NYCC Once Upon a Time Puts a New Curse on a New

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first_imgStay on target Season seven of Once Upon a Time is a weird thing. During the panel at New York Comic Con, show creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and actress Lana Parilla called it a “preboot,” meaning half-pilot, half-reboot. It’s a strange word, but after seeing the first episode of season seven, there really isn’t a better way to describe it. The premiere, screened during the panel just a few hours before it aired last night, feels almost like a brand new show. Almost. It’s certainly a reset for the show, but it’s hard to imagine anyone new jumping on here. So many of the show’s big moments rely heavily on you having seen the six seasons that came before. Of course, if you’re tuning into a show’s seventh season on a Friday night, chances are you’re a pretty big fan of it. Even if it’s starting over to some degree.The premiere fills in some of the gaps between most of last season’s finale and its final scene. We see Henry (played by Jared Gilmore for one scene) decide he has to leave Storybrooke and find his own story. Since he wrapped up the last one, he discovered that there are multiple versions of each fairy tale, one for every country. He takes off to another fairy tale land to meet them. On a motorcycle. I know he’s grown up a lot since season one, but watching this kid try to look cool on a motorcycle is freaking hilarious. After a quick cut, somehow the adult Henry Mills (now played by Andrew West) is a… Swyft… driver in Seattle. He’s also an author who wrote one book (basically the plot of the last six seasons) and can’t seem to get his second one started. Man, that’s a depressingly accurate picture of the life of an artist in Seattle right now.Andrew J. West, Alison Fernandez (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC)The show reiterates the final moments of last season’s finale, where a young girl shows up at his door claiming to be his daughter, and the cycle begins anew. One episode in to the new season, there are already some interesting twists on the familiar formula. That’s going to be most of the fun of this season. Once Upon a Time spent six years building up our expectations, and now it has a fantastic opportunity to turn them back around on us. As far as that goes, the premiere does a decent job. The new Cinderella Henry meets in the new Enchanted Forest wants to kill the prince rather than marry him. She backs off at the last minute, only for her stepmother to finish the job and blame her. Henry helps Cinderella escape, and the sword fight that follows is actually pretty great. The action and twists on the familiar on display in this scene alone give me hope for this whole “preboot” idea.Somehow (I’m sure we’ll find out in the season to come), Henry and Cinderella get married, have a daughter, and then get cursed. How many times has this happened to Henry’s family now? Cinderella is now a single mother working at a fried chicken place in Seattle. Her stepmother is the head of a large company in a fake neighborhood of Seattle. She’s buying up all the old staples of the community and rapidly gentrifying the neighborhood to force all the fairy tale people out. The Seattle geography may be all over the place, but that’s surprisingly accurate. Is Cinderella’s stepmother secretly Jeff Bezos?Lana Parilla (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC)The coolest part of all this is the new roles for the returning cast. Under the new curse, Regina is no longer a queen. She runs a bar called Roni’s that’s about to be sold to Victoria Belfry, Cinderella’s evil stepmother. She gets to play the underdog hero this time, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Especially when she stands up to Belfry, deciding that she doesn’t want to sell the bar after all. (“Roni’s pretty badass,” said Parilla at the panel.) The absolute best though, the transformation that got the biggest cheer during the panel screening, was Hook. He’s a cop now. Even better, by the end of the episode, he gets promoted to detective and assigned a partner: Rumplestiltskin. He’s an SPD detective, and kind of a dirty one, from the look of things. If the rest of the season is a buddy cop movie starring Hook and Rumple, that’ll be just fine with me.The new twists to the formula are a lot of fun, and might be able to make this whole thing work. At the very least, it doesn’t feel like they’re retreading old ground. That’s a pretty big accomplishment, considering these characters have yet again suffered a memory curse. The harder-edged Alice is also a fun idea, and probably the one good thing to come out of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I’m still not convinced by the setting. As much fun as I find it to nitpick the fictional geography of my hometown, a fake neighborhood inserted into a major city just doesn’t feel as magical. A small town in Maine is remote enough that even without a magic barrier, you could believe that the characters were trapped there. When Henry can’t seem to escape a neighborhood, the stakes don’t feel as high. Oh no, he’s trapped a few blocks away from his apartment. After the first episode, I’m not ready to wash my hands of the series, nor am I about to proclaim that Once Upon a Time is the best it’s ever been. I’m interested. I’m curious to see where they go from here, and what they’ve set up could be a lot of fun. It’s a completely different version of the story we know. That’s cool enough to get us through a few episodes at least.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Hands-On: Monster Energy Supercross is More Exciting Than Soft DrinksCosplay Gallery: New York Comic Con 2017, Part 2 last_img

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