red queen once upon a time in wonderland premiere 'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland' premiere: Are you down the rabbit hole?ABC premiered “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” Thursday (Oct. 10), a spinoff  of its popular family program “Once Upon a Time.” This iteration takes place in pre-curse Wonderland, though like its predecessor, the show is full of mash-ups and not strictly telling the Lewis Carroll story with which you may or may not be familiar.

To clarify something we’ve seen some confusion about — the female villain in “OUAT in Wonderland” is the Red Queen (Emma Rigby, pictured above), not to be confused with the Queen of Hearts, who we all know is Cora, Regina’s mother. In Carroll’s books, the Queen of Hearts is from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and the Red Queen is from “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.”

You may have noticed the Red Queen’s chess piece palace (which is awesome) — that’s because she is the Red Queen from a chess game. Looking-Glass Land is a giant chessboard — as the Red Queen says, “I said we’d settle up when the game is complete. We’re still setting up the board.” — and Looking-Glass Land is a different place from Wonderland in the Carroll books. Since the show is doing a mash-up, it’s very possible that we see both the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen on “OUAT in Wonderland” at some point.

But anyway, that’s what that is all about.

As far as the show goes, we thought the premiere was a lot of fun, though it did not take long for us to be sucked more into Alice’s adventure with the Knave than caring about her precious genie, Cyrus. The audience wasn’t given any time to invest in their so-called true love epic romance, so it’s hard to care about whether or not she finds him. But we are quite interested in star Sophie Lowe‘s chemistry with Michael Socha, so that might prove fun if the show starts a love triangle going.

Either way, the journey aspect coupled with the mystery surrounding Alice’s three wishes — Jafar wants something and can’t get his hands on it until he both finds the genie bottle and she uses her three wishes — provides an on-going adventure that has already sucked us in.

Plus, Lowe is great as Alice. She’s a strong, fearless female character, much like her Emma counterpart on “OUAT,” and we look forward to watching her cut a swath through Wonderland in search of her love.

Thoughts & Tidbits

  • Nice shout-out to the Disney movie, with blue dress and pinafore Alice as a little girl returning from Wonderland.
  • The whole nuthouse thing in the beginning had a nice “Return to Oz” meets “American McGee’s Alice” going on, we’re kind of sad that that was dispatched so soon from the story, though we understand that the show has to move forward fairly quickly.
  • We are very much looking forward to the wishes — be careful what you wish for and all that.
  • Why does the Knave have a key to Granny’s diner? We wonder if that will ever be addressed.
  • The creators have teased for us that they’ve definitely talked about the Jabberwock and other characters from Carroll’s source materials, so we’re very excited to see who else might appear in this Wonderland.

What did you think of “OUAT in Wonderland”?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."