• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 10, 2013
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 23
  2. Negative: 3 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Oct 10, 2013
    80
    There is plenty of that--the good, the beautiful and the etc. Some of it is conjured by CG magic (the Red Queen's palace is splendid, and the White Rabbit's ears a masterwork), and some by just good storytelling and performer chemistry, which Lowe and Socha have in abundance. Add to that a smattering of witty dialogue, clever character twists and, of course, the Victo-goth steampunk look, and ABC has another shot at redefining the family hour.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Oct 10, 2013
    80
    Without taking anything away from “Once Upon a Time”--this one is cleaner and seems to require less cataloging of multiple plotlines.
  3. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 9, 2013
    75
    The plot is a little overstuffed, but the special effects, crisp direction and high-octane performances keep us interested enough to follow Alice down the rabbit hole.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Oct 9, 2013
    75
    Lowe and Gadiot make convincing lovers, Socha provides the comic relief and Rigby is suitably sinister as the Red Queen.... Good family fun.
  5. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Oct 10, 2013
    70
    Lowe's job of selling Alice's yearning for Wonderland is all the more remarkable for the fact that her world-spanning love with Cyrus comes off a little bit limp in the premiere.
  6. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 10, 2013
    70
    The visuals help distract from the hokey sampler-ready dialogue: "When you really love someone, you don't need proof. You can feel it."... but I'd be happy to follow this White Rabbit just about anywhere. On a less busy night.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Oct 9, 2013
    70
    Alice’s battles with various computer-animated and live-action threats are entertaining and, usually, rather witty, though her traveling companions, the White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow) and the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha, the proletarian werewolf in the later season’s of the BBC version of Being Human), get most of the best lines.
  8. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Oct 9, 2013
    70
    The show's real power resides in Lowe herself, whose screen presence makes even the silliest bits of Wonderland work better than they probably deserve to.
  9. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Oct 9, 2013
    67
    There's too much going on to tell what might ultimately stick, other than the contents of the Mallow Marsh.
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 9, 2013
    67
    Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is very nice to look at, particularly in homes that have upgraded from rabbit ears. Its speaking parts, though, are sometimes better heard at low volume.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Oct 9, 2013
    67
    The series seems equally pitched between good--Lowe, a solid writing staff, and that mournful tone--and bad--Michael Socha as a helpful rogue who joins Alice on her quest and is already wearing thin by the end of the first episode--but for those who’ve enjoyed the parent series, even ironically, it stands as just enough of an improvement to recommend.
  12. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Oct 9, 2013
    63
    I can't help but believe that if this new series focused on the dark, foreboding tone in its asylum scenes, it could become a powerful, trippy 9 p.m. drama.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Oct 9, 2013
    63
    Children will enjoy some of the stunts, and adults may appreciate some of the love-conquers-all messages. But all ages may fear that, as with the original, there's less here than meets the eye.
  14. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Oct 9, 2013
    60
    A slick effects extravaganza whose pilot episode kept me looking instead of enjoying.
  15. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 8, 2013
    60
    Wonderland is equally handsome [as "Once Upon a Time"], but behind those virtual sets lurk many potential flaws. An appealing Alice certainly helps matters, but past performance reduces the likelihood of a fairy-tale ending.
  16. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Oct 10, 2013
    58
    As our wanderer through the rabbit hole, Lowe lacks conviction, but Socha is a true charmer as the Knave, and fans will be making wishes for Alice to dump the dreary genie for the rogue. With the mothership’s leads on a similar quest for a missing boy, Wonderland seems like an exercise in magical redundancy.
  17. Reviewed by: Vicki Hyman
    Feb 13, 2014
    50
    The grand, star-crossed romance between Alice and Cyrus is promising, and turning Alice into a willful Victorian riot grrl is a move that will resonate with many viewers. As in "Once," the computer-generated landscapes and creatures don't quite work--they look do look unworldly, but in a cheesy way.
  18. 40
    Wonderland has no nuance. It's not elegant or metaphorical at all, and many of the scenes would be at home on an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
  19. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Oct 9, 2013
    40
    Every creature and person is a threat to Alice and vice versa. Characters like the rabbit and knave are uppity and untrustworthy; they steal and lie. There are no ready-made friendships here like there are in, say, Oz. As soon as you get there, you feel like you’re ready to leave.
  20. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 9, 2013
    40
    Ultimately, the story doesn’t really matter because the characters are paper thin and efforts to make Alice more than a damsel in distress--she’s a skull-crushing, tree climber--don’t really add much depth.
  21. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 24, 2013
    38
    Wonderland grabs elements from the Lewis Carroll classic, throwing them down a rabbit hole and lets them land willy-nilly. [28 Oct 2013, p.42]
  22. Reviewed by: Lily Moayeri
    Oct 10, 2013
    30
    The main storyline isn't strong enough and the incongruous peripheral elements just confuse rather than engage the viewer.
  23. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Oct 9, 2013
    30
    In “Once Upon a Time,” the multiple time streams were clever at first but proliferated to a point of wearying confusion. Wonderland skips straight to bewilderment.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. Oct 11, 2013
    5
    I like Once upon a time, and I'm a 28 YO White male. I think OUAT has some interesting remakes of popular characters and I like seeing where they go, even if the episodes sometimes drag.

    This... felt weird. Right from the start. Perhaps that is fitting for a tale about Wonderland and Alice, but, I think it might have lost me, and I give pilot episodes a LOT of leeway and drift.

    Here's what's up acting, actually relatively decent. They have a great actor from Britain (previously on Being Human) as the Knave of Hearts, and honestly I only found his part's to be entertaining.

    The entire romantic storyline was so shoddely put together that it felt terrible. It was forced, and it was so briefly introduced. They really could have skipped it entirely except for references to "a genie, or him" and come up with better motives for Alice going into Wonderland. And... what time period are we in? Alice's father seems like he dresses for the early 1900's or 1800's but then the Knave is in modern day storybrooke? Uh... what?

    The story's internal consistency there leaves a LOT to be desired. The main female actor is frankly terrible. her dialogue is even worse. When are these writers going to start giving these actor's lines that any decently intelligent human can't see coming miles away?

    Action scenes? hah, well other than being classically awful in the few we had, the cgi also looked really cheap. They screwed themselves by creating a story that relies so much on the territory of Wonderland... which really should look more unique. I understand everything is darker now... but not only did the contrast feel off so did the colors of the plants.

    The only part I liked, the introduction of the cat...

    Ways to turn this show around? Perhaps make the main actor a little more observant, or the Knave? That's his world, and he doesn't see ANYTHING wrong right off the bat? Or if he knows (like he may seem to) whats going on, wouldn't he say SOMETHING to Alice?

    This show needs something beyond faith and hope. OUAT is fascinating, and a fun adventure. This feels like a pale shadow, for spin offs done right, look to the Originals and Vampire Diaries. Both shows are QUITE different, despite coming from the same place.

    This feels just like OUAT except with worse acting, visuals, and plot. Recommend staying away unless the writers drastically turn this around. But I doubt they will.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 26, 2013
    10
    Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is a breath of fresh air when comparing it to other network television. Finally, a show with an interesting, unique premise with a good storyline. I am so sick and tired of generic comedies, singing shows, and the unfathomable amount of crime series. Wonderland is unique and brings to life a world we learned about during our childhood. I hope that ABC will keep this show running and not crawl back to the generic boring crap most networks put on. Full Review »
  3. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    Creative, imaginative, fun. Keeps me wanting to find out more. Not such a fan of the cgi, but the characters are likeable and acting is better than Once upon a time. Full Review »