On March 28, 2014, ABC officially cancelled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, a spin-off series from their Sunday night hit series, Once Upon a Time.
According to TVGuide, a promo, following its penultimate episode, also noted that next week’s episode will be the series finale. The spin-off series, starring Sophie Lowe as Alice, was always meant to be one self-contained season. But if it proved successful, producers were open to a potential second season.
The cancellation isn’t surprising news. According to IGN, the series has been struggling with ratings throughout the latter part of the season. It did come off with very strong initial ratings – since it was a spin-off of Once Upon a Time – but as time went by, the ratings started to waiver to numbers a network wouldn’t like for any show.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is said to have failed because of two reasons. First, its time slot was on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST. For most cable networks, that is a bad time slot to place shows, especially newer ones that haven’t broken in yet. The only other time slot worse than Thursday nights is Friday nights. To understand just how bad Friday nights are, take into account that Joss Whedon, the director responsible for the third highest grossing movie in the box office of all time (The Avengers), created two shows which aired on the Friday time slot. The first series (Firefly) cancelled in its first season and the second series (Dollhouse) cancelled in its second.
The second reason why Once Upon a Time in Wonderland failed is because it originally wasn’t a regular series like Once Upon a Time, Revenge, or any of the other regular season shows ABC, or any other network, have. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was supposed to be a 13-episode series that would air during Once Upon a Time‘s time slot between their winter finale and spring premier episodes. With most network shows, winter finales are around October or November. They take a two to four month long break then continue on in Spring. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was supposed to air during the break.
Despite being cancelled, the producers of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland had always said they’d tell a complete story over the course of the first season. Ergo, there should at least be some closure for this series when the finale airs next week.
Starting on April 10, 2014, ABC will air a special episode of Shark Tank before giving the time slot over to Grey’s Anatomy repeats afterwards.
[Images via promotional pictures from Disney/ABC]