Once Upon a Time Cancelled Renewed

Once Upon a Time on the Bubble and Eyeing a 'Reset': Keep or Cut?

By mid-May, the broadcast networks must make some tough calls as to which series will return for the 2017-18 TV season, and which… won’t.

As that deadline draws near, TVLine is singling out a few “bubble” shows and sizing up their prospects — based in large part on creative strides (and stumbles) and future potential, but also with a requisite nod to the cold, hard numbers that attract TV’s single-minded grim reaper.

RELATED 2017 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s on the Bubble?

Next up is a fairytale drama in need of a bit of magic.

THE SHOW | ABC’s Once Upon a Time

THE CASE FOR KEEPING | We held back on this Keep or Cut, knowing that changes were brewing for the ABC series. But now that it’s out there that any possible Season 7 would include a “reset” of sorts — adding a young male lead (played by Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West) and perhaps retaining a little more than half of the current series regulars — it’s time to get down to brass tacks.

The fact is, Once Upon a Time at this stage sort of demands a reset, either in the form of a fresh POV or a tweaked narrative engine, if it is to continue. Now that Emma’s “walls” are down, years after she came to accept the existence of magic and fairy tale VIPs living in Maine, her story seems about told. That said, holding onto Jennifer Morrison (one of the actors currently being wooed to renew their contract) is a must, in the name of continuity/”handing off the baton.” It’d also be great to keep around the yin to Emma’s yang, in Regina, while the current engagement storyline, if it comes to fruition, would seem to secure Hook’s standing. Losing both Snow and David — the familial touchstones that ground their daughter’s odyssey — would be a blow, for sure, but maybe their purpose can just as well be serviced by the occasional visit; ditto Rumplestiltskin.

THE CASE FOR CUTTING | Midway through writing this Keep or Cut, Nielsen issued the numbers for Episode 13 and they were not lucky, marking new series lows. As such, the pressure put on any rejiggered cast/narrative would be high; short of adding a “name” to the ensemble for Season 7, it’s hard to imagine an appreciable ratings rebound. As for Once‘s core storytelling DNA, we can think of precious few major-ish princesses or princes, witches or warlocks, left to lift from literature and add to the mix. So unless the plan is to stage some “reunion tours” for, like, Frozen‘s Elsa, or to bring to the fore heretofore peripheral characters such as Merida, Maleficent or Dr. Whale (should iZombie not get renewed), Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard may be bare.

Vote below, and then state your own case for keeping or cutting Once.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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306 Comments
  1. CEJ says:

    I think it’s time to cut. There have been a few good moments, but mostly this season has been pretty blah for me. How many times can Rumple change from good to evil? This show seems out of ideas.

    • Plainviewsue says:

      I so agree. Was once must see tv. It’s played out. Lost ended in six seasons. So must Once.

    • Martina says:

      Well I think this season is so much better than the ones before. It nearly has a season 1 feel to it. Not boring at all, finally a little bit more thrilling and not nearly as far-fetched, absurd and with much less plot devices and plot holes than before…. At this point though, yeah, it does come a bit late. But would this been season 2 or 3, I am pretty sure people would’ve loved it much more….

    • Nelli says:

      Agreed. It seems that pretty much everyone has switched from good to evil and back again and taken turns being the “Dark One.” I’d be willing to take a look at a reboot, but it’s possible the Storybrook is out of stories.

  2. LK says:

    This show has been spinning it’s wheels creatively for the last couple of seasons and I dropped it midway through last season. Time to move on.

    • AB says:

      Same here.

    • Jim says:

      Yup. I find it really hard to give up on shows I watch no matter what happens, but I had to give up on this one early into this season. It’s just over.

    • Kay says:

      Same here. I feel bad arguing for a cut when I stopped watching, but it hasn’t been relevant for years now. It’s time to move on to new things.

    • mpw says:

      Cut. Cut. Cut. This season is worse than the last. It’s not going to get better. The talent is not the problem. Everything wrong with this show starts with the showrunners. A reboot would be a disaster. Send them back to the Enchanted Forest. Slap on a happy ending and be done with it. ABC would be better off airing Disney properties like Marvel movies and Star Wars etc. than continuing this sinking ship. The way this season is going right now combined with the rumors I’ve read leads me to believe the show will end in a HIMYM like disaster that will taint any reboot.

      • Ally says:

        Just because you don’t like where this season is going, you don’t have to ruin it for everyone else who does. This show has changed so many people’s lives and you trying to get it cut is pitiful. If you don’t like it, don’t watch. Not everything you don’t like is gonna stop, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Don’t take it from everyone else Bc you’re a petty individual.

        • Sue Smith says:

          I agree. But people find it easier to give up, the try. This is why so may people who start there own business, shut it down or are closed down by their 3 rd year. Divorced by 5 yrs. Keeping something going needs a spark, Everyone is different, this spark is different for everyone. But those who never try, wonder why, their lives have no point. You must find a direction and the one thing, in your life that gives you purpose. This is the same for everything i your life. I did not watch TV for 25 yrs, just movies. I did not know what time any show was on during the week. I was self employed. My business was in its 16th yr. People become resentful, when someone or something is successful. But what they do not see, except the picture shown on the outside, is behind doors, I worked 21 hours a day, I also worked in other businesses, when I had quite times. I also worked for another company, watching 140 staff plus doing the same work, myself. All they saw, was a single mother, I had everything I needed in my life. I traveled when I wanted too, had money. That’s what they wanted, everything, without doing any work, or taking the time, to see what it took to get there. Or how bad my divorce was. No, just the good times. Plus I was 15 yrs older then them. So I had owned my first house, by the time they started school. But they are blind by money and a good time. So go watch “The Good Times”. Leave us, with this one.

        • Rita Carmella says:

          I agree with you

        • Lina says:

          Well said and I’m in agreement. The show has been so creative and I believe there are more stories to be told. I agree that some stories are done, but if you keep a good core group and add some new cast members, the show would take a new and interesting direction. If you are tired of the show, then why are you still watching it? I’m sure you could find another show to fill your time. The show has been so outstanding all of these years and you just want to toss it because the season isn’t going the way you want it to. Maybe you could write a new season better? Lol

          • Melissa says:

            I hope that the viewers also are treated like heros and get a happy ending. This show has helped to save my life. There is not enough magic in this world anymore. I really hope the writers and cast can pull it together for at least one last pay! It’s kinda sad when cop shows and crime shows last for 15 years or more, but a sweet show like this one can’t make it past 6 without the haters moving in and chewing it up.

  3. Love the show but I have to say I agree it’s plot has been exhausted. I read an interview late last year where the creators said it could go on for many years. I wouldn’t like to see it dragged out longer than it should be. That said, it deserves a proper ending so I would hope for a final season. Even if it’s a 12 episode season. It’s a show with so many loose ends that we deserve to see a happy ending.

  4. Lyss says:

    No Snow or Charming, no show in my opinion. Ginny and Josh are likely not renegotiating their contracts and the fact that the shows creators could even imagine continuing the show without what they at one point called, “the heart of the show” is a slap in the face to Gosh and all of the Snowing fans they have led on for so many years. All of the actors on this show deserve better, this show has been crap for the last season and a half, but without Snowing, this whole show wouldn’t exist. The savior wouldn’t exist, the evil queen never would have cast the curse, etc. ABC should just let this show die and let the actors move onto other projects.

    • Marcie says:

      Ugh! I can’t stand Snow and Charming. So boring! I’d be happy if they were frozen in time to be resurrected only in the series finale.

    • kayw4 says:

      I completely agree – not because the characters are super fascinating (they’re really not), but because to continue to tell a story about Emma without them seems to go counter to the entire mission statement of the show as it began (i.e. reuniting Emma with her family). It’s so sad when you have late seasons of shows where most of the core original cast are gone the writing has to pretend that they were never that important to begin with. Much better, in that case, to do an actual spinoff with new characters all round, just having one or two transition over into a new ensemble.

      • Scribe says:

        I disagree, sending them home to the Enchanted Forest you know to rebuild the shattered kingdom may not be a bad idea and devising a way they can visit without beans, ala Supergirl, is a nice compromise. Their story is played out. Trying to find interesting things for them to do is dull and besides, I think Ginnifer’s star power might be on the rise with her voice work of late.

        • Casey says:

          I was thinking something similar- people seem to jump to the conclusion that if the show continues without Snow and Charming, it means that they’re being killed off, or that somehow Emma doesn’t care about them enough to move to wherever they are. There are plenty of ways to send them off to rule the EF or wish realm EF where they’re not dead, or forgotten. Emma decides it’s best for Henry to stay in this world, and either there’s some magical loophole where they can visit, or at the very least they’ll be brought back for the eventual series finale/happy ending.

    • Martina says:

      I honestly don’t get why people would say that about Snow and Charming. The authors ran out of ideas for those two seasons ago. Now it’s always the same old story, nothing new, very boring. Most of the time they are just “there” and don’t even do much. The show evolved and even if they have been considered “the heart of the show” in the past, they aren’t anymore. Plus, they haven’t been in the latest episode at all and honestly I didn’t even missed them one second.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        I agree that Snow/Charming have been played out for awhile, especially in redundant flashbacks. Same for Rumple and the Evil Queen. But I’m not ready to give up on OUAT. A reset of sorts could provide a creative spark.

    • Anon12 says:

      Only Regina cares. She is the soul of Once

  5. Kathryn says:

    I love OUAT. It’s my favorite show. But I’d rather see it end with dignity (and a darn good series finale) than to hackneyed, piecemeal version of its former self.

    • Heather Petrie says:

      Then they are about 4-5 seasons too late. First season was good, then its been downhill ever since.

      Ratings back that up.

  6. Kevin Tran says:

    KEEP OUAT. Should get a proper final season.

  7. Katie says:

    I voted to keep it, but agree it will only work if they’re able to retain Jennifer Morrison. I don’t think the show would work without her.

  8. Val says:

    I dont mind either way. As long as Emma Swan gets her happy ending with her true love Hook, her son Henry, and her parents. But if they do keep it and its without Emma, i dont know if i would watch, she is the show – protagonist.
    Also end of the day ABC pays their wages i guess lol.

    • Val says:

      Oh and i think OUAT deserves to have FINALE season as a whole. So fans and viewers can go into knowing its a final season for the characters and their faves then just pulling the plug.

      • Courtney says:

        I agree. That’s why I don’t want this season to end. Not because the writing is amazing and it should keep going forever, because I can admit it’s gone a bit stale now. I want at least one more season that starts knowing it will end. Not just pulling the plug an episode or two before it’s the season finale which turns into the series finale. The show and the fans deserve more than that, it needs a full closure.

        • Lone Browncoat says:

          Yes, as I said in a previous poll, let them have one more season with Jennifer Morrison and/or wrap up this one, with a satisfying conclusion to wrap up everyone’s happy ending and fix up loose ends.

  9. Keep. If we look at the numbers, OUAT is still top 1 of ABC on Sundays. Their current 4th best drama, the 5th one on the whole year.

    Yes, it is going lower in ratings. But, as of today, OUAT is by far not ABC’s most serious problem ratings-wise.

    It deserves a final season. Even if it is a shorter one. But after 6 years, OUAT does not deserve to end like this. So, if the last season allows some returns, and to finish some stories, why not?

    • “But after 6 years, OUAT does not deserve to end like this.” -> I mean, ending this year with a finale ending on a cliffhanger (because it will for sure).

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      FYI: In latest numbers, it is ABC’s #5 drama (out of 11) in demo, #7 in total audience (beating Secrets and Lies, Quantico, Time After Time and SHIELD).

      • Indeed, so not the worst situation even ^^

      • Brandon says:

        That is really good but the shows material just isnt that great anymore. Regardless, I just ask for a proper and good ending for all parties involved.

      • Heather Petrie says:

        Worst rated episode ever (yet) – and it’s the CS marriage proposal episode. I love it! And it dropped from a 0.8 into the 0.7’s half way. People were leaving because it was so bad.

        People really love the CS and Hook show, Adam and Eddie, huh? lol.

        Please just cancel this train wreck. The audience has spoken and abandoned this awful show. No one cares about Stepford Emma Swan (the real Emma Swan is long dead and gone) marrying her lying, drunken abuser.

        • Marina says:

          I’m sorry, but how did people leave half way because of CS when NO ONE knew Hook was going to propose? They were in the episode for 5 seconds and it was the last scene LOL Stop reaching.

        • Courtney says:

          Just because you aren’t a fan of the Captain Swan relationship doesn’t mean all the other fans hate them too. Most of the fans actually love the relationship, including me. And believe me, there are shows much worse than this that are an actual train wreck.

          • GM says:

            Just because you are a fan of the Captain Swan relationship doesn’t mean all the other fans love them too. Most of the fans actually hate the relationship, including me. (Either of our statements could be correct. Unless of course you’ve surveyed all 2.5 million remaining fans, in which case I defer.)

          • T Knight says:

            I vote with Courtney!💍

            Signed,
            One of the 2.5 million

    • skyebright8 says:

      Yeah I’d like OUAT and AoS to get short final seasons

  10. Dominique says:

    it’s time to cut OUAT. It’s a shame because it used to be a wonderful and refreshing show with so much beauty and fun. but it’s clear the writers never had a longterm plan. Ever since season 3 it feels like they’re winging it, hoping for the best, which usually results in the opposite. There’s no continuity in this show which leads to an unbelievable amount of plotholes.
    They’ve had some terrible lows when it comes to storylines, and they don’t know how to divide the attention among all the castmembers. It’s very clear they have favorites and that’s never a good thing for a showrunner.
    They should wrap it up somewhat gracefully while they still can.

  11. BatRomane says:

    I’m really shared I think it depends on what they’ll do. From what we see I’m not exactly sure it’ll be a reset but they must not separate too much people, even if we don’t often see it the show is about hope so it would be bad. I’m waiting to see really, also I hope the actors will get what they want, not leaving when they want to stay or staying and not being too happy about it. We’ll see! I’ve been disappointed by some things in the show but it’s not character related and it’s about flaws they had for a long time. I hope they can surprise us in a good way.

  12. I voted Keep but not necessarily in the way that you envision it here. I think it does need a bit of a reset, and losing any key players would require that due to its flashback structure, unless they could secure them as recurring players. I wouldn’t return as a viewer without the show having Rumplestiltskin, Regina, Belle, some version of Henry. I loved Emma in the earlier seasons of this show, but I haven’t felt invested in her story for the most part in the last two or three seasons. At the same time it is tough to imagine the show without her… Buuuut, if the new male lead is actually a grown up Henry, I think the familial aspects could be served by the characters I mentioned above. I can do without Hook and Zelena, personally, but I understand others feel different. So I guess I vote keep but only with certain players still in play. ;)

  13. Michael says:

    It’s time for them to live happily ever after!!!

  14. Chris says:

    It’s too late for a reset now, it’s not going to bring back the lost viewers and it’s going to alienate the ones that are left.

  15. When it returned last week, they advertised “This will have a happy ending but for others the finale chapter”. Could that mean this the end of the series?

  16. I don’t care either way because I stopped watching a season and a half ago when I realized this show was only gonna go downhill (which it did, but I wish I had stopped after season 3 instead of continuing the suffering). I just want Lana Parrilla to be free of this complete mess and on a show of her own. OUAT doesn’t deserve her, and the more she carries this show around on her shoulders, the more her talent is being wasted on scraps.

  17. fernando933 says:

    I love this show but it needs to wrap up this season. ABC needs better ratings then a .5 demo and more then 3 million viewers to get back on track. Like I said before ABC need to focus on their Sunday’s. It needs to be a family Sunday block. Start it off with two family comedies, follow by two family dramas or inhuman and a family drama.

  18. Vale says:

    Keep it!!!!

  19. KMG says:

    Loved this show for a long time, but it started to fell like they were desperately trying to find anything to say about the characters. I finally gave up midway through season 5, because it was a shell of its former self. But it’s been an important part of ABC for 6 years now, so maybe they should do what Fox did with Bones, and bring it back for a shortened “victory lap” final season.

  20. I’m ok with a cut, as long as the show gets a proper finale. The show has a long enough run that the writers deserve time to wrap it up.

  21. Brandon says:

    Let Lana Parrilla be free!

    She would be amazing on something like American Horror Story. Once Upon A Time gave her a great opportunity of exposure and she should use it elsewhere.

  22. GraceM says:

    I wouldn’t want a reboot. So if the majority of the cast isn’t returning, cut it. I wouldn’t watch a reboot.

  23. lastfrontier84 says:

    It’s run its course. Season 5A had huge potential and was the worst except for one or two episodes. 5B was a marginal improvement that again had potential, but festered out. 6 started out again with huge potential and it floundered fast by killing off the new villains and what happened to the Land of Untold Stories that was so touted? All the characters aboard the blimp? So many dropped storylines and rehashed plots. Please end it with dignity and make a new series as a spinoff.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      So many dead/forgotten storylines. I think that’s a big problem. The writers have tried to do too much and yet haven’t done enough. They could’ve reset the series several times by now but keep returning to the same played out stories. How about leaving Rumple dead as a hero years ago rather than resurrecting him and making him bad again? That would’ve made way for a new big bad. Or letting Zelena stay gone? Let baddies be BAD & then vanquish them. A new villain, with new side characters integrated into a smaller main core, every season is okay. Supernatural has maintained that pattern for 12 creative seasons! It’s the writers’ reluctance to let characters go, while continuing to add unfinished storylines, that has gotten the show into a rut. The show doesn’t HAVE to revolve around Snow/Regina/Rumple; that’s just the writers’ fallback.

  24. Mark says:

    I must admit I have watched one episode from this season the rest are on my dvr but unlike years passed when this was my Sunday staple and a must watch now its just tired and passed its sell by date. And the hook character for me was the main cause I was fast forwarding through most of his parts. should have dissapperd like the rest of the neverland cast back in season 3

  25. amy says:

    I still watch the show religiously and enjoy in as a whole but Emma is the show to me…she connects all the characters and this season there has been little time allotted to her story arc and almost zero time afforded to her family relationships…there has hardly been a scene with her mother….Henry hasn’t been seen and really even her romantic relationship has suffered proper development. I have stuck around 6 seasons but if they reboot by killing Emma or locking her away in an Asylum…and time lapse to a grown Henry (new male lead?) I will peace out. Emma Swan deserves better after 6 seasons of angst

  26. Jennifer says:

    I have been a fan of this show since the beginning. I love the original premise, but it’s gone so far off the rails, it’s barely recognizable any more. This is it for me, no matter what happens … I’ve got 3 episodes on my DVR that i’m not even anxious to watch after reading the recaps. Please, put the show out of it’s misery

  27. Gospino says:

    Brass “tax”? Am I missing a pun there, or is that just an error?

    Anyway, I’d like the show to return to do a proper sendoff.

  28. Cam says:

    Personally, I am not watching any reset that doesn’t include Snow and Charming, as they are the reason I watched as long as I did. However, I don’t think a reset with new cast will fix the issues with OUAT, as the main issue is with the writing. The pacing is off, the writers are more interested in plotdriven OMG! stuff than the characters and they have a habit of retconning everything into the ridiculous. So, for a reset to properly work, it would have to reset the writers more than anything.

    • It's Delovely says:

      “The pacing is off, the writers are more interested in plotdriven OMG! stuff than the characters and they have a habit of retconning everything into the ridiculous.”

      This has been the problem with OUAT since mid-Season 2, when the writers dropped their originally-planned story as soon as they got the rights to Neverland. The problem has only gotten worse over the subsequent seasons. Rather than focus on realistic character development and let the stories evolve from that, they’ve sacrificed the integrity of the regular characters to service gotcha! plot moments and guest characters. As much as I love some of the characters, I got tired of the retcons and sloppy writing, and stopped watching at the start of this season.

      For a show about fairy tale characters, I can’t believe how badly they’ve bungled the stories of Snow/Charming and Rumple/Belle (Beauty & the Beast). These characters have either been sidelined (Snow, Charming, Belle) during major stories, or written inconsistently to serve a messy plot (all of them at various times). These characters have so much potential and are played by such talented actors–it’s so disappointing that the writing has failed them time and time again. This show had actors like Robert Carlyle and Ginnifer Goodwin under contract, and instead the writers chose to focus on dumb plots and guest characters. I don’t get it.

  29. lbchatterbox says:

    Please! it’s time to end it! This season has been awful. Just announce it’s ending so the characters can get proper closure. I don’t want to see stuff dragged out for endless seasons.

  30. Mike Lucas says:

    If it doesn’t have JMO in S7, they can cut it. I will not watch.

  31. Chris says:

    They lost us when they erased everyone’s memory. Stick a fork in it, it’s over.

  32. Time to cut. With Emma and Hook (im sure) eventually walking down the aisle, I think its a nice place to end

  33. Jello says:

    This show was so good before they threw it under the Hook bus.

  34. Luli says:

    i miss the family moments between snow, emma, and charming…. wouldnt like to lose the charming, but belle and rumple can go.

  35. Ken says:

    I hope for one finale season to wrap everything up and not end on a cliffhanger and to resolve unresolved storylines such as what happened to Will Scarlett, how he ended back up in Storybrook and were is Anastasia? Just to name one unresolved thing…

  36. Kate says:

    I am a little biased as last episode was so boring but also I am intrigued where Jennifer Morrison has been for the past two episodes. She was in two scenes and I think she filmed them on tge same day.

  37. e. says:

    Cut retroactively three years ago!

  38. PatriciaLee says:

    “Of course it should be. It’s one of the few good shows on there. They, already, got rid of Grimm.” says the husband. I think it’s cute. Keep.

  39. GSP says:

    I have been a fan of the show, but I feel like it’s bogged down by its own mythology now. If I’m ABC, I’d end Once Upon a Time and start over by creating a new Disney anthology series. 8-10 episode mini-seasons (fall/spring) with a focused complete storyline that isn’t dependent on or connected to any other season.
    I would try the same thing with a Marvel anthology series and pair the two on Sundays.

  40. I am very torn.
    On hand ratings are bad and ” reboot/revamps/resets” never work well and I’d really hate to loose the Charmings.But on the other hand,it sounds like Emma,Regina,Rumple & Hook will return and I like them and am sorta curious what the reboot will be like/look like and Once is still ratings better than a bunch of other abc show and they /won’t cancel everything.

  41. Jimmy says:

    Every series reaches a time when it should move on to TV heaven and OUAT has reached that point. They’ve pretty much mined the Disney animated vault as much as they can. The stories just aren’t that interesting anymore and several characters have stayed around longer than they should, e.g. Rebecca Mader’s useless and now boring Wicked Witch. Go out with a bang and move on.

  42. SHIRLEY BLAIR says:

    Reset. Enjoy the show.

  43. Marco Piazzo says:

    I’ll take option number 3 – Final Season. So, technically, I’ll answer both; Keep (renew for season 7) AND Cut (end the show with the aforementioned season 7).

  44. Lucy says:

    I only enjoyed the first three seasons of the show. The rest has been background noise while I’m doing work at home.

  45. Azerty says:

    If they planned a real ending without any cliffhanger then yes. If not half a season to conclude everything and maybe bring back fan favorites. But it’s time to end, no doubt.

  46. Jill says:

    I have watched since the beginning. It is time to cut. I didn’t even finish watching the end of last nights show and for some reason my DVR didn’t record the show, and I’m ok with that. It’s the same storyline every season. Go into an alternate universe, there are a few big bads and Regina and Swan save the day by teaming up. It’s too predictable and I only watch out of habit.

  47. pickles says:

    Cancel all ABC dramas,yes including TGIT it’s time for some new blood and storytelling.

  48. shelly says:

    I won’t watch if Snow and Charming isn’t part of Once’s fabric. I miss when they are not part of the show. I wish the network would give the actors another look. I am going to miss Once, will not watch a reboot without Snowing. Not a CS fan, cheap not off of the original Snowing.

  49. nhogan47 says:

    I voted Keep, and I think the reset sounds intriguing, but it’s got to move away from Sunday.