Just a bunch of loosely connected and highly subjective observations.
Cavendish did not want our OuaT viewing experience to end with that feeling of irritated frustration left by season 6, so he talked me into going back to the show’s very beginnings when all still felt fresh, new and considerably less convoluted. So far we have progressed up to ep 1.08 “Desperate Souls” and watching those early episodes is quite an eye opener.
- Much slower narrative pace.
- Almost every episode contains a whole lot of camera shots portraying Storybrooke not as a sterile set, but as a real town populated by all sorts of people. Far more background action going on in any of the street scenes.
- Much more time spent on establishing or exploring narrative or visual clues, small stuff that might turn out important a little bit further down the road. S1 basically teaches you to pay attention to even the tiniest aspects and actually rewards that attention by providing you, step by step, with an ever more complete picture of what’s going on. In S6, on the other hand, paying attention is something viewers actively get punished for, because none of the individual pieces seem to fit together or make sense anymore.
- All in all, much fresher and happier seeming actors. While Parilla’s portrayal of Regina strikes me as relatively consistent throughout the show, there are worlds between the S1 and S6 performances of Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison.
- More complex and nuanced characterisations, characters seem far more well rounded, in particular Snow.
- Cavendish actually squeed with joy when he saw how keen Rumple still was on contracts.
- Oh, Graham, I miss you.