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Season 6 May be Once Upon a Time‘s Last… But it May Set the Stage for Another Spin-Off


Once Upon a Time has been struggling in terms of ratings this season, which is sad to hear because this is a show that started out as one of my favorites… and yet, even I have to admit that I’ve lagged behind on watching it these days.

For the first three seasons, I was hooked, and in the later seasons, I remained one of the show’s biggest defenders—even during the Frozen season (season 4), which is when most of my friends stopped watching. I guess the idea of Frozen characters appearing in OUAT was just too corny to bear, but “corny” is OUAT‘s best quality, I think. I maintain that the Frozen season wasn’t actually that bad, but in general, I do think the show has struggled to figure out how to stay fresh without resorting to the same storylines over and over.

How many times can we watch a rotating roster of evil villains, usually evil queens, flip-flop back and forth between choosing to be evil or not? I mean, I love evil queens, but even I can get tired of an evil queen storyline eventually. And how many times can Snow get separated from her Prince before we stop caring about their “I will find you” refrain? And how tired are we all of Henry? I’m also mega-exhausted with Rumplestiltskin and Belle, a romance that I’ve been rooting against since day one, but which still inexplicably remains a major sticking point on this show. There are plenty of storylines that keep me coming back, no matter how repetitive they may be—but the old standbys of “evil character gets redeemed, then becomes evil again, then gets redeemed, etc” just doesn’t resonate as much in season 6 as it did in seasons 1-3. I can only watch so many redemption arcs before I lose faith in what I’m being asked to accept narratively, y’know?

So, I admit, it came as a bit of a relief to me to read that Once Upon a Time may finally be closing the book after season 6. The show’s creators will be planning a satisfying season finale at the end of that sixth season, according to Deadline. OUAT‘s season 7, if it happens at all, will bring us something different, either in the form of a spin-off show, or in the form of a different type of storyline. ABC’s entertainment prez put it this way:

“Regardless of what we decide to do at the end of this season, I think they think they would put a little bit of a bow here, and then there is a next piece that comes after that, so they are trying to figure out what that is and how that works.”

As for the further ideas from the OUAT creative team, ABC confirmed that “there was some interesting stuff” when it came to the other ideas on the table for season 7 (or for the potential spin-off), so perhaps these folks have an ace up their sleeve on further storylines.

The spin-off idea is more just a rumor, but I actually think it sounds like a great idea. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland wasn’t my thing, although I did watch it, and I did respect the risk-taking spirit of the show. I’d definitely be interested to see Once attempt that a second time, assuming ABC agrees to it. If the show does choose a new setting and a new direction, where would you like to see it go? Which storylines do you most wish they would explore? Tell me your heart’s desire.

(via Deadline, image via ABC)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (