A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It's often difficult to differentiate between good and evil, as many characters' loyalties seem to shift as the show progresses. Friends turn out to be foes, and putting your faith in an enemy may become your saving grace. Power is won by force rather than by fairness, and many in that position misuse their influence. On the other hand, the unwavering power of true love has the potential to conquer all. The show encourages viewers to imagine beyond the traditional parameters of well-known fairy tales.
Positive Role Models
Alice is single-minded in her quest to save Cyrus, and she will risk everything, including her own life, to rescue him. Her courage is matched only by her resourcefulness, and she keeps a level head even in the face of danger. Other characters aren't so reliable; loyalties change often and can be bought, and would-be enemies join forces to undermine Alice's altruistic quest.
Violence & Scariness
A pervasive aura of danger surrounds the characters, who often encounter enemies wanting to do them in. On any given day, they battle giant beasts, defend themselves with swords and knives, and narrowly escape death more than once. For some characters, magic is a powerful weapon they use to harm their foes by strangulation or brute force.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Alice often recalls times spent in her intended's arms, kissing, embracing, or just gazing into each other's eyes. Some female characters (particularly the Red Queen) wear outfits designed to show off their curves and accentuate their breasts.
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Products & Purchases
The series is a companion to Once Upon a Time, but there's little crossover between the two.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A hookah-smoking caterpillar makes appearances.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, similar to its parent series, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland extrapolates on familiar fairy tales and stories in creative and often mature ways. This one has its roots in Lewis Carroll's classic tale Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it incorporates other fantasy characters from unrelated stories as well. Despite its relationship to stories synonymous with childhood, this isn't a show for young kids, thanks to plenty of violence of both the traditional kind (knives, swordplay, and fistfights) and the magical kind. Danger lurks around every corner, and the characters' double-crossing and changing loyalties are part of the fun, but they will be confusing for some young viewers. Sex is less of an issue, although some female characters' attire –- the voluptuous Red Queen's in particular –- is designed to draw attention to certain curvy areas. The bottom line? Even though the cast of characters seems to contradict this dark show's target at an older audience, it's a tantalizing blend of action and drama with ties to stories you and your teens will have fun recalling from your own childhood.
Is It Any Good?
The creative team behind Once Upon a Time opens a new can of proverbial worms in this companion series that boasts the same level of curiosity and drama as does the first but with an entirely new cast. Once Upon A Time in Wonderland's best assets are its scintillating characters -– from lovelorn Alice to the malicious Red Queen -– and, as with its predecessor, the writers' ability to manufacture connections between traditionally unrelated players. It's like walking through a haunted house: You never know who might be lurking around the next corner or how their presence will affect what happens next.
There's very little plot crossover between the two shows, which makes it easy to jump into this one and not feel like you've missed anything by skipping the first. Existing Once Upon a Time fans will notice similarities in the cinematography, music, and plot development, but, all in all, this is a wondrous new adventure set against the backdrop of the creators' fresh (and very grown-up) take on Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.