If there is one major criticism that we have about the 22-episode model , it’s that it is simply next to impossible to tell one single, long-form story over the course of that time. You just can’t expect an arc to build up that slowly and still be high-quality, which is why you see so many fantastic cable shows these days have somewhere between 10-16 episodes. It’s just a much easier number to work with.
While “Once Upon a Time” does have the challenge right now of writing 22 episodes a year, it does feel like creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have come up with one great way to circumvent the problem: In dividing the show up in to two separate arcs, they basically get two season for the price of one. For more explanation on what we mean here, just take a look at what Kirsis had to say to TVLine:
“[We want these first 11 episodes to work] as its own season, like one giant movie. And like any adventure movie, there’s romance, there are things that are terrifying, and there are things that are heartbreaking. That was always our goal, to have that big, summer movie feel.”
Some of the ways in which this season will be unique is showing some new faces in Neverland (see Ariel), giving characters opportunities to move on with their lives (Regina), and also having a dark, mysterious figure at the middle of all of it in Peter Pan. Is he really full-on evil? That is what is currently unclear right now, given that he could either just be criminally misunderstood, or be operating with some secret motives.
We will hopefully start to find out some answers as “Once Upon a Time” premieres on ABC on Sunday, September 29.