1. Let's make a few things clear. First: I do torture myself by watching the original Once Upon a Time. It has its moments, what. Second: I love the story of Alice and most of its adaptation. Third: I'm not only in this for Michael Socha, but it feels like I am because the rest... frankly fails to measure up. ;) It feels like Michael's part was written by someone else. Maybe even Michael himself. XD
2. So, Michael. A.k.a. the Knave of Hearts. Cute, sassy as hell, funny - and Alice is seriously blind because look at the Knave, then look at the sappy guy she's chosen, and tell me what's wrong with this picture. On the other hand, I'm glad the Knave isn't anyone's love interest... yet. With OUAT, it's always until they find you someone.
I'm really curious about the Knave's backstory too. Alice mentions helping him get his heart back; in OUAT-verse people without hearts can range from being flat-out evil (like Cora) to simply not feeling anything (like Graham). But the Knave says he's done some bad things, so maybe we'll see Michael playing smn evil-ish, which is cool and would be a nice contrast to the cutie the Knave is now. ;) Also: how did the Knave end up in Storybrooke? And did he time-travel for Alice or is Alice's England in some other parallel, like Frankenstein's homeland? Questions, questions.
3. The relationship between the Knave and Alice seems pretty interesting. So much sass. XD I don't really remember the Knave of Hearts in the book, but he was pretty much a scoundrel in Tim Burton's movie (which is probably my favourite Alice movie); it's nice to see a different approach. Considering Alice is taken, their relationship is probably going to be on the bantering friends/brother-sister dynamics' side. Which is fine by me.
Also, I do have a thing for reluctant heroes and the Knave seems to fit the bill. ;) I wonder if he met Jefferson in Storybrooke. Also, while we're at it, can I just say how disappointed I am that the fan theory of Alice being the mother of the Hatter's daughter hasn't come true? I ship Alice with Mad Hatter in all verses where he's hot (that is, in Tim Burton's movie and Syfy's mini-series); and Jefferson was much more fun than this Cyrus guy.
4. Alice herself was not bad, but hey, of course they had to give her a love story. I feel a bit sorry for the people who came into this show without watching OUAT because you guys don't know what you're dealing with. XD These people are obsessed with love! Especially the stomach-churning, hand-holding, eye-gazing, "I will always find you" type of love. Personally I'd follow the advice of Captain Jack Sparrow:
We've got Alice kicking ass, we've got Alice being sassy with the Knave, we've got Alice suffering and pining, and all that is fine, but I just wish she had some other agenda aside from looking for her lost love. As with multiple Snow Whites, it is inevitable that the new Alice is compared to her predecessors, and so far the odds are largely against this one, at least in my opinion. She started out as this inspiring adventurer whose goal was to a) travel and have fun; b) to prove to her father that Wonderland was real. But of course she had to meet a guy, lose a guy and consequently lose herself.
It would help if the love interest had some personality beyond spouting standard romantic cliches for Alice to parrot later, but nope. Apparently that's too much to ask.
5. Jafar. He's pretty badass. He's on par with Regina in her evil days or perhaps even Cora (does he have a heart, I wonder?), and I do hope he's not interested in getting a girl (they could always throw Jasmine into the mix, you never know). So far he's demonstrated a Darth Vader-like choke, an ability to fly the magic carpet very dramatically and some evil presence that makes him if not compelling, then at least intriguing.
I don't really have high hopes for this because OUAT has the tendency to either kill or woobify its villains, but I'm curious about Jafar's agenda and what he needs a genie for. It helps that at the end of the episode he addresses Cyrus quite a shippy look. Then again, we've already established that Cyrus presents no interest to me whatsoever.
7. The Red Queen. This has been a major disappointment right from the trailer. She looks like a participant of a Russian Pop Idol. >_< She has an annoying voice and she completely lacks the presence of Regina and Cora. So far OUAT-verse boasted pretty good female villains, and I don't know if it's the writing or the acting that make the Red Queen so bland and unimpressive, but she'll have to try a lot harder than this. So far she looks like a pathetic Regina/Cora wannabe. Considering Cora was the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland, I wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional.
But! BUT! Here's another Being Human connection: this actress is none other than Brandy Mulligan from Becoming Human, one of the suspects in Matt's murder. ;)
7. Wonderland. I was never overly fond of how they portrayed Wonderland in OUAT. It seemed too cartoonish and very obviously CGI, but I guess it's partly the budget constraints. I still don't see why they had to turn Cheshire into some monstrous form of Khoshekh from Welcome to Night Vale.
He's not voiced by Stephen Fry, hence he's not the real Cheshire Cat. 'Nuff said.
As for the other trademark characters, so far we've seen the Caterpillar (who is voiced by IGGY POP, so bring it on!) and the White Rabbit who is cute but seems to have some secrets up his sleeve. Not bad.
All in all, the show presents everything one might expect from an OUAT spin-off: an interesting fairy tale cocktail, adventures, magic, annoying true love drivel, a couple of interesting characters and a couple of dull ones, BUT it has this snarky cuteness, so yes, give me more. ;)
Btw gotta love how both the Knave and the Hatter bitch about how they hate Wonderland. XD