Well, Once Upon A Time came to as good of an end as it could, seeing as it was a very long and convoluted story. Ultimately, (spoiler alert) everyone lived happily ever after until such time as something else might come along. Some characters got their happy ending, others met unfortunate ends, and some characters are really only beginning their lives and we can assume that they will go on to have many more adventures – we just won’t get to see them anymore.
And that’s a good thing.
I loved this show and certainly enjoyed watching it and following the story for seven years, even if I didn’t watch it consistently this past year. I enjoyed the stories and the characters. I do think that it was a show about hope that inspired many people – myself included. But it was getting to the point where it needed to end.
I really liked that they reinvented the story for the seventh season, bringing in new characters and a new setting. That was badly needed – but also alienated a lot of fans. I like shows to change and evolve, but I can see why some might think that it was just getting too complicated or too different from its original premise.
The first season of the show felt like a miniseries – as a lot of shows initially do. It told a tight-knit story that resolved in a fairy-tale fashion in the season finale. If the show had not been renewed, it would have still been a very good story in of itself. However, as soon as the show continued, the writers had to come up with new ideas and weave it into the original story. The setting expanded. More characters appeared. The rules of magic had to keep being updated. But most importantly, the villains gradually transformed into heroes in their own right, while the heroes became increasingly complex and took their turns into villainy. For those who wanted a straightforward fairy tale, this show was not that.
But that was arguably part of the point of the show. It is a story about hope, change, and good triumphing over evil. Not “good guys” triumphing over “bad guys” – but the good in each character triumphing over the evil. That is why the three main villains of the story become heroes. Incidentally, that is why those characters also became the most popular with fans as well as the writers – they were much more relatable and we wanted to see them win over the evil in themselves.
What I also enjoyed about this show is whenever I thought the writers had painted themselves into a corner, they managed to bring the story back to its main focus in a believable way. Sometimes, the story arcs were a bit painful, but they ended mercifully. I admire the way the writers decided to go ahead with story arcs anyhow, making the show feel like a book series. We got to explore themes and worlds, meeting new characters that we wanted more of or that we wanted to see die in one episode. The core characters remained the same, but we would have grown tired of them without the guest characters.
Because of the subject matter and the relatively family-friendly (er, child-friendly) nature of the show, especially in later seasons, Once Upon A Time will probably continue to have a loyal fanbase. Its themes are timeless and it not even very dated in its “real-world” portions. Let’s face it, it’s also a Disney product, so it is going to be well-marketed!
I enjoyed this seven-year run and definitely think that the 150 hours of my life that I spent to watch it (although slightly less, since I PVR’d a lot of episodes and skipped through the commercials) were worth it.