TV: Once Upon A Time 1.5 “That Still Small Voice” Review (*)

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Reviews, Television
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Most new shows don’t really settle into their niche until a few episodes in, and Once Upon a Time is no different. After an interesting premise and its mainstream reach subsides, Once is unfortunately nothing more than a cheesy pre-teen farce that appears unable to mature past its own hackneyed writing and flawed vision. Of course, it’s strong viewership will remain due to an untapped market of women who miss the fairy tales of yesteryear. But in reality, this series only clouds our memories of Disney’s greats, of stories that have been dumbed down to the Bieber generation. Timeless stories deserve respect and reverence, not another opportunity for networks to make a cheap buck.

“That Still Small Voice” continues that tradition, however, as it introduces Jiminy Cricket to the fold. In parallel storybook universe, Jiminy is unhappily stealing money from innocent bystanders as part of the family business. In Storybrooke, he’s Henry’s psychologist, often getting bullied by Regina Mills. After an improbable earthquake, Henry and Jiminy are stuck inside the mine…a lame storyline to allow the new Deputy Sheriff Emma Swan to save the day.

I’m  not exactly sure what episodes like “That Still Small Voice” are supposed to do for the series. I get it, Henry is the only person who knows the truth. But must he be so unbearably annoying? If this was a real child in our midst, he would get beaten up before you could say Cinderella. And I get it, Emma is Henry’s real mother and his greatest advocate. But must she have a deer stuck-in-the-headlights look the entire time. And realistically, what grown woman only listens to the wild fantastical ideas of a strange boy? And yes, I certainly get that Regina Mills is a bitch. You’ve established that a dozen times per episode. Show me something about these characters I don’t know. Because for now, all they’re doing is standing in as props to introduce the latest, coolest reinvention of a well-known fairy tale character.

Once Upon a Time only has one thing going for it thus far and it’s Ginnifer Goodwin. But even her irresistible charm and inane sweetness is not immune to terrible writing. As she continues to communicate with the real Prince Charming and their inevitable romance blossoms, we’re stuck with hit-my-head-against-the-wall lines like “There’s only one thing real here. You.” and “Wait…see you tomorrow?”

I’m not sure I can blame the shows creators or ABC for putting on this load of crap on primetime television. Because even though it is not nearly half the show that The Walking Dead or The Good Wife are, it will probably surpass them in ratings. And we know why. In our Twilight-infused audience, all you need is a little love, pretty dresses and magical hoopla, and viola! You’ve got a hit show. If only it provided me with a sleeping spell too. Wake me up when this is cancelled.


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