changed and characters are seen in a new light has to be seen to be believed.
The fourth season of Once Upon a Time has even more villains than one can count: first the Snow Queen and then the Maleficent/Cruella Deville/Ursula trio. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work out this time. While the first part desperately tries to have the Disney animated movie Frozen with real actors (but without snowman Olaf), the overacting, especially of Anna and Kristoff, is almost unbearable. Fortunately, it gets much better in the second half, even introducing time travel and the power of storytelling, the latter of which opening all kinds of possibilities of how characters can change for the better and worse.
No movies again this time with so many episodes to watch. Unfortunately only the first four seasons of Once Upon a Time are available for free on Amazon Prime Video, but maybe the remaining three will make an appearance in the future?
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