HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Once Upon A Time : The Complete Second Season
HTS Overall Score:81
I remember seeing the previews for “Once Upon a Time” while I was at the gym several years ago. My first thought was “yeah right, THIS isn’t going to last out the season”. Low and behold the series took off and has not only garnered a second season, but a third is on its way shortly. Naturally I became curious since I’m a great fan of fantasy TV series and the like. I grew up watching things such as “The Tenth Kingdom” and was greatly pleased when “Grimm” took off like it did. So that meant a binge of “Once Upon a Time” was in order. The first season went by like lightening and I was shocked how much fun the series was. There’s good old fashioned magical curses, some great drama between the Queen and her followers and the FANTASTIC inclusion of Robert Carlysle as Rumplestiltskin.
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen season one.
Fast forward to season two and the curse has now been lifted. Storybrooke knows it’s past and Emma has been reunited with her mother. Only problem is Rumplestiltskin still has a plan or two up his sleeve. Add that to the fact that dwarves figure out that if anyone leaves Storybrooke they lose their memories again, which poses a problem for getting back. Magic has oozed into the real world and there are some drastic consequences for its uses. Alas it seems some new villains have made their way back as well and are reeking just as much havoc as the magic. Emma once more stand firm and draw upon every ally she can to stop this new evil. Along with these allies comes a mysterious rogue who straddles the line of friend or foe at one point or another, Killian Jones (albeit most people recognize him with the more common name of “Captain Hook”). This all adds even more weight to the already slightly bloated cast, as well as a dense and twisting plot.
Once upon a time is a bit of a mystery, at times It’s so densely convoluted that you wanna scream, but each time they give us just enough of a glimpse at what’s going on that you’re instantly addicted to watching the next episode, or impatiently pacing in front of the TV, waiting for the next episode to air. This is NOT a series to just jump in on the second season though. It can be episodic in nature at times, but the overarching plot line is rather meaty and requires the building blocks of previous episodes to fully comprehend. A person jumping in mid-season would be as hopelessly lost as an alligator in Antarctica. I give credit to the writers for leaving no man behind (or storyline) and giving some incredible depth into each and every character. Many times I’m left frustrated when characters and plotlines are just left on the sidelines and ditched, but not here. Everyone’s past, present and sometimes future, are delved into with great gusto and fleshes out the characters into well rounded people.
There are some caveats to that though. This season felt a bit character bloated and with too many side stories going on it kind of lost focus at times. Many characters are just “guests” as a result. The real saviors for this show are Rumplestiltskin (as always) and the dashing and debonair Captain Hook. Robert Carliysle is always a crowd pleaser and a favorite actor of mine, so his presence in a TV series usually elevates it just by his being there (as it die with Stargate Universe). However, Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), sweeps in and takes over as both hero and villain alike to charm the ladies, save the day, and add some flair to the show. As with everything nowadays there’s a team. I almost fell over laughing when I saw that the Captain Hook followers had dubbed themselves “Hookers” (I kid you not!). With the main women of the show falling into some rather mundane melodrama, the addition of a new swashbuckler was a welcome addition to the show and added some MUCH needed spice. As you can tell by the ending of Season 2, fans of Captain Hook should be well pleased that he’s been cast as a new recurring main character. With this season also comes a new feel and tone to the show. The first season was actually rather light and fluffy for the most part, but this season decides to become a bit darker, ala “Grimm”, and becomes a bit more serious and deep. As a result it adds some depth to the show that was needed, in my opinion
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12481[/img]Hmmmmmmmmmmm, It looks like ABC Films and Disney have taken a step up this year. Last year’s season 1 Blu-ray was a decent picture, but there was just a few ripples in it that didn’t allow for perfection. This season looks simply stunning. Sure we still have some cringe worthy CGI moments due to its TV budget, but “Once Upon a Time” looks infinitely better this year with colors that literally just POP on screen and fantastic detail. The colors are so rich and saturated that you can’t forget that you’re watching a live action fairy for a moment. Greens and reds and blues swirl together to paint a rich and luscious tapestry of color that is unparalleled in most other pictures. Detail is stunning, in both close up facials and standard shots. Contrasts are nice and balanced with pleasing skin tones. There was a small handful of times I noticed some color banding, but that was few and far between. Blacks were deep and inky with compromising the shadow detail. Overall a great picture and a worthy upgrade from last season’s offerings.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12482[/img]Again, another upgrade. Last season was rather “blah” in the audio department and this year the mix is quite a bit better. The show is definitely front loaded, that’s for sure, but it IS a tv series, so that’s to be expected. However, the surrounds are used quite well when they are used and add some dimensionality to the battles and ambient forest noises. Sound detail and clarity are impressive, with small noises like doors opening and shutting and footsteps replicated beautifully in Storybrooke. The ambience is just “richer” and “fuller” than last season by a good margin. LFE is an improvement too, with some deep weight behind the score and overall just a nice low end throughout. Its dynamic range is smooth, without any dips or peaks that stand out as being unbalanced and dialogue (which is the show’s front runner” is perfectly legible at all times. Overall, it’s a solid track that does everything that’s thrown at it quite well, just not to perfection.
• Audio Commentaries (Six separate Actor commentaries)
• A Fractured Family Tree
• Deleted Scenes
• Girl Power
• Sincerely, Hook
• Good Morning Storybrooke
• Fairest Bloopers of Them All
A bit darker, and a bit scarier than the first season, “Once Upon a Time” is still a fun romp and a much needed addition to ABC’s lineup of shows. Cast as its forerunner, now that “Lost” is gone, it’s pulling in viewers like crazy and it’s hard to miss why. A TINY bit of a step down from Season one, plotwise, it’s still got enough pizzazz and fun up it’s sleeve to garner a third season (and hopefully more followers). With some GREAT video and solid audio scores I say this is a buy for all fans of the show. And if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre at all, it’s definitely worth checking out for those who haven’t been paying attention.
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlysle, Josh Dallas
Created by: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English: DD 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 946 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Buy Once Upon A Time: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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