Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. The pilot.

Grown-up Alice’s first challenge in Wonderland is to escape a lake made of marshmallows, which she does by using a tiny dragon to roast the lake into s’mores.

Hmm, Alice’s psychiatrist is totally right. It DOES sound insane when you say it out loud.

As I watched the first episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, I found myself wondering if I’ve ever seen a worse pilot. It’s amazing in the way that catastrophic floods or mine cave-ins are amazing. All you can do is stand back and wonder: How did this happen?

The short answer is that ABC’s Disney princess fanfiction Once Upon a Time is doing pretty well. And as there are a handful of beloved Disney characters who haven’t been bastardized by that program, why not give them their own spinoff?

We’ve got the usual crew from Alice in Wonderland, although Alice is about 20 years old and engaged to the genie from Aladdin (work past it), and for some reason our villain is Jafar. Who is played by Indian Lionel Richie:

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

An early shoo-in for worst actress on a television show is Emma Rigby, who plays the Red Queen. Young Miss Rigby appears to have celebrated landing this role by going to her plastic surgeon and ordering the double Angelina Jolie. She proves, once and for all, that it is possible to have a permanent duck face. Congratulations, Emma. Another apex of human civilization reached!

Her lips might be bearable if she didn’t also make the wrong choice for every damn line reading. You wish the director had yelled ‘cut’ just once and asked her, “Sweetheart, is that really how you want to do it?” But no one did. So we’re left with a scene where she confronts Jafar whilst crying the entire time for no discernible reason.

A few more train-wreck fascinating moments from the pilot:

  • Alice and her love keep repeating the phrase: “When you really love someone, you don’t need proof” which I pray to god does not turn into this generation’s “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
  • John Lithgow, a man with actual talent, lends his voice to the world’s worst CGI rabbit. You can almost hear the trepidation in his tone, as if the producers just reassured him that it’s going to “look great in post-production!”
  • A lot of time is spent in the Bedlam mental ward as Alice’s doctors try to convince her to have a lobotomy. Is is protocol to have the insane asylum patient sign their own lobotomy papers? Because that seems irresponsible.
  • To save money, the show uses the musical cues from Once Upon a Time. Sure. Why not.


4 stars out of 5

It was nearly perfect in its misguided earnestness. One star off for the nausea-inducing CGI. Although I did love it when Cyrus the genie proposed to Alice above the molten lava ocean in the nuclear holocaust sky. So romantic, sigh.



2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. The pilot.

  1. Pingback: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Episode three. | Two Thumbs Dowd

  2. Pingback: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Episode nine. | Two Thumbs Dowd

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