Friday, November 14, 2014

Countdown: Top Season Returns for 2014/2015 -- #4 Once Upon A Time

Now that we're well and truly back into the viewing season, I'm giving out the first ever awards for best returning series. Ending a season in some ways is the easy part, that's when the climax happens, and other all sorts of exciting things. But much like writing a book where you need to hook your readers withing the first chapter, starting off a season can be challenging, and if its not done right, viewers can be quickly lost and ratings destroyed for the remainder of the year, which can of course result in a show being cancelled.
In separate blog posts, I'll be listing the top four shows that I think have started their new season off with a strong lead, followed by some honorable mentions. 
To start us off, sitting at the number four slot is Once Upon a Time...

The end of season three was quite well done by the writers/creators. Many things were resolved (Captain Swan ship, anyone?) but there were also many new questions raised, and we were given a hint about the new characters for season four. The new season has picked up almost where the last left off. The townsfolk realize there is a new player in town when a snow monster goes stomping around, followed by a giant ice wall surrounding the town. Regina lost her new love in Robin Hood when Emma accidentally brought his dead wife forward through time with her. Regina's good/evil struggle has been very interesting and I think handled very well by the writers.
For the Outlaw Queen shippers (I think that's what they're calling it) we've been given sparks of hope for the couple. Robin Hood's wife was cursed by a freezing spell and someone suggested that true love's kiss would break it. He tried, but nothing happened. Regina offered the explanation that the ice was acting as a barrier. Later, Robin admitted that he thought it hadn't worked because he was in love with someone else. Regina was obviously elated at this revelation, but respectful of Robin's choice to be with Marian for the sake of their son and the fact that she is his wife.
However, for the time being, Marian is frozen solid -- not dead, but not alive. There isn't any foreseeable solution to this, though Regina did promise Robin she would find a way. In the meantime, there has been a lot of Outlaw Queen angst as Regina tries in vain to find a solution for unfreezing Marian, only to come up short, while Robin struggles with his love for Regina, his lack of feelings for Marian, and even his own sense of identity. In this week's episode, viewer were treated to a moment that no doubt all Outlaw Queen shippers were waiting for. It was obvious that Robin's struggle was becoming harder, and no matter how many times Regina asked him to leave her alone and forget about her, he just couldn't do it. After talking to Will Scarlett (whose character had been brought across from the failed Wonderland spin-off), Will offered some advice along the lines of if your love isn't worth destroying your entire life over, then what's the point? He was talking in terms of Marian, but instead of helping Robin remember his feelings for his frozen wife, it instead sent him to Regina. I'll admit, the scene that followed is the type us romance authors dream about writing.I could try to recount it, but I know I wouldn't do it justice. Watching it unfold is so much better!

On the Captain Swan ship, things aren't all roses and love hearts for the golden couple either. Emma feels bad that she ruined Regina's relationship and feels she doesn't deserve any of her own relationship happiness until that is resolved. However she also confessed to Hook a few weeks back that every single guy she's ever dated is dead, and she doesn't want to lose him as well. Hook replied with a typically macho "you don't need to worry about me" response. Still, I'm sure these issues are far from resolved and it will be interesting to see how they continue evolving over the coming season.
This past week, Emma was confronted with the fact that her family can be a bit nervous about her and her newish powers, when Mary-Margaret hesitated to hand over Emma's baby brother only moments after displaying a burst of uncontrolled magic. Later in the episode, Emma blew out an entire wall in the sheriff's station, followed by dropping a lamp post that almost took out David. Although technically Hook wasn't one of the ones seeming wary of her, he did try to get closer when she told them not to, before taking off in her car.
This is playing right into the hands of the Evil Snow Queen, who turned out to be a different snow queen than Elsa, which bring us to the other interesting element to this season in the introduction of Elsa and the mystery of what happened to Ana.
The writers/creators were pretty clever in jumping on the Frozen juggernaut, and already the legend used in OUAT has been slightly altered and built on by the writers. Its going to be fascinating to see how they build it through the rest of the season, however, if there's even and hint of Elsa singing "Let it Go" I won't be held responsible for my actions!

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