I know I know, three updates in 24 hours is just too much but I keep watching new things and I kind of owe it to you guys after so sparsely updating the last couple of months. I just finished the pilot of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and while I’m going to stick with it, I have some major issues. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is what happens when companies are rolling in so much money they decide to make a spin-off. Now given that, the premise is actually very Disney and super adorable. Alice falls in love with a genie named Cyrus in Wonderland but loses him in a battle against the Red Queen’s guards. Devastated she returns to London where she is sent to an insane asylum and given the option for, what seems to be, a lobotomy. Before she can get the surgery to erase all of her painful yet beautiful memories with Cyrus the knave of hearts and white rabbit show up and whisk her back to Wonderland on a claim that Cyrus is alive.
Alice is a fantastic character. She’s stubborn, witty, hopelessly in love, and she knows karate. It’s a pretty great match. She is played by Sophie Lowe who I recognize from absolutely nothing alongside the knave of hearts, Will, played by Michael Socha who actually is recognizable as Tom from the British version of Being Human. The White is voiced very obviously by John Lithgow. In the first episode it is revealed that the Red Queen is working with Jafar who is played by Naveen Andrews otherwise known as Sayid from Lost and Akbari from Sinbad. Here’s where I hit the first of my major issues. The Red Queen played by nobody Emma collagen face Rigby. She is portrayed as a total vapid waste of space completely at the whim of Jafar and her tentative usefulness seems to be a deus ex machina attempt to keep her around for sex appeal instead of just killing her off like they should. Coming from such a wonderfully tragic, evil, dimensional villain like Regina in the original Once Upon a Time, I am appalled. Cyrus is pretty cute although his screen time has been minimal. He is played by Peter Gadiot who is a complete no one, but is now a profound someone.
So I don’t really know who to blame and who to praise. Can’t praise casting because they allowed Emma Rigby to happen (though maybe she’ll improve, I always leave room for that) and I can’t blame them either because Sophie Lowe is a diamond. Can’t praise vfx because their blatantly green screen work looks to be circa 2002 but their choices of a chess castle and marshmallow pit are quite well done. Can’t blame the directors because the chemistry between Alice and Cyrus is so beautiful I had goosebumps during any of their scenes but can’t praise because someone told Emma Rigby that she needs to make her face more like a fish and that was a poor call. So really there are major triumphs and major shortcomings in all departments. But for each “yeesh” moment there was a scene that totally had me one billion percent backing Alice and ready for the next adventure. I’m sticking with it in hopes of improvement. Getting the kinks out of a new show can be tough.