Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Attack of the Disney Princesses

   Several folks had warned me that the second season of ABC's Once Upon a Time wasn't as good as the first. In some ways that's to be expected, as a major plot point of season one, once resolved, changed the entire direction of the series.
   Another point that was made to me was that Disney is apparently shoehorning as many of their characters into the series as possible, whether it make sense or not. This particular point was brought home the other night when I watched an episode that featured central character Emma Swan teamed up with Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Mulan. I mean, how many princesses do you need in one episode? And I left out Beauty and the Beast's Belle, who was also in the episode, just not part of the princess strike force. I'm steering clear of spoilers for the current Season, but I did see that Tinkerbelle has shown up, as well as Ariel the Little Mermaid. (From stills I've seen of Ariel in costume she ain't so little anymore. Ahem.)
   Anyway, I'm still enjoying the show, but it does have a very different vibe in Season 2. I do like the focus on alternate realities and the points where they cross. It's been determined that fictional characters from worlds other than the Fairy Tale realm can show up in Storybrooke. Doctor Frankenstein, for instance. Oh. And I'm not seeing nearly enough Evil Queen in these episodes, ABC.


Rachel said...

Oh yay, another OUaT post so I can stop being a lazy git and actually follow-up on an earlier comment I made about the show. I've only seen Season One and it was a while ago so there won't be any spoilers of season two but I also might not remember all the stuff I initially thought. When the show first started I really liked the pattern that the show seemed to be using. Set up a problem, Emma (with sidekicks) investigates and (usually) solves it and it was usually the Evil Queen behind it all doing her awesome Evilly thing. I also liked the side story of Prince Charming and Snow White not being together in modern times and getting to see them fight for the kingdom in old times. That side plot quickly devolved into Prince Charming being a stupid prick over and over and there are only so many times I can want to see someone given another chance (like maybe once). Anyway, back to the main thing... after a while it felt like Emma was just strolling between events watching stuff happen. She becomes the sheriff but there's not much sheriffing to do, even in a loose sense. I was really drawn to the problem solving angles of the earlier episodes. Then Rumpelstiltskin became a bigger and bigger character and I never liked him. Plus, I liked Evil Queen so much more that it made me like Rumpsy even less. I wanted more of her evil and way less of his. By the second half of the season I was basically watching for Red Riding Hood. I loved her stories and always wanted to see more of that character. So basically, all the aspects of the show I liked best became used less and less as time went on which is what made me lose interest and stop watching.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Rachel, I know what you mean. It seems like the first few episodes were more self contained and so had more structure. As the series progressed the overarching storyline moved to the front so it all became one long story and you lost the set-up/investigate/resolve structure. The second season is even more like that, so probably best that you moved on.
I had problems with Charming/David's behavior as well. I know that 'romantic tension' is a big pull for some fans but the whole "now we can be together, no wait no we can't, no wait yes we can, no wait.." thing begins to wear on me after a while. The end of season one resolved that with Charming and Snow, but then they switched it to Emma for the second season.
I did enjoy the second season, but a lot of that was just the crossover aspect. Doctor Frankenstein meets Snow White. Snow teams up with Aurora and Mulan. Red and Snow go hunting. I love that kind of thing.
I like Red/Ruby as well. So far she hasn't even shown up in the first three episodes of season three, which is a shame. Maybe soon.
I will admit to rather liking Mr. Gold. It's funny but my two favorite characters on the show are both villains. Regina, of course, gets the top spot because she's hot.

Rachel said...

Sounds like it was about time for me to move on. I have lots of good memories from Season One but I would imagine if I continued with the series I'd keep heaping on the bad memories and forget what I enjoyed in the first place.

As a fan of romance, and romantic tension, I'd love to get the job of Romantic Tension Consultant. I'd say about 95% of the time I hate romantic tension in series (TV, books, whatever) and I feel it's a major technique failure when a Fan is continually put off. I have a lot of specific ideas on how romantic tension can be deployed in much better ways. I find I'm often editing romance subplots in my head.

I'm pretty convinced that shows of this nature actually hinge on the villains. Without a good villain how do you maintain this type of narrative structure? My thoughts are that you can't... and with the villains being so integral to the story they often end up being favorite characters. In my experience anyway. :)