Once Upon a Time Cancelled by ABC
Once Upon a Time, ABC’s hit fairytale series, is slated for the TV chopping block after its current season. The announcement comes in the wake of a cast and plot shakeup – the kiss of death for TV shows, even if they have a loyal and dedicated fan base.
Rebooting the Series
Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a Time’s lead actress, announced her departure from the show during season six. Five other main cast members followed suit. This left series creators with the tough decision of cancellation or continuation with a new angle and main cast. They chose the latter which, as it’s become clear to Once fans, was not the right choice.
Season seven started off with a twenty-year time jump – another TV staple that often leads to a show’s downfall. The focus of Once shifted from Morrison’s character Emma to her now fully grown son, Henry. Fans were hesitant to jump on board with the new iteration of Once as the season six finale felt final. When the show’s Sunday night staple time slot switched to the current Friday night slot, ratings plummeted. Numbers went down 20 percent in total viewers and a whopping 40 percent in demo ratings.
Fans complained about season seven’s plot repetition and the removal of happy endings that were snatched away with another curse. If the show had left the happy endings of beloved characters like Emma and Hook untouched, and gone a more original route, fans of the show might have been willing to give the new season a chance. Ratings of Once Upon a Time continued to decline. This led to the decision of the “Powers that Be” to cancel the show before it became as detested as Teen Wolf was during its final few seasons.
It’s hard to say if different choices would have led to a season seven success. Showrunners Horowitz and Kitsis could have ended Once in season six and rebooted the Henry plot as a spinoff. However, the show’s short-lived 2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland spinoff had awful ratings and showrunners understandably avoided going that direction.
Once Upon a Time creators and cast members have graciously thanked fans and the network for the time that they had to tell their stories. Showrunners Kitsis and Horowitz didn’t expect to make it past season one and Once’s success shocked the duo. It was a top contender for cancellation at the time so getting to season seven was a major triumph.
Once fans reacted to the news with comments ranging from relieved, upset, and nostalgically accepting. Oncers dismayed with the choice to take away happy endings in season seven can take solace in the post from the Once Upon a Time Facebook page which stated, “Thank you for seven amazing years of #onceuponatime! We can’t wait for you to see our Happily Ever After!” Every fairytale must come to an end but it looks like Oncers are going to get their Happily Ever After, after all.