“Now we get to do what’s next…”
After this season’s finale of Once Upon a Time, I had to ask myself, what’s next? The show isn’t ending (Although it is moving to a new night—Fridays.), and the glimpse we were given into what the next season might look like—featuring an adult, unbelieving Henry and his young daughter—was promising. However, the version of the show that drew me to my TV every Sunday and drew me to my computer every Monday to write about it for years—Emma Swan’s story—has ended. It’s the end of an era for “Oncers,” and it’s caused many of us—especially those of us who have been inspired to write, draw, create videos, or participate in fandom at any level—to evaluate our relationship with the show now and going forward.
I’m still planning on watching Once Upon a Time (as long as its message of hope and optimism is still present). And maybe the next season will still inspire me to write about it from time to time. But as far as weekly posts are concerned, I think it’s time for me to do what’s next.
This season’s finale post will be my last Once Upon a Time episode analysis for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping to fill that gap in my posting schedule with analysis of another television show (the identity of which has yet to be determined), and if you find yourself missing NGN television discussions, you can always catch up on The Americans and visit our discussions of its episodes until the show airs its final season next year. There will always be plenty of nerdy fun to be had here at NGN, and I hope those of you who first came here because of my Once Upon a Time posts stick around to see what comes next.
Once Upon a Time will always hold a special place in my heart. It was one of the building blocks of NGN in this website’s earliest days. It’s the show I’ve written about the most in terms of years and word counts, and it was the show I watched for the first time the day I decided to start this site. There would be no NGN—at least not as we know it today—without Once Upon a Time. And that’s why I can’t walk away from my weekly posts about it without saying thank you.
Thank you, Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, for creating a show that spoke to a lost girl in her 20s who was looking for something positive to believe in. Thank you for never losing sight of your vision and for never letting go of your belief that hopeful media still matters. Thank you for creating a story about complex, flawed, relatable women who find strength through many different kinds of love—a new set of fairytales women in today’s world can be inspired and empowered by.
Thank you to all the writers who took their vision and made it your own, and thank you to the most underrated cast on television for bringing these fairytales to life with depth, charm, and sincerity; this show could never have worked without the right cast. But even more than bringing these stories to life, thank you for caring so deeply about those who care so deeply about the show. The kindness and enthusiasm this entire cast has shown toward their fans is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in all my years in various fandoms. We have been truly lucky to have our favorite characters be played not only by talented actors but also by genuinely good people who truly believed in what they were doing. That makes all the difference in the world.
This show has changed my life. It was the reason I attended my first major fan convention. It was the inspiration behind some of my best and bravest writing. It introduced me to people I would never have known without it who have now become close friends of mine, and it helped strengthen my relationships with friends and family members by watching and talking about this special show together. And thanks to the incredibly encouraging corner of the fandom that I was a part of as well as the support and kindness I was shown by the incomparably thoughtful Jennifer Morrison, it gave me the confidence that I needed not just to make NGN the best it can be but also to push myself forward in my career as a writer and editor.
Once Upon a Time is a true light in the darkness. It has reminded me to never give up hope, that it’s never too late to be the best version of yourself, and that there is no darkness so powerful that it can’t be overcome by belief in yourself and the love of those around you. It has helped me learn to define myself on my own terms—to punch back and say “No, this is who I am.” And it has given me the courage to believe and to keep believing at a time in my life when it is all too easy to become cynical and apathetic.
More than anything, though, the most precious thing Once Upon a Time has given me is a place to belong. I’ve had different fandom “homes” before, but I’ve never stayed in one this long. And along the way, I have met so many incredible people—all because this show about fairytales brought us together. I feel honored to be a part of a close-knit community of fan writers who have written about every episode of this show for years and have formed our own support group to offer encouragement to each other in hard times and to celebrate with each other when things are good. To be surrounded by such positive, enthusiastic women and to be part of a group of ladies supporting ladies the way we have for as long as we have is a true joy and a gift that I don’t take for granted. I can’t wait to see what all of them do next.
Finally, when I look back on the years I spent writing about Once Upon a Time, I will think about the growth of the NGN Family during this time. I will think about the incredible discussions we had in the comments, the words of support I cherish to this day, the friendships I watched form with smiles on my face and tears in my eyes, and the reminders in a million tiny ways that I have the most beautiful chosen family on the Internet—a group of people who always has my back, who makes me want to be a better writer and a better woman because they deserve the very best of me, and who has shown me the true meaning of love being strength. It’s been an honor talking about this show and the journeys of these incredible characters with all of you, and I hope you know how much I value your readership and, more importantly, your friendship.
So let’s raise our Doctoberfest mugs to the show that brought us together. Cheers, Oncers!
Sweetie, such a beautiful post.
I found NGN a little late in the game, (I believe it was a few episodes into Season 4 . . .) but I’m so glad I did. I love our happy, analytical little corner of the internet. I appreciate so much that you’ve been able to keep this a happy, analytical place. I also appreciate how welcoming you and everyone here has been to my own special crazy. 🙂
Stories are powerful, and Once has its own special power that has resonated deeply with many of us here. I always look forward to being able to discuss or rant or just fan-girl about an episode. I love seeing the different reactions or seeing that others had the same reaction. (Sometime its nice to know you’re not alone . . .) I loved seeing the different ways we all connected with these characters and these stories.
I’m glad to know that you’ll still going to post. (I have Timeless DVR’d, so I’m good-to-go should you choose that . . . I may need to get caught up on the Americans.) I must admit that the possible loss of this community here hit hard. (I may check in on all of you on social media, but since I’m not on — for reasons — I can’t really interact.) I love my NGNers.
(No, I’m not crying — you’re crying. I just have something in my eye . . . it’s allergies . . . *sniffle*)
I can’t wait see what’s next and the growth of you and your work.
Thanks for making me a part of the family.
I think my Doctoberfest mug is empty . . . where’s the rum? I need a refill. 🙂
*refills your Doctoberfest mug because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere 😉 *
You’re going to make me cry! You have become such an important part of this family over the last few years, Tempest. There have been so many times during an episode of OUAT where I would immediate get excited to talk to you about it/read your thoughts on it the next day.
I hope you know that I’m going to do everything in my power to keep this little community as strong and tight-knit as ever. I have more OUAT content I’d like to post this summer, and I hope to do some more general posts to keep everyone engaged in discussions. But that being said, YES PLEASE WATCH THE AMERICANS. WE NEED YOU IN THOSE COMMENT SECTIONS.
Katie, I don’t quite remember exactly how I found your site. I believe it was possibly a link Jennifer Morrison had retweeted on a recap you had done or through Tumblr; it could have been both. What I do remember thinking is — this writer is amazing and on point. I’m a LOST fan and when I had discovered Doc Jensen on EW on his recaps and reviews, it gave me the sense of a home, as you say, and it was so well written, incredibly in depth; looking back then, my entry into a fandom. I hold any T.V. reviewer/recapper to his standard. And when I discovered your recaps and the passion & themes you had tied in, OUAT was already my home but in your recaps I found what I will call “that cool, smart cousin” who you knew her stuff and you couldn’t wait to hang out with. You– had met his standard, in my book. Every week, I couldn’t wait to see what themes or lesson you saw that maybe I didn’t notice or that we did notice and fangirl about. You, were also the light & hope in the fandom when the fandom on Twitter or Tumblr were … well, not the best. I just wanted to thank you for all the time, effort, and love you put into running NGN & the recaps you had done. It truly was amazing and it will be missed.
I don’t know how to thank you enough for these kind words, Gigi. I was right there with you on feeling finally at home reading Doc Jensen’s Lost posts at EW back in the day, so to be compared to him and his brilliant work is an honor I do not take lightly. This comment is one I will always treasure, and I’m so happy you came along for the ride with us here at NGN.
This is lovely, Katie. ❤
OUAT was exactly the show you needed as a person as a writer. You have grown braver and stronger by watching, writing about, and loving it and it has been amazing to watch. It's inspired some gorgeous posts from you, both your regular reviews and your special pieces and I've loved reading them even after I stopped watching the show. It was your thoughts that got me to continue watching during 2B and I wouldn't have wanted to miss season 3.
Your best legacy for the show however, is the community you built here. The combination of viewers who migrated over from your Castle posts to all the new people you've brought in have made this community a wonderful place to be. Everyone here is passionate and thoughtful and so willing to embrace our emotional connections to the show and fiction in general and I am proud to call myself part of this fandom family.
I can't wait to see what comes next for you and where your next big fandom loves take you.
Thank you, Katie! I might not always comment or reply, but I’m always here peeping.🤓
Thank you for your lovely reviews Katie, and I hope the show continues to be positive and fun to watch, for you, and for all of us. I didn’t know it was shifting time slots, but that makes sense. (I guess that will have a big impact on who sees it, beyond the changes to cast and storylines.) I’ll miss what we’ve had here, but it’s better to have loved and lost, right? At least we got our happy ending. And who knows, maybe there will be something really awesome and inspiring about the reboot. I have hope 😉
We’re in the thick of watching Scandal, starting from the beginning, this summer. But I’ve already told my hubby that The Americans is next on the list when we’re done. I won’t be at all surprised if I’m back here in a few months screaming “KATIE, THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD!” on your posts. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.