One of the things I've always loved about Once Upon a Time is its ability to take characters that we all believe we know so well and give them a completely different twist.
I expected no less from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - and "Down the Rabbit Hole" it didn't disappoint.
The story began when Alice returned home from her trip down the rabbit hole only to find her father completely distraught. Alice had been gone so long he thought her dead. He was so upset that you'd think he wouldn't mind her crazy stories about talking white rabbits and hookah smoking caterpillars.
But when Alice grew up and continued to insist it was all real, well, there's only one thing a loving father could do: Have her tossed into an asylum.
But let's back up a bit. Apparently Alice spent years jumping back down that rabbit hole in the hopes of bringing back proof for her disbelieving father and in her travels to Wonderland something even more unexpected happened…she fell in love.
I'd assume we'll get plenty more back story on Alice and Cyrus the genie, but so far I liked what I saw. Even with the few scenes they shared they had some nice chemistry. I especially liked it when in this Once Upon a Time in Wonderland quote, Cyrus pointed out his disappointment in Alice's father's disbelief…
So you're risking your life for someone who doesn't believe in you. | permalink
That one line made me all the more sad for Alice. Unfortunately her troubles were far from over.
Thankfully she appeared to have one true friend in The Knave of Hearts. One of my favorite scenes was just as Alice has given up and awaits her lobotomy in the asylum. The Knave broke in and convinced her that Cyrus was still alive and back in Wonderland. That's all Alice needed to hear. Suddenly our sullen wallflower was taking down multiple guards using not much more than her shoes.
Who doesn't love a girl who can handle a sword?
That's one of the things I immediately loved about the original Once Upon a Time. That the wimpy Snow White I'd read about or seen in movies didn't exist in this world. Here she picked up a bow and arrow and fought for herself. That's certainly one of the things I liked about Alice here.
Along with the love story and a fair bit of action we also got humor. One of my favorites was when Alice and the Knave of Hearts started sinking in the Mallow Marsh.
Knave: This is humiliating. I'm going to die like a bloody s'more. | permalink
There's plenty to love here in Wonderland. Dragonflies that are actual dragons. A Cheshire cat with some serious bite. A formidable villain in Jafar who has the impressive choking ability of Darth Vader couple with an imposing viper staff and cool flying carpet.
The only one I questioned was the Red Queen. Jafar seemed to overshadow her in the villain department and she didn't have nearly the presence of the original Once Upon a Time's Evil Queen, Regina but since this was just the pilot, I'll give her some time before I draw a final conclusion.
So what did you think of this version of Alice in Wonderland? Were you surprised to see a Wonderland and Aladdin mashup of sorts? And how should Alice use those wishes in her shoe? Grade the premiere now:
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.