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5 Midseason Series “Once Upon a Time” Fans Will Love

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“Once Upon a Time” fans probably don’t enjoy the mid-season break the series takes every year, but this year there may be a band aid to cover the wound. There are quite a few upcoming midseason shows that will satiate your craving for magic, mysteries, and new twists on fairy tales.

The shows below don’t have premiere dates yet, but many of them might pop up soon after “Once Upon a Time” ends the first half of season four with an exasperating cliffhanger.

“Emerald City” – NBC

This series is perfect for “Once Upon a Time” fans who were disappointed to find out that Wicked doesn’t always win; instead she gets offed way too soon. The green-skinned sorceress will probably live a lot longer in “Emerald City,” but she’s eventually going to have to deal with Dorothy.

Speaking of the girl in the gingham dress, she’s a girl no more in “Emerald City.” Instead she’s been re-imagined as a 20-year-old woman who has more than one thing in common with Emma Swan. For one thing, she has no idea who her birth mother is. According to TV Line, she tries to solve this mystery by sneaking into “a sinister facility somewhere in the Midwest.” She’s forced to flee the facility, and she takes a little dog with her. However, Toto is also getting an extreme makeover; he’s now a stolen K9 police dog.

Of course Dorothy runs into a tornado when she’s fleeing, and she’s whisked to the not-so-wonderful world of Oz. Just like Emma Swan, Dorothy might be the savior that this magical land is waiting for, but her journey down the yellow brick road won’t be easy. “West” sounds like the most formidable foe she’ll be facing. She’s described as “a corruptive — and fearsome — force of nature, a drugged-out virtuoso filled with self-loathing.” I’m just hoping it takes more than a mere bucket of H2O to bring her down.

Weirdly, Dorothy’s love interest will be named Henry, so I guess you could pretend this is a sequel to “Once Upon a Time.”

“Wayward Pines” – FOX

This show keeps getting compared to “Twin Peaks,” but the trailer is also very reminiscent of the first few episodes of “Once.” It also takes place in a quaint town that seems perfect on the surface, but just like Storybrooke, Wayward Pines is harboring a dark secret. The town is also surrounded by woods; the residents all act very strange; and it’s impossible to leave. However, the town prevents people from leaving with a giant electrified wall instead of a magic force field.

Matt Dillon is the Emma Swan in this scenario. The weirded-out outsider is a Secret Service agent searching for two missing agents, one of whom has transformed into a completely different person (does this plot point sound familiar?). Juliette Lewis fills in for Red Riding Hood by playing the hot bad girl working at the local diner, and Terrence Howard’s wacky sheriff is the big bad who seemingly makes all the rules (he’s a Regina/Gold mash-up). The series looks wonderfully weird, so don’t let M. Night Shyamalan’s connection to it scare you away.

“Galavant” – ABC

This is another fairy tale show airing on ABC, but it stars a new heartthrob hero named Galavant who is perfectly portrayed by sex-ay Joshua Sasse. This midseason musical comedy is the perfect show for “Once Upon a Time” fans who are upset that Charming never breaks out into song. And just like “Once,” the show has more than one Disney connection – it’s created by “Tangled” writer Dan Fogelman and features music by “Aladdin” composer Alan Menken.

Fans of Hook will also love Galavant’s slightly abrasive attitude. Just like the one-handed pirate, he has to work hard to win over the girl he loves. Unfortunately, he might not be as successful as the smitten sea rover – his “Princess Bride” actually picks the corrupt king over the handsome hero, and Galavant tries to get over the girl by going adventuring.

The trailer for “Galavant” features knights and sword fights, plenty of nods to “Monty Python,” and a villainous King Richard (Timothy Omundson) who is just as deliciously devious as Robert Carlyle’s Rumpelstiltskin.

“iZombie” – The CW

If you haven’t been getting enough Tinker Bell on “Once,” you’ll be glad to know that Rose McIver is getting her own show. However, she’s trading her fairy wings for a fist-full of brains. Her “iZombie” character has a few things in common with Emma Swan. Just like Emma, barely-living Liv discovers that she has special powers that can be used to do good things. However, instead of suddenly finding herself playing a reluctant fairy tale heroine, she becomes a reluctant zombie. And instead of white magic, she has gray matter magic.

Liv works in a coroner’s office where she can get her meals without killing anyone. When she eats the brains of murder victims, she inherits their memories, and this special gift helps her solve their murders. In other words, it’s basically a crime procedural with a cool supernatural twist.

“Hieroglyph” – FOX

This series is set in ancient Egypt, one of the few oft-romanticized worlds that “Once Upon a Time” hasn’t explored. There’s sorcery, fanged monsters, sword fights, a dangerous MacGuffin scroll that needs to be hunted down, and a violent “god in the flesh” Pharaoh to play the big bad. The character searching for the scroll (Max Brown) is former thief who has done time for a crime just like Emma.

Unfortunately, unlike “Once Upon a Time,” this looks like a pretty humorless series. It might take itself just a tad too seriously, but the trailer makes it look tempting enough to check out.

Which midseason series are you looking forward to most?


Photo: ABC
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Treva Bowdoin is a freelance writer who loves crazy comedies and creepy shows like "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story".

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