Sophie Lowe as Alice
Once Upon a Time In Wonderland
ABC, Thursdays 8/7 Central
Oct 10, 2013
When Alice (Sophie Lowe) returns from Wonderland, everyone thinks she is crazy. This is the premise of Once Upon a Time In Wonderland, the spin-off/brand extension of ABC's successful fairy tale amalgam, Once Upon a Time. Alice's father institutionalizes her so she can be de-programmed of her Wonderland delusions. This includes her falling in love with Cyrus (Peter Gadiot), a genie in a bottle. Just when it looks like she's going to have a physical de-programming, the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and a rose-tinted bespectacled White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow) show up to rescue her. Turns out Alice learned some martial arts skills in Wonderland. She flattens everyone on her way out of the institution, returning to Wonderland and all its dangers, including the Red Queen (Emma Rigby) who is responsible for Cyrus' presumed death. Plotting with and against Jafar (Lost's Naveen Andrews) the Queen uses Alice as a pawn in her schemes as Alice searches for Cyrus.
Wonderland is combined with Arabian Nights fairy tale concepts such as flying carpets and genies, which is a little far-fetched, even by fantasy standards. Plus, Wonderland is a way more dangerous place than what Lewis Carroll imagined. These fantastical ideas visually oscillate between the finely sketched ones of the novels portrayed in saturated colors and minute detail to, more often than not, shaky CGI segments such as the ridiculous, cheap-looking one between Alice, the Cheshire Cat (turned terrifying big cat), and the Knave. The actors, with the exception of Lowe—whose portrayal is so dedicated, one wonders whether she shouldn't actually be committed—seem embarrassed by their roles more than anything else. Instead of the struggling, intertwining storytelling of Once Upon a Time, Wonderland is your basic quest tale. Yet the main storyline isn't strong enough and the incongruous peripheral elements just confuse rather than engage the viewer. (www.abc.go.com/shows/once-upon-a-time-in-wonderland)
Author rating: 3/10
Average reader rating: 2/10
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