I haven’t mentioned the American fantasy-drama series Once Upon a Time before, because, while I don’t really buy into the concept of “guilty pleasures”, it’s a not a show that I’m particularly proud of watching. For those who don’t know, this series is set around the American town of “Storybrooke”, where various famous fairy tale characters live as mundane mortals, unaware of their previous lives, trapped in an endless, unhappy amnesia by the Evil Queen’s curse… until Snow White’s estranged daughter (who was safely ejected from the magickal realm as a baby, shortly before the Curse took hold) shows up to rock the boat and break the spell… presumably… eventually… probably. The premise is stupid, and crumbles into nonsensical dust as soon as you apply the slightest logical scrutiny to it… the stories, characters, and dialogue are dreadfully bland… the CGI FX, costumes, and sets are shockingly cheap and shoddy… but I just keep watching, because… um… I’m a genre fan, and Robert Carlyle is AWESOME. I mean, he’s hamming it up something fierce as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, but the guy has screen-presence to spare, bless ‘im.
Anyway, the only reason I mention it now, is because this week’s episode (#1.9) featured a cameo by Emma Caulfield (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame), as a ‘Blind Witch’ who tries to capture and cook Hansel and Gretel in her gingerbread house. Aside from the fact the whole “she’s asleep, but she’ll wake up if you eat her food” set-up is a blatant rip-off of Pan’s Labyrinth, I was disappointed by the way they wasted Caufield in such a minor, ephemeral role. ‘Anya’ quickly became my fave character on Buffy, and listening to the Once More With Feeling album again the other day, I still crack up every time she sings about bunnies or tries to steal the spotlight from ‘Xander’ (“Look at me, I’m dancin’ crazy!”). Maybe I’m biased by how much I loved her signature character, but for my money Caufield’s a legitimately funny, talented actress, and she deserves so much better than this, dammit!
Her appearance also has the unfortunate effect of reminding everyone how much funnier and smarter the show would be if Joss Whedon were running it. Oops!