Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com.



Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - Thursdays starting October 10 at 8pm on ABC

STARRING AND CREATED BY: ABC essentially commissioned a spin-off series by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, who’ve been getting direct deposits from ABC since Lost and struck primetime channel gold two seasons ago with the singular hit Once Upon a Time. If this thing takes off, we can presumably expect additional constellations of “OUAT In…” to join the network's burgeoning fairy-tale universe. Alice is played by relative unknown Sophie Lowe; the rest of the main casts includes Naveen Andrews (Lost's Sayid), John Lithgow (Dexter, lots of movies, and of course 3rd Rock from the Sun), Michael Socha (Being Human U.K.), Emma Rigby, and Peter Gadiot.


THE GIST: Pulling on the multi-dimensional mythology of parent series OUAT, Wonderland grounds itself in Storybrooke with a Knave of Hearts being snatched from our favorite Maine hamlet by a CGI rabbit voiced by Lithgow. From there we jump to Victorian England, where Alice is interrogated by her doctors during a probationary hearing at a suitably macabre asylum, and we learn via flashback that she used to run around Wonderland until she fell in love with a tiny man in a bottle (a genie), with whom she traveled betwixt many universes “fighting pirates and swimming with mermaids” until a climatic run-in with a magical showgirl. So: Same shit, different dimension, with a coy hint that the two shows might intermingle.


SNAP JUDGEMENT: The pilot of this highly anticipated series perhaps owes more to Flash Gordon than OUAT in terms of tone and sensibility. The version ABC has screened for press is only about 20 minutes long, and the remarkably poor integration of CGI backgrounds and action sequences—which will hopefully be fixed up before the official series premiere—is super cheesy. Also, OUAT apparently couldn’t spare a single strong dialogue scribe to moonlight for Wonderland, which, if you watch OUAT, should tell you something. Still, what I saw was loony enough to be “bad in a good way” fun.


PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: This is a textbook opener structured for maximum exposition. Everything gets laid out for you in the flashbacks and then circled in highlighter marker with the narrative device and then beaten about your head and chest with the parallel dialogue (the kids will be able to keep up with mom and dad). But it left me interested in Episode 2, which is ultimately a pilot's only job.


FACES TO WATCH OUT FOR: Keep your eyes on the Knave of Hearts (Socha), who Alice will presumably be clocking some time with; he’s super charismatic. Emma Rigby gets a real Black Swan entrance, and John Lithgow voices the White Rabbit, which is fun insomuch as you can imagine the crazy “Acting” faces he’s doing in the recording booth during the 15 minutes it took for him to record two episodes.


RANDOM THOUGHTS: Are any thoughts random? Our consciousness floats over the inner churning of a primal and deliberate ego and id, so let’s not pretend there isn’t some chemical formula that could account for me saying this show is batshit insane (my B vitamins are prolly low). The pilot's terrible (and again, possibly under-construction) CGI and over-the-topness of the Bad Character truly made me think of Flash Gordon, and yet I still can't wait to see more of that Caterpillar getting high. Also, I was surprised that the love interest is a genie from Agrabah (and therefore presumably Arab), yet he's played by Peter Gadriot?



EXCITEMENT LEVEL: I’m holding at a steady 5.5. Before the pilot of OUAT premiered way back when, I was a solid 10, but after two seasons of maddening shenanigans in Storybrooke I feel like a badly beaten child edging toward my abuser’s twin.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/3/2014

Season 1 : Episode 13

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I just don't think you can have a Wonderland show without the Mad Hatter. And since they already used that character in the basic OUAT it seems like he won't be showing up on this unless they can tag the same actor. I will give it a try but Wonderland was never my favorite as a kid.
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I am really looking forward to this show! It looks like a mini movie. I do like flashbacks. I want to know why is the bottle in wonderland, why is the red queen after Cyrus? Were those 2 in love before? Why is Jafar so nasty towards Alice? I am already hooked!
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Why must every OUAT story be told 50% in flashback? Ah yes, Alice is in Wonderland collecting evidence for her negligent, disbelieving father. Somehow a genie's lamp ended up there and she fell madly in love with him. For some reason a Vegas showgirl took offence and tried to kill the genie. All details are to be revealed later with explanations that are so thinly explained as to barely be believed!
Could someone please tell these people I don't always need to know where someone's been to enjoy where they go? We can't just start with Alice being introduced to Wonderland? Already she's been to Agrabah and Kung-fu world and learned to sword twirl with the Amazons? Already I have a headache and this is just the preview.
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The trailer is good, so I'll probably watch a few episodes to see if I like it. I loved Once Upon a Time at first, but I'm bored with it now.
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I'd watch just for Michael Socha. Loved him in Being Human! :)
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I liked the trailer, and I miss seeing Michael Socha, so I'll probably check this out. :)
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Lily, you put it perfectly "I feel like a badly beaten child edging toward my abuser's twin." Having seen the extended preview at Comic Con, it was like OUAT only very, very, very straight. Very straight. It has potential & I was looking forward to it more as a midseason replacement, so if I have nothing better to watch, I may check it out. Is there some reason that CGI on ABC is so horrid? Budget issues?
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I think it looks GREAT! The only two minuses is the CGI and that the queen looked so cheap, almost like a prostitute. I hope she'll get more "classy outfits". The CGI isn't the best, but it is more than acceptable for me to not care about it. The story sounds good, the genie is gorgeous and I like the Alice/Genie romance, John Lithgow is in it... I already know I will love it before I have even watched an episode.

The regular OUaT is still great too.
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You're kidding me! The trailer for this was great, they have the ability to start over completely and do everything right they can no longer fix in that trainwreck of OUaT, and they STILL screw it up? I so very much hope they improve upon that pilot. If this one fails, I will have nothing new to watch this season and considering the summer we had, I have a feeling we're in a huge slump.
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You had me at Michael Socha :)
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Can't wait
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I think this one will do better than Once Upon a time
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"Also, I was surprised that the love interest is a genie from Agrabah (and therefore presumably Arab), yet he's played by Peter Gadriot?"
What the problem with "Peter Gadriot", he looks like he could be an "Arab"(will middle eastern arab or levantine arab at least) to me(i am an Arab Syrian),
Arabs are not African(Yes there is African Arabs, but they are mostly culturally Arab and not or less genetically arab) "pure"(who doesn't exist anymore) Arabs look more Jewish than any other race,
Also Agrabah and Arabian Nights are only Arabic by name,
Arabian Nights(or the original One Thousand and One Nights) is mostly Persian,
Agrabah(from Aladdin) looks more Persian or Indian than Arab so he -the genie- doesn't have to be an Arab(but he certainly have to be Asian though(Persian - Indian)), but even if they wanted to make him an Arab, Arabs are not really a race any more, there is Arabs in the Levant that look straight Aryan or as if they were ripped from an anime(especially Levantine females, they are usually brighter in colors than males)
And then there is black African Arabs that look 100% African in the horn of africa
Being an Arab is not about race anymore, it's more of a culture, there is tens of races that are considered Arab(Coptics, Kurds, Berbers(Amazighes), some African races, a few old Jewish tribes that converted to islam, many other Asian races),
I have an uncle whose children are extremely white, extremely blond, with extremely blue eyes, and his brother(my other uncle) his kid is "very" white and his daughter is "very" white with red hair and then there is his sister(my aunt) whose children are light brown with black hair and black eyes, i know siblings that one of them(the boy) have a very dark brown skin(like indians) and his sister looks like the blond stereotype
So you can't really say someone looks like an arab, it's extremely hard to determine who is an arab and who is not(even for arabs), we -arabs- know what country the person we are talking to comes from by listening to his delicate mostly, i mean you can "guess" what country an arabic man comes from by looking at hi face but only if you know that he is an arab.
In Syria and Lebanon most people are white with brown hair and brown eyes(females tend to be lighter with more blond and red hair percentage, and green and blue and black eyes percentage), in Sudan most people are black or dark skinned(there is some arab white tribes that didn't mix with the locals and live in the desert to this day),
In the Arabic Gulf people tend to be - mostly - light brown with black hair and brown eye, the women there looks also the same, but in the arabian gulf you can also find extremely black people and extremely white people with direct lineage to an old arabic tribe,
The only thing "Arabs" share is some facial structure that "some"(and not all) male arabs share, but it's almost impossible to know an arab women just by looking at her,
The Arab world is like the US when it comes to race it's heavily mixed that you can't simply say that someone looks american or not american
Also here's a little list with famous arabs to get the idea:
- Steve Jobs(yes the founder of Apple, his father is Syrian from Homs)
- Tony Shalhoub(Monk!, both parents, Lebanese)
- Shakira
- Salma Hayek
- Carlos Slim Helú(richest man in the world!!, Lebanese)
- Edward Said
- 10 presidents and former presidents of South and Central America, South America is filled with Syrian and Lebanese immigrants
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110303025733AAgYoRw
http://www.albawaba.com/slideshow/western-americans-arab-celebrities-list-421373
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_diaspora
- Jerry Seinfeld, he isn't Arab per se, but he can be considered Syrian(Jewish Syrian)


Sorry about the long comment, but i just hate stereotypes, especially when they are wrong
Sorry for any typos or grammatical errors i wrote this comment in a hurry
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Thank you for this very thoughtful and edifying clarification on the semantics of the word "arab" which I certainly won't be throwing around again anytime soon.
However I think you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I'm a little skeptical that casting a white guy to play an Arabian-Nights-esque genie is ABC consciously representing the multiplicity of shades entailed by being of arab descent. I'm more inclined to think its just whitewashing, plain and simple. That's the point I was getting across in the review, which I still think is valid, regardless of how wrongly-worded.
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While that i would love for the casting a white man as an Arab to be out of ABC trying to stay away from stereotypes and such things,
But i have to agree with you, cause - sadly - i don't believe that ABC is that much of a "truth seeker" or "stereotype buster" to do that kind of thing, but instead i believe that ABC made the Genie white to make him more likeable and "hotter" and therefor better ratings for the new show("Hot" guy=better ratings), so yeah i think your point is still valid(kinda)

And just to let the people see how much wrong the stereotypes about Arabs can be, take a look at this cute girl from Syria - Homs - AlKalidiah(AlKalidiah is one of the most destroyed cities in Syria(thanks to the Assad's criminal regime)) :
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=553287228058690
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Good one. Anyway, Peter Gadiot is the one to watch here, he plays a convincing genie. I actually saw him in a Wes Anderson short film where Peter played a French guy. Perfect! He was also an English spoiled rich kid in another film and I just read that he is playing the part of a Mexican student in a TV series in the UK. I hope he continues getting different parts in his career.





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Wow, he's sure not bound by race or color, and now he is going to play an Arab(or a persian) that's really amazing,
I am hoping to see the Japanese version of him :D
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Actually that was informative... and I appreciate you pointing out the stereotype :)
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Wow, this is a whole lecture on Arabs :)
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I can't help it, i hate stereotypes, let alone stereotypes that are completely wrong
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Alice in Wonderland and a Genie!!?? WTF not? A politically correct couple! ha, ha! Peter Gadiot is just fine for that role. Dreamy, flirty, good with swords,
yep, my kind of man... or... genie.
Which I think must be hard to play as he has to be quite mellow, sensitive etc. I think is easier to play baddies and sarcastic charachters.
I willbe watching it this October!
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OMG This is great news! And if they make the show alternately that would be awesome! Means OUAT almost all year round!

Trailer looks pretty good, but let's hope they also get good writers to keep the show's plot twisting and turning like in OUAT.
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I am soooo excited for this! Maybe a little less so hearing about the preview, but still....the trailers seemed magical. Also, OUAT may have struggled a bit last season but hopefully there will be enough new material to really let the spin-off shine....
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I gave up on OUAT last season so it's unlikely to watch this.
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Against Parks and Rec? No deal. Though I might tune into the second half if NBC picked a crop of lemons to follow it.
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If they stick to their plan of only going 13 episodes, I might watch. It's not much of a time commitment, it won't get cancelled before it ends, and I think a deadline would keep them focused.
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I will probably give it a shot, at least. OUAT can be both good and bad, so I feel like I won't be able to make a judgment on this until I actually see a few episodes myself. Thanks for the preview, Lily!
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"EXCITEMENT LEVEL: I’m holding at a steady 5.5. Before the pilot of OUAT premiered way back when, I was a solid 10, but after two seasons of maddening shenanigans in Storybrooke I feel like a badly beaten child edging toward my abuser’s twin." THIS IS WHY TV.COM IS MY FAVORITE WEB.
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I'll wait and see. I don't have any faith in this reviewer.
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So should one catch up on OUAT first? I dropped it after the first few episodes although I might bother to go back and watch it some summer.
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It won't matter even if they are tied together. The people running/writing these shows don't have the skill to weave them intricately enough to be effective. They can't even keep their first show straight. I say don't go back and catch up... unless you want your eyes to bleed in protest. (And just so you know I'm not an intentional troll, this is from someone who originally joined this site specifically to pour out my undying love for OUaT... hence the screen name. We all got screwed.)
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I don't think you're going to need to have seen OUAT. I don't think there's really going to be much crossover. I sort of get the sense that any crossover we see will be fun for OUAT fans, but not make it necessary for non-OUAT watchers to see OUAT, if that makes sense.
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It had all the tell-tale signs of being bad, just from the preview.
Alice is an action girl? Check.
Alice is an adult? Check.
Alice has a love interest? Check.
Wonderland is clearly divided into good and evil? Check.

Basically, the source material is robbed of ambiguity and molded with convention. If only a mad genius could get their hands on it; then we'd have a real adaptation.
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I have a little bit of an issue with ass-kickin' bad-ass 90 pound actresses. I'm sort of perplexed they went that route with this character.
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In other news of the death of creativity: Your check list just described Syfy's "Alice" miniseries perfectly.
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Bryan Fuller should be in charge!
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Should add, I will be tuning in ASAP. OUAT has kinda passed me by (other things taking priority) but I will watch it eventually.
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Sounds like it's ripping off American McGee's Alice to me. If you don't know that then google it/play it. Would love to see a live action adaptation of that but I doubt the network can pull it off!
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I remember years ago there were rumours of a possible movie adaptation starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Alice. Now that would have been cool.
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Michael Socha is great. He was brilliant in Being Human and he seems like one of those actors you wouldn't mind meeting down the pub for a pint. I'm also interested to see how Emma Rigby has turned out, especially as a baddie! I watched her for a couple of years on Hollyoaks (a really crappy Brit soap) and she wasn't that bad, and quite attractive (although pictures never seem to do her justice). Anyway, I'll probably give this the four episode test just to check out the UK contingent. Other than that it looks absolutely dreadful.
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Sure I'll give it a go. The first season will fill up my DVR like OUAT did and I can watch them when I come home drunk and want to watch something I don't care about remembering.
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Definitely on my 'to try' list. I wonder - anything borrowed from SUCKER PUNCH ? FYI OUAT detractors: I purchased the second season.
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Very Suckerpunch-esque set up in the Preview, but not nearly as much lecherous cooks or catatonic dancing, thank goodness.
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Yet another in a spate of new shows that won't have me as a viewer even just for sampling purposes. It's been years since I've seen an upcoming season with so little of interest to me.
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I don't know...I might give it a chance but I'm not getting my hopes up. Besides, if the creators clearly don't know what to with the original show, I don't see this being any better.
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No, thank you.
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But Emma Rigby ruined it sort of for me. After seing those scary red carpet photos of her, I expect her to slap us through the screen with her all of the sudden weird platypus lips!
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I stopped watching OUAT when the sheriff was killed, but I'll give this a chance - it looks like it might be fun
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Just finished watched the series finale of Being Human (UK) last weekend - so super excited about seeing Michael Socha on a show again.
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I've read things that make this show sound like it is only supposed to go one season... I don't think that is the case though. Anyway, I expect this show to go on for around 6 seasons. It won't be a huge hit, but it will be fairly successful. I think it'll attract a lot of OUAT fans.
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I'll give it a shot since I still like(not love anymore) OUAT, but I'm not getting too excited. I'll watch it on DVR, Parks and Community(when it returns) take priority.
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Looks ok but now Fables will never be a tv show. A fantastic story and so much better than Once.
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This is true: ABC looked into producing a Fables TV show about two years before they announced OUAT. It's as fishy as you think.

Then again, I guess I can't blame them for being a bit squeamish about having Snow get raped by all 7 Dwarves at once.
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Yeah, they were probably 'inspired' by Fables but didn't want to pay royalities. In the comic the characters are all string especially Snow, in OUAT some of them are puny and only really the Queen, mr Gold and a few others are entertaining.
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No one needed another Thursday night show. Also, everyone knows that the first season of a spin-off airs directly after the original to build its audience. This show is doomed.
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Nice boots with that outfit, good start. Interesting corset, collar, and gloves on the 3rd photo as well, and there is definitely a Flash Gordon vibe coming off that shot. That said, I'm still not attracted to the OUAT franchise, there's something that turns me off about every single promo, a sense of plasticky shallowness that keeps me at arm's length, and this shows no different.
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I started off liking OUAT but season two left me cold. I will definitely watch the pilot though as a Pushing Daisies sort of thing might happen and it just might be good. I can spare the 43 minutes, at least, to find out. Somebody please hire Chi McBride...
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Expect less and you might get more.

Chi McBride is great, but they really need to create a role for him that fits him and breaks away from cliches, Boston Public and The John Larroquette Show were good examples as well.
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I gave up on OUAT after a couple of episodes, and while I applaud the creativity of shows like this, I don't think I have time to watch a show that's 'bad in a good way' when there's so much other stuff on this season.
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I hate the time slot this show got. That was a dumbass move if there ever was one. I loved the idea of this show as a bridge between fall and spring, but it sounds like it is still going to be a limited run deal so we'll see.

I can forgive crap CGI cause ABC gave all the pilot money to S.H.I.E.L.D. so you can only do so much with a limited budget. That being said, I hope with a summer to tweak and reshoot that they can address some of the issues that have been pointed out.

I'm excited for this show but I'm also weary of it. If they stick to their guns and have this season tell one story and that's it, and any future seasons will tell other stories and that's it, I think it'll be fine. But if they start following in the footsteps of the mothershow, it's gonna be another crazy, confusing mess. But who am I kidding, I'll still be there watching regardless.
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I am conflicted over this one (I was initially excited when I thought it was going to in the original OUAT's place so that the original could take a hiatus and the time slot retains an audience so that the characters from Revenge don't kill them for taking away some lead in audience, and then even when it got more, I kind of hoped that it would sort of split like Teen Wolf did) and only going to be thirteen episodes. Now it is in the death knell spot where I am one of the millions who watch BBT and then I am recording The Vampire Diaries and squirming that show has fallen on its butt and then watching Parks & Rec on demand the next day because you can't record NBC shows since they overrun and don't tell anyone. It is sort of how I am feeling about Revolution, I would still give it a chance (though it really is silly but there is hope), but now it is against Arrow and Survivor (which could be an overly season which might cause me to give it up or at least switch to On Demand).
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That's exactly what I'm considering doing. Watching season 2 of Revolution on demand!
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