RIP “Once Upon a Time”: ABC Cancels The Once Great Fairytale Show After Ruining Season 7

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: ABC)

We called it. “Once Upon a Time” is dead, surprising nobody. Everyone’s favorite fairytale drama is about to ride off into the sunset.

The writing has been on the wall for a while for this show. First, the main bulk of the show’s most popular actors failed to return after the end of season six, as “Once Upon a Time” was given a soft reboot as season seven attempted to retell the exact same story as the first season, but now set in Seattle for some ridiculous reason.

Then, ABC moved “Once Upon a Time” to the death slot. Friday night is typically the worst night for American TV viewing, because people generally have plenty of better things to do, and so when a show is moved to a Friday evening, it’s often a sign that a network is getting ready to cancel the series outright.

Naturally, the viewing figures for “Once Upon a Time” plummeted, and now, it’s been announced that season seven will be the end of the show.

Big surprise.

Once Upon a Time Season One
Source: ABC

This is a real shame. If things had worked out differently (and if studio heads hadn’t attempted to mess so much with a winning formula), “Once Upon a Time” could have continued for a long while to come.

The show has always enjoyed a solid fanbase. Audiences love the idea of fairytale characters, and later, specifically Disney heroines and heroes, slumming it in an approximation of the real world.

This also makes the show relatively cheap to produce in spite of its fantastical elements. If things had gone a little more smoothly over the last couple of years, “Once Upon a Time” could have continued indefinitely.

Once Upon a Time Seven
Source: ABC

All good fairytales have a moral, and the behind the scenes adventure of “Once Upon a Time” is no exception. The lesson to be learned is that there’s only so much you can mess with a winning formula before it inevitably falls apart.

Ultimately, it’s hard to get audiences to care about a show if you ditch half your main cast of characters, make the show more difficult to watch, and inexplicably try retelling the same story that people have already seen play out in its entirety.

Alas, there’s no happy ending for “Once Upon a Time”, as the show ends on something of a damp note.

Good night, “Once Upon a Time”, and sweet dreams. You will be missed.