The 4-Episode Test, Fall 2013 Edition, Part 4: Reign, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Ravenswood, and The Tomorrow People

We've reached the real straggly part of the season, where it feels like September was months and months ago, yet there are still a few new shows celebrating their four-episode birthdays. At this point, there isn't a single "normal" series left on the docket. Seriously: This week, it's all fairy-tales and superpowered teens and ghosts and royal teens who live in a fairy-tale-esque world in the 16th century and have ghosts for friends. So let's get to it, shall we?


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland



Episode 1: ★★★★ | Episode 2: ★★★★ | Episode 3: ★★★★★ | Episode 4: ★★★★

Verdict: Some rabbit holes are better left unexplored.

It must be hard for the cast of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland to contrast the show’s dismal reception with the success of the original Once Upon a Time’s first season; their talent is what's keeping the Wonderland spin-off vaguely watchable. Sophie Lowe, Michael Socha, Peter Gadriot, Naveen Andrews, and Emma Rigby are all winning. And some applause is due to showrunners Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz for not merely turning out a carbon copy of Original Recipe OUAT—they have excised the mystery elements and the parallel storytelling that engaged so many OUAT fans in the beginning and focused instead on making Wonderland a straightforward fantasy romp. Unfortunately, the show buried the lede (the Knave and the Queen of Heart’s relationship drama wasn’t revealed until Episode 3), and is so straightforward in its storytelling that sometimes it feels plodding and other times it feels childishly simple. (Will Alice save the genie? Probably not this week, if the season is going to continue!) Also, if you’re going to set your entire multimillion-dollar series in a fantasy land, maybe actually build some of that fantasy land? Or invest in CGI that looks more advanced than the backgrounds of MYST. —Lily Sparks

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Some rabbit holes are better left unexplored. #OnceUponaTimeinWonderland does not pass TV.com's 4-Episode Test.


Ravenswood



Episode 1: ★★★★ | Episode 2: ★★★★ | Episode 3: ★★★★ | Episode 4: ★★★★

Verdict: Just let the internet tell you the secrets later.

I'll level with you: Ravenswood, at least for the time being, is more of an excuse to play a drinking game than it is a compelling drama. The problem starts and ends with the boring teenage leads; the Pretty Little Liars spin-off would be so much better if any of its cast members actually participated in the legitimately interesting happenings of their town. Despite all of them (except Caleb) having grown up in Ravenswood, they all just seem like someone handpicked the most boring yet popular people at your high school and gave them a TV show. They don't really have personalities beyond living in fear of their Final Destination-inspired lives, and they only really emote when they're whining about the same problems they experience every damn week. Luke, your dad is still dead. Olivia, your dad is also dead and your mom wants you to be a classy lady. Caleb, you're apparently always going to be the butt of some large-scale conspiracy, mortal or otherwise. Remy, you're nothing but a pair of wide eyes and convenient information. And Miranda... If I told you to do a shot every time Miranda reminded the living characters that she's a ghost, you'd be dead by act three. Until Ravenswood introduces some characters you can actually care about, just sate yourself on .GIFs of Creepy Uncle Ray and wait until the PLL diehards who are still watching just for Caleb post all of Ravenswood's secrets on Tumblr. Unless you want to get hammered. In that case:

If Remy and Luke touch each other in a casual yet clandestine way, drink. ** If any of the remaining members of the new incarnation of the pact find themselves in a secret under-school dungeon or catacombs under a pre-school, drink. ** If Caleb communicates with Hanna in some one-sided conversation, drink. ** If you hear a raven caw (outside of the opening credits), drink. ** If someone in the pact survives another attempt at trying to recreate the Final Destination magic, finish your drink. ** If there's a raven involved with initiating that magic (by flying into the spokes of a bicycle wheel, for instance), finish your neighbor's drink. ** If Remy comes up with some amazingly convenient information to help the other characters solve their situation, drink. ** If Luke smiles, try not to vomit. ** If Olivia bores the snot of you, take an Ambien, send your friends home, and try to forget she ever happened. ** If Caleb launches into a less eloquent Winger Speech, finish your drink. ** If Miranda mentions being a ghost or being dead, take a sip of your drink. It'll be a long night otherwise. —Nick Campbell

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Just let the internet tell you the secrets later; #Ravenswood isn't exciting enough to pass the TV.com 4-Episode Test.


Reign



Episode 1: ★★★★★ | Episode 2: ★★★★★ | Episode 3: ★★★ | Episode 4: ★★★

Verdict: You need to see this.

Reign is a series many of us have been waiting our whole lives to see: a smart, complicated (if not historically accurate) period piece that never talks down to its audience, with a smart, brave heroine who’s actually committed to doing the politically savvy thing for her country. AND it has Anne of Green Gables (a.k.a. Megan Follows) as the big bad, Catherine de Medici! Yes, the costumes are nuts and anachronistic. No, no one in the 1600s was anywhere near as beautiful as our young star, Adelaide Kane—so what?! The show is filmed on location in a stunning Irish castle with the kind of epic cinematography that really sells sweeping romance and timeless drama. When young Mary Queen of Scotts arrived at French court to marry her betrothed Francis, she spent the first episode realizing his parents were doing everything they could to delay the wedding—his father to get more political leverage, his mother (the aforementioned Catherine) because she believed Mary will mean Francis’s death. By the second episode, Mary was fighting back; by the fourth, she’d won the support of her prince. Add a mysterious ghost named Clarissa who's working to warn Mary of the various schemes that threaten her crown, Francis’s handsome bastard brother Sebastian, Mary's own army of hot waiting ladies/besties, Nostradamus as a young and handsome hipster, a costume ball in almost every episode, and you have a series you will find yourself looking forward to all week long. LONG MAY IT REIGN. —Lily

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#Reign may not be historically accurate, but its heroine is smart and savvy, giving it a pass on TV.com's 4-Episode Test.


The Tomorrow People



Episode 1: ★★★ | Episode 2: ★★★★★ | Episode 3: ★★★ | Episode 4: ★★★
BONUS RATING! Episode 5: ★★★

Verdict: This one's a keeper. At worst, DVR it for tomorrow. (GET IT?)

The Tomorrow People started off with a bland, albeit well-executed pilot—and then it quickly improved by simultaneously pushing the narrative forward at warp speed and traveling backward into the lives of some of the main characters. Although leading man Robbie Amell is still growing into his role (and will always seem about a decade older than his character is supposed to be), Luke Mitchell, Mark Pellegrino, and surprisingly, Peyton List have really risen to the challenge of providing the show with quality supporting performances. The show isn't covering anything close to new ground, but it seems to know that the best way to battle that problem is to not be boring. And while The CW paired The Tomorrow People with Arrow because of the Amell connection, the show fits nicely alongside other C-Dub favorites like Nikita and The Vampire Diaries: There are stakes, but it's also a lot of fun. —Cory Barker

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#TheTomorrowPeople isn't covering new ground, but it's anything but boring. It definitely passes TV.com's 4-Episode Test.



PREVIOUSLY: 

The 4-Episode Test, Fall 2013 Edition, Part 1: Dads, Sleepy Hollow, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The 4-Episode Test, Fall 2013 Edition, Part 2: The Blacklist, Hostages, S.H.I.E.L.D., and More

The 4-Episode Test, Fall 2013 Edition, Part 3: The Originals, Super Fun Night, Masters of Sex, and More


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I actually like Wonderland, and think the idea of cancelling it is a bummer.
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I liked Ravenswood so far, a little better than Once Upon A Time in Wonderland & even Marvel: Agents of Shield! Shield just puts me to sleep sometimes! They really should have gone the superpowered way! Reign just didn't seem that exciting to me?! & I really am liking the Tomorrow People more & more, esp, with the nice twist I didn't see coming in the latest ep!
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I've only seen one episode of Wonderland and it didn't get me, it was booooring.

With Ravenswood I was like okay I wanna know the mystery but I gave up in the middle of episode 3 (although I'll keep listening to the podcast to know what's happening/ I do the same for pretty little liars, can't stand to see it but want to know what's happening.)

The Tomorrow People, I'm not convinced I'll keep watching. We will see, so far I can't stand Steven but I'm giving him a chance to grow on me.

And I just love Reign and will keep watching it. It's a guilty pleasure. And some of those dresses are just to die for.

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I only saw the first three episode of Wonderland, but if I will ever see the rest of the show is to see the Genie die. (He has to, right?) That "free the Genie" plotline makes the whole thing boring. Hopefully he will get squashed by a .GIF tyrannosaurus that is chewing on the remains of whoever is responsible for the CGI.

The Tomorrow People is an automatic fail on the four episode test - I stopped watching it after the 3/4 of the pilot. That show is on the level of stupidity of a Sy-Fy Original movie. The effects are better, but at least I can laugh on the other one.
Can't figure out how it could get a pass...
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Double win for the CW!
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And btw, people are harping on Reigns lack of historical accuracy way too much. Does it really matter if the costumes aren't accurate? This is a drama, not a documentary. I actually majored in history so I expected to hate this show, but actually so far, the basic history is correct! But, people are harping on details? If it inspires even one young person to crack a history book, then its well worth it.

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Reign is surprisingly AWESOME! But I actually feel like episode 1 was the weakest so far. 3 stars. But from episode 2 on, they have all been 4-5 stars.
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Realy like the Tomorrow People, because it comes also with Arrow..so you get the watch the brothers Amell in the same night....i like...:)::) no i really like where it is going.
Ravenswood i watched the first two episodes and i was done...PLL is so much cooler..
Reign...i haven't watched yet..so no comment on that one.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland..is so bad..i cannot bring it even in words...
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They are actually first cousins. But they sure do look alike and have some of the same mannerisms.
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I actually like OUATIW, yes it's waaaay different from OUAT and yes sometimes a little bit immature but isn't that maybe what they were going for? Alice is a young adult you can't expect her to be mature like the way older Emma.

I agree on Ravenswood tho, I watched the first half of the fourth episode and fell asleep for the second half. There is absolutely nothing left of the towns creepiness from when we saw Ravenswood in PLL. It's like this Ravenswood wants to bore, instead of scare, it's viewers to dead.
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I agree about "Once Upon A Time In wonderland"...I'm two weeks behind and don't know if i should even bother.

I liked the Pilot for "Reign" a lot but just wasn't interested enough to stick with it.

"The Tomorrow People" is one of the best new shows out there. As you wrote, its not breaking any new ground but the characters and the story is good TV.
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I like all the shows here!
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Only americans can accept mid west folk music with mary queen of scots with a full blown english accent as a historical drama which dosent follow the history books. It is just awful!
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I'm genuinely stunned that people are raving about Reign. I don't need total historical accuracy, but COME ON. They couldn't even TRY to speak with French accents? Jabbering about making the prince fall in love with her? And those ridiculous, RIDICULOUS outfits when its supposed to be 15-freaking-57! This show is absolutely terrible.
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Love Reign, which was a big surprise for me. I'm behind on Tomorrow People, only seen the first 2 episodes, so I haven't made a full decision yet there. And I'm tentatively sticking with Wonderland, if only because of Michael Socha, though I pretty much just watch it when I'm caught up on everything else. It really is pretty bland.
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Love the tomorrow people and reign. its not that i dont want to give up on ravenswood and ouatiwonderland it just feels like something good to watch until they get cancelled
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I stopped after 3 episodes of OUATIW and Ravenswood. Acting is BORING! I even stopped watching the repetitive forever whine whine teenage love orgies on TVD and jumped to the mesmerizing The Originals. Reign is indeed superb. Even without dragons (yet?) and a subtle supernatural (or is it) element, this show is compelling and has very strong scripts and storylines. Bravo. Tomorrow people is like X-Men with eye candy cast. Doesn't hurt.
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The Tomorrow People has been the surprising winner in my books. Its quite fun to watch. OUAT:W is silly, immature storytelling at its best. May have to give Reign a chance now.
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I've got too many shows to bother with Tomorrow People. Seems like each weekend, I'm about 15 hrs. behind!!! I like Once Upon A Time in Wonderland more and more each week, much better than Reign which definitely is a bit complicated and not as interesting as I'd hoped it would be, although I'm still watching at this point.
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looks like I might have to try the tomorrow people. I don't have a surplus of shows and it was admittedly a mistake to assume that Arrow would be bad based on it being the CW, maybe TTP would be the same?

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what is with not making the results visible until participating? I'm not sticking with anything as the only show I tried was OUATIW but I wanted to see what everyone else said anyway.

2 CW shows and PLL and OUAT spinoffs. not television anyone would expect to be exceptional I don't think.
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The Tomorrow People has gotten fairly disappointing after the 4th episode, so I wouldn't recommend it.
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We definitely watch Reign Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, and The Tomorrow People. Would definitely miss if any of these shows were to be cancelled!
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I've liked OUAT:IW, in general, so I disagree with it being a flop- It does have an interesting enough story, though it lacks some of the high-stake/intense feelings that the original series had. It's more whimsical, and a little silly at times, but I've enjoyed the story. As for the complaints regarding the CGI- the CGI really isn't great, but that's the big obstacle with a show centered in a world that is inherently strange/non-worldly. I'm very much willing to give it more time to spread its wings- because there is so much potential, and the cast themselves are great, there just hasn't been any really standout moments yet (but some of the greatest shows were sleepers at first). It feels like the reviewers have largely been put off by the CGI-everything element, because it does make it hard to connect with what's happening on a more personal level, but it's been an enjoyable ride thus far.
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i really, really love Reign. I became obsessed pretty quick and although it is not historically accurate it did encourage me to do some serious research of Mary Queen of Scots and the time.

I always knew i would watch The Tomorrow people because that genre is my jam!, so to speak. Sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, comedy, drama, procedural they ate my wheelhouse!!!

i didnt start Once Upon a time in Wonderland or Ravenswood and i wont start now.
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Been waiting for this one. I watched the first two episodes of The Tomorrow People, the first of Reign, and had the the first couple of Ravenswood ready to go. Was waiting to see what was/ wasn't worth sticking with.

May have to catch up on Reign based on what majority of people have been saying, I'll probably record it and watch it on Friday's though.

I'm a genre fan, so I would like to watch The Tomorrow People, but I just don't have the time for it this season. Maybe that's a show I can catch up on in the summer.

It looks like I won't be watching Ravenswood then. I'm struggling to get through Pretty Little Liars as it is, so if that's worse, there's no point.

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The lesson from this 4 - show - 4 episodes test is: NO MORE SPINOFFS.

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No no no - The Originals wouldn´t be here for example - and that will make me sad:)
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yea, I see your point! The originals is pretty good actually, but all the other spinoffs or in ABCfamily's case 'spinoff' are kind of shit.
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Ravenswood is a failed experiment. The story lacks ... everything. Shit happens for no reason and with no explanation. If ABCfamily keeps it up and further uses PLLs to help 'the spinoff', both shows will be ruined.

Once Upon a time in Wonderland is just plain old boring. The original is so much better and this just feels like a waste. Don't particularly care about the characters and the horrible CGI really makes me cringe.

Reign is a show I initially thought it was going to be complete shit but I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, it's not that great but it's entertaining and the characters are quite likable. Also Not so many historical innacuracies as one would expect from CW (Yes, I am also referring to the Ancient Greece/Katia flashback)

The Tomorrow People is a show I really liked from the trailer. It has the really cool special effects/superpowers and the plot-line is not that bad. One thing I don't like about this show is everything about his uncle work (name of the place I don't remember). Why on earth would 'tomorrow people' work at that place, for that guy that hates their species. I just don't understand it.
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Ultra
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If people are looking for something historically accurate, with 3 smart, brave and politically savvy women, I recommend "The White Queen". Phlippa Gregory's take on the 'War of the Roses' as centered around Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville and Margaret Beaufort is a much stronger story than the failure that is Mary, Queen of Scots.
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I haven't seen any of these, but I'm tempted to watch Reign now that know Anne of Green Gables is in it. What a trip.
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  • Wonderland is OK..but it'll get cancelled no matter what
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Ravenswood was zzzz. I only watched the backdoor pilot and then the first episode and I repeat...zzzz.

Never watched any of the other ones. They also seemed a bit zzzz....
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Hmm... I *JUST* found out about Reign, I might try that one out... I still like Once Upon a Time and I love the Tomorrow People, so I'll still stick with them also :)
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I haven't tried Reign, but I may just have too.
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Ravenswood - Never watched it.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland - I dropped this from the 1st episode.
Reign - Too much drama for me.
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I love Reign so much! It is honestly the best new show this year. It makes me way happier than it should.
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keeping all four.......nuff said
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On Ravenswood, why is Uncle Ray considered creepy, 'cause I do not see it. He just seems more quiet and shy with secrets he probably does not want to deal with or divulge, but creepy? No. Maybe if he was truly creepy, the show would have more going for it.

The first episode of Tomorrow People greatly disappointed me. Towards the end, during the escape when Amell slowed down time and the bullet, I thought it was going to be revealed that Pellegrino was the father of the character, John. All of a sudden, and it did seem like an afterthought, they reveal he is the uncle of Amell's character, Stephen. I almost stopped watching right then, but it has continued to interest me, so I am sticking with it for now, but Pellegrino as the uncle still bugs me and I do think having him as John's father would have been far better.

I am surprised I am liking Reign. Makes me want to brush up on the actual history when I have the time. Hope others feel the same and get the truth that way and not from the show itself, but still enjoy it for what it is.

The first episode of Wonderland was the worst TV experience this season. Never watched another.
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I stopped watching it then and there. It was just too stupid (even if I ignor all the other dumb and stupid things in the show). Why the cliche James-Bondian villain speech and the I-will-do-bad-things-to-you in the middle of the episode when he captures the lead character, instead of playing the family card and try to recruit him in the first place?

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Just saw the fourth episode about John's past, which helps, but still think Pellegrino should have been his actual father.
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Hi TV.com Staff (and detractors) ; I respectfully disagree. I am enjoying ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND and RAVENSWOOD and hope they both continue.
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Wonderland: Well i like the acting.... The story is a little bland and don't get me started on the CGI. It's just not good enough. Hey isn't that Sayid ? eeuh i mean Naveen Andrews. Jafar Whatever. always good to see actors from my favorite series of all time... I don't even know why I am still watching. Please cancel it. Put me out of my misery.
Reign: Probably just my hormones acting up but... Masturbation scene FTW! The scene unfortunately has been toned down and edited. WTF CW? Four episode test not needed. I was immediately hooked. And i don't even like period pieces. And i really like the music.
Tomorrow People: Pretty predictable but strangely entertaining.
Ravenswood: I watched PLL for a while. I lost interest. so Ravenswood is a definite nono



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I'm not totally giving up on OUATIW and Ravenswood, OUATIW is only going to be one season probably.. supposed to have an end to the storyline and then they'd do more if it gets renewed... if it's renewed I probably won't watch, but I might as well see this through

Ravenswood though, I don't see why this is a show.. killing the main girl off right away to be a ghost and have her still be around is such a stupid cop out, and nothing is happening until the end of each episode.. and the writing is horrible.
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We didn't even make it through the OUAT Wonderland pilot. May check out Reign. Tomorrow People has been solid and goes perfectly with Arrow.
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I think the big "problems" with Tomorrow People are that it doesn't have vampires and the teenagers are teenagers in name only. This may and away some of its intended audience. But, like Arrow and Nikita it turned out to be a very nice surprise. Keep to good job, folks!
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may and away = may send away
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I ll keep going with Reign & Ravenswood
I have been really disappointed with Once upon a time in wonderland cause I was expecting a lot, I am not disappointed in Ravenswood cause I was expecting nothing. That's probably why I like it.

I hadn't start the tomorrow people yet but I am not so sure that I ll like it.
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Reign and The Tomorrow People (because hey Alphas is gone and SHIELD is zzzz)
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Well Like I said in the beginning of the OUAT Wonderland they should have
made it Cora's wonderland and made allot of crossovers between the shows
OUAT Wonderland is allot more childish than the original OUAT
They need to make it darker and more serious than this stupid naive fantasy
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And to be more specific, when we say crossovers, we mean with characters we actually like. Why on earth did they pick Robin Hood?
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'Tomorrow People' is getting better each week - sort of going through the same growing pains as 'Arrow' did but its improvement has been welcome. The lead on 'OUAT' is soooo much better than can't act Jennifer Morrison and I like the Knave who was on 'Being Human' but as stated, the CGI is terrible and its kind of boring.
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Hey, Myst rocked. But then, I'd rather dig it out of the disc pile, reinstall and play it than watch OUaTiW.
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I actually dig OUaT in Wonderland but agree that the CGI is very poor. Like, early 90's kids TV poor. It has a lot less irksome characters than the original though.
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agreed
It was all WTF at the start for me but is morphing into FTWTF
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Plus... why Lewis Carroll's Wonderland? They've already established Robin Hood/Lancelot/medieval fantasy, and black-and-white/Frankenstein/gothic horror. Either those would have made more of a connection with the audience then Wonderland.
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i'm suddenly very troubled by your upbringing
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I think I'm on pretty solid ground saying more people know about Frankenstein and Dracula, then the Knave of Hearts and the Caterpillar...
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You'd be surprised. The younger generation has seen many remakes of Alice and often none of Frankenstein and Dracula. Alice in Wonderland is a big deal, Classic movie monsters are not. The new vampires sparkle.
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