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The Cricket Game

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3 Comments/Reviews

  • D. S. Thurlow says:
    60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Big changes in a little town…, December 24, 2012
    By 
    D. S. Thurlow (California) –
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    There are some big changes in Storybrook in this second season of “Once Upon a Time.” With the breaking of the Evil Queen’s spell at the end of last season, Storybrook’s residents are once again aware of their fairy tale identities. However, nothing in this dual world of reality and fairy tale is ever simple. For one thing, no one can leave town. For another, it isn’t easy to get back to the original enchanted land that is home for the characters. For a third, Regina, the once and future evil queen, just can’t seem to go straight, locking horns with Prince Charming, with Mr. Gold, and finally with a long lost relative.

    There will be excitement and enchantment galore in the second season, as the backstories of yet more characters are revealed, and as characters travel between their two worlds. Emma and Snow make a dangerous trip back into the land of enchantment, only to be stranded and left in mortal danger. Their journey will give Snow a chance to teach Emma about motherhood and magic. Along the way, Emma will finally begin to understand that her own powers may extend past her street smarts and pluck. Her journey, and the viewer’s, will be enhanced by meeting THE Captain Hook (who comes with his own complicated backstory) and Jack’s bean stalk (and the Giant). Prince Charming will be acting sheriff in Emma’s absence, and face his own challenges, including a missing Henry and the framing of Red for murder. Regina will struggle to keep a promise to foster son Henry not to use magic, while she and Rumplestiltskin may be compelled, unhappily, to cooperate to face a truly dangerous opponent from their collective past, an opponent who will force life-changing choices on a number of characters.

    One of the attractions of the show is its creative mixing of fairy tales from any genre. How else, for example, to explain Ruby (a werewolf in her alternate identity) talking Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein into performing life-saving surgery on an auto accident victim? “Once Upon a Time: The Second Season” is very highly recommended to its fans, who are likely to enjoy more good storylines and excellent work by a solid ensemble cast.

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  • The Wiz says:
    70 of 79 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Five Stars Isn’t Enough!, December 11, 2012
    By 
    The Wiz (Midwest) –

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    Giants, ogres, werewolves, Frankenstein, Mulan, Captain Hook … what do all the things have in common? Once Upon a Time Season Two, that’s what! This is the series that has single-handedly changed the face of television fantasy and made ABC a major player in creative, prime-time entertainment.

    This show has almost limitless possibilities and (at the writing of this review) is creatively satisfying the potential of an ever-expanding setting while maintaining continuity with previous episodes. To date Once Upon still hasn’t sold out to the HBO/Showtime/AMC paradigm of dark/edgy/gritty; a thematic bandwagon I’m so sick of I could literally vomit and more importantly they stick with the main characters from season one, continuing to develop them in a huge way (e.g. the welcome “manning up” of Charming) while constantly introducing new ones.

    Also, I’ve sort of come to expect sub-standard or straight-up cheesy FX from television as a given and this is where Once Upon just continues to amaze me. What I really find astonishing is when I hear other people actually labeling the CG as bad… I guess I just don’t get it. I mean if we see a dragon on TV we already know it’s not real; we just hope it’s convincing enough to maintain the illusion that the events we’re watching might actually be taking place somewhere… out there. I say kudos to the producers for their frugal reliance on CG which is inherently a technology always one step ahead of being outdated and overly scrutinized as more people become fluent in graphics tech. In other words, too many people know how the trick is done to maintain the illusion if it’s the only trick up the sleeve, so to speak, and so I guess it’s a good thing that Once Upon excels in the areas of camera-work (including green-screen), costumes, sets, lighting, makeup, fighting and action choreography.

    This is a bigger season with more action, lots of unexpected and clever plot twists, new realms and more fantasy than season one with just enough added drama to enhance adult appeal without detracting from the original premise; less emphasis on Emma, spotlight on Charming and Snow as their characters are reinvigorated, less of Henry, much more of The Dark One (i.e. Mr. Gold), sllightly less screen-time for the Evil Queen as new dangers and villains are introduced and based on the way this series is gaining momentum, I’d predict it may very well be a five year run because it just “feels” like the writers, producers, actors etc. actually enjoy what they’re doing. :o)

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  • Greg Ehrbar "'MouseTracksOnline'" says:
    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    “I ate my boyfriend…but we can’t let it stop us.”, August 26, 2013
    By 
    Greg Ehrbar “‘MouseTracksOnline'” (Orlando, FL) –
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    So says Red Riding Hood, who is also a werewolf, to Dr. Whale, who is also Dr. Frankenstein. They’re two residents of Storybrooke, the New England town that wasn’t there before 1983, when the Evil Queen moved the whole population. Sending fairy tale characters from their enchanted world to the modern world isn’t new to ABC–a short lived, broadly played sitcom called The Charmings had a similar premise. But Once Upon a Time is a sumptuous “theme park opera” in which the relationships and the relatives are as serpentine as Maleficent the dragon.

    Season Two brought the realization to the characters that they were actual fairy tale people. They didn’t believe young Henry last year, but like the existence of Mr. Snuffle-Upagus, eventually you can’t keep denying the truth. So now the characters have dual essences; they remember who they were and who they are. Prince Charming (or should I say “Cool Hand Charming?”) takes control and sets the town straight. Snow White and Emma Swan realize they’re mother and daughter, and are embarrassed about all the intimate talks they shared (apparently Snow had a one-night stand, but it was caused by a spell).

    The season also brings us the even evil-er Queen Cora, played by Barbara Hershey (who renamed herself “Barbara Seagull” in the `70s to draw attention to the plight of the species, and then changed it back). Was the name “Cora” drawn from the character Margaret “Wicked Witch of the West” Hamilton played in hundreds of Maxwell House commercials before her passing?

    The other major newcomer is the beardy, Revlon-eyed Captain Hook, played with vim and vigor (but mostly vim) by Colin O’Donoghue, who in a bonus feature seems to be shocked by the amorous attention he apparently is getting from fans. (It’s not like he asked to wear the sleek leather outfit with the flowing cape and the shiny chain around his neck and the shirt open to there, ladies!) Hook is much better in the second half of the season when he settles into a supporting role. He plays well off the other actors, who have really honed their roles and created a nice chemistry. The whole season seems to really kick into gear by the midway point.

    Moving right along to biology, what’s with Snow White and the Prince doin’ it on camera, as their daughter and grandson enter the bedchamber? Without being a spoiler, Snow is racked with guilt about another deed, yet after being found together with nothing on but a 250-count cotton percale, they wait for their family to leave and get back to gettin’ it on. Even Mom and Dad Dunphy were shocked, embarrassed and angry when their kids discovered them doing the same thing, and they’re not even Disney characters.

    No matter how complex the storylines get and the double crosses get double crossed this season, the standard bearers for the series remain Lana Parilla as Regina the Evil Queen (what’s really magic is how she never smears that ruby red lip gloss) and Robert “Full Monty” Carlyle as Rumpel Stiltskin (but you can call him “Rumpel”).
    Like Dark Shadows, another ABC series, in which vampire Barnabas was racked with guilt about his murderous condition, yet slipped in and out of being a hero and a villain, so do Regina and Rumpel. Between that classic conflict and their acting skills, they’re the ones upon which most of the rest of the show radiates. They can’t turn nice, or you’d have no story. But you find yourself hoping they’ll reform. And they do, then they don’t, then they do.

    Season two of Once Upon a Time looks like a movie on Blu-ray. The details of the costuming and art direction show up nicely. The special effects are mostly impressive, though the seams show once in a while. But you just couldn’t do a show with the illusory sets and vistas in this series back in the day, before green screens and digital effects made such things faster and more economically feasible for TV.

    And now for the bonus features (wait, let me get out my invisible chalk). This set has some of the most entertaining on any DVD set. Ariel Winter of Modern Family traces the convoluted family trees of the characters, so completely outlandish that even the cast themselves has trouble keeping it straight. Several interesting audio commentaries add to the understanding of how stories were created and how the actors approached their roles, especially after the curse ended, and they had to be two people in one. Gennifer “Snow” Goodwin explains that “Bobby” Carlyle actually changes Rumpel’s behavior based on which character he encounters. Carlyle himself has assigned numbers to the levels of Rumpel’s intensity. This is why I love commentaries!

    The gem of the bonus features is a spoof of Good Morning America that features funny commercials (particularly the one for Granny’s Diner in which Red does her impression of SCTV’s Edna Boil) and the cast gets to have fun making fun. Check out how unctuous Doctor Whale is in…

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