NYCC: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Fizzles, ‘Locke & Key’ Shines, and ‘Hunger Games’ CosPlay Scowls

Day 2 of the New York Comic-Con is in full swing. The cosplayers are out and the show floor is rocking like it’s 2011. And while there is much to do and so many pictures to take, there were two things in particular that really got me interested.

The first was a screening of the pilot for the new ABC series Once Upon A Time. The premise of the series focuses on Emma Swan, (Jennifer Morrison) who after being “greeted” by her ten-year-old son that she gave up for adoption the day he was born, is forced to bring the boy back to his home of Story Brook, Maine.

The hook of the series is that Story Brook is, in actuality, a place frozen in time where the likes of Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Jiminy Cricket, Prince Charming and The Evil Queen live. The problem is that none of them have any memory of who they once were.

Much time is spent jumping between the fantasy land that the magical characters lived in before being transported to our world and the present day. If anything, you could call the pilot of Once Upon A Time a very poorly put together prequel.

On paper the show has everything going for it. Mystical fantasy seems to be all the rage these days, Jennifer Morrison is still hot off the heals of leaving House and two lost writers (Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz) are running the writers room. However, in practice the pilot fails to give the audience a reason to do anything other than laugh at the extremely poorly written dialogue and convoluted explanation as to why everyone ended up in the town.

Perhaps the show’s only saving grace is the little boy Henry (Jared Gilmore), who’s natural charm allows the audience a tiny glimmer of hope that the show might actually be worth while. Ironically, according to its creators who took some questions after the screening, the main theme running throughout the series is “hope.” Hope in the idea of happy endings, because without those, what’s the point?

If Once Upon A Time can fix its absolutely atrocious dialogue, then it might just survive the current television season.

And speaking of surviving, a show that made huge buzz this past pilot season was Locke & Key. Unfortunately the pilot was never picked up to series by production company, FOX. But with MTV supposedly now interested in it, the pilot has begun making its way around the convention circuit, the first of which was San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, and it has now made its way to the east coast at NYCC.

Unlike Once Upon A Time, Locke & Key wastes no time in making sure you know exactly what kind of tone the series is going for. And while the opening is definitely creepy, it’s not until much later in the pilot that the audience realizes just how messed up things are going to get.

From what can be gathered from the pilot (yes, I am aware it is based on a highly successful comic book) the series follows the Locke family who after suffering a massive tragedy, move into the home that has been in the family for ages. But what some of the family don’t know is that the house is more than just a pile of bricks. It follows three children who act as our gateway into the magical nature of the mansion they’ll spend their season discovering.

What’s really intriguing about Locke & Key is very similar to what was so great about MTV’s Teen Wolf series this past summer: there is a lot of meat on the bones of the series to chew on.

The best part of the series is the character Dodge played by Ksenia Solo. Despite the fact that she spends a majority of her time at the bottom of a well, that doesn’t stop her from completely chewing the scenery. The creepiest thing about her is that she is so good at playing innocent and adorable.

Any time she comes up close and personal with another character, a slight chill runs down your spine as you wonder if someone’s neck is going to get snapped.

This year also seems to be the year for really awesome kids in shows because Skylar Gaertner, who plays 6-year-old Bode is completely charming and has some of the best slap-stick sensibility I have ever seen on television.

For every scare, there is a hint of charm running throughout the series. Locke & Key holds nothing back in its pilot and it is very possible that at the ends of the day, MTV will order it to series.

And before you go, here is the pic of the day:

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

Read More from Merrill Barr
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