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‘Once Upon a Time’: Ranking of the seasons

A fangirl’s ranking of all six Once Upon a Time seasons!

Not to be that person, but there are some seasons that just outshone some of the others. Don’t get me wrong, each season brought an element of magic and excitement to my life in some aspect or another. In fact, there wasn’t one season that made me want to throw in the towel. Let’s be real though: I am in far too deep. Still am even with the reboot (I’m pretty pumped for it).

Season 3: Neverland/Wicked Witch


Season 3 will forever hold the number 1 ranking for being the best season ever. Both arcs were each crafted in such a way that you stayed glued to the TV screen. Also, season 3 brought a lot of character growth for some of the more heinous characters. I’m looking at Hook, Regina, and for a slight moment, Rumple. But there was some growth for our heroines too. Emma embraced being the Savior. Sorta.

This season had everything: romance, magic and action. We saw Emma and Hook’s first kiss (YAY!). We saw Regina open her heart to Robin (Gone too soon). Zelena came out onto the scene, hailing as the most vile of villains. The show twisted the story of Peter Pan in such a unique way. Emma also realized Storybrooke was where she belonged, and she finally brought her walls down for Hook.

Okay, if we’re being real, this was my favorite season because Captain Swan had so much development. I’m kidding…kind of. It was, overall, a powerful season in terms of plot line. Also, Captain Swan movie, woo.

Season 5: Dark Swan/Underworld


Sometimes we need a little darkness in our TV lives. Well, season 5 brought us some to fulfill our blackened hearts for at least half a season. I loved seeing the ultimate heroine, Emma Swan, turn into this vile woman full of darkness. Sure, she wasn’t nearly as dark as some other Dark Ones, but she was still a bit insane.

The Dark Swan arc had some pretty wicked plot twists. We saw Regina in a whole new light, playing hero. Emma was morphed into someone so unlike herself that we couldn’t help but be enthralled by her new, darker self. Hook also had some moments where you just wanted to hit him or slap him. Dark Captain Swan was my most favorite thing ever, and I wish we’d gotten more time with them.

Not to mention that crazy plot twist of Emma turning Hook into the Dark One, and Hook saving Storybrooke from the overtake of the Dark Ones. Which leads me to the Underworld arc, which was subpar, in my opinion. It felt lacking for me, but it really captured the love of our couples: Captain Swan and Outlaw Queen. I also liked seeing some of our passed characters being “alive” in Underbrooke. It was especially good to see Cruella again, even if briefly.

Season 4: Frozen/Queens of Darkness


Can I just say how perfectly casted the “Frozen” characters were? Oh my gosh. I felt like I was actually watching the movie, except a slightly darker and twisted version of it. I really enjoyed the plot lines in that arc and how all the characters started to trust one another and join forces.

Captain Swan was also really good in this arc because we got to see some milestones for the two, such as their first date. However, there were more consequential moments like Rumple being the manipulative man he is. Poor Hook. Also, my favorite Belle moment happened in this arc: forcing Rumple over the town line. Bye-bye!
The Queens of Darkness arc also brought some drama to our lives. I loved, loved Cruella. What kept this arc so interesting was the uncovering of deceptions (Snow and Charming banishing Mal’s daughter), Emma accepting her fate more and more, and of course, the AU episodes. It was a fun play on all the characters we’ve grown to love. Evil Snow and Charming, an innocent and sober Hook, a hero Rumple, it just was a sight for the eyes, that’s for sure.

Season 2: Magic is Coming


So what has this season in the middle had nothing to do with the fact Hook was introduced. Lol just kidding. That’s totally the reason. I loved seeing Rumple and him hate each other; Hook fighting to get his revenge. Unpopular opinion, but I really liked villain Hook. It was also nice to see Emma come to terms with not being alone anymore and having people who care for her.

Even though I disliked Neal, I thought the storyline with him was pretty interesting to watch unfold. We saw how he totally screwed Emma over. Call me crazy, because I hated Tamara and Greg, but that was such a cool storyline to watch. I didn’t know what was going to happen going into each episode. It was a season full of OMG moments.

Also, A LAND WITH MAGIC. How much fun was seeing magic in the real world? And how much Emma and Hook hated each other? So much fun.

Season 1: A Land Without Magic


Season 1 was the beginning of it all. It was the start of our love affair with this show full of magic, romance, and intrigue. However, it wasn’t as great as the rest of the seasons. Still loved it though. This is hard because all of the seasons are wonderful!

Regina’s evilness was probably my favorite aspect of the whole season 1. Lana killed it as playing an evil Regina, and her feud with Emma was so suspenseful. The background stories of the characters’ time in the Enchanted Forest were interesting, but I felt some of them dragged. Nonetheless, it was still awesome to see how everything came to be.

I even enjoyed the whole Graham/Emma relationship. There was just something about it that made me ship it. Obviously she was never meant to be with him, but it was nice while it lasted.

Season 6: Untold Stories/The Final Battle


Unfortunately, season 6 ranks as my least favorite. The first half of the season, while I still enjoyed it, fell flat for me. I was expecting more Until Stories than the Evil Queen. I loved the Evil Queen in the earlier seasons, but by this point in the series, I wanted more of the other character’s stories.

The second half was much more riveting for me. The wish realm was hilarious. Plus, we got two Captain Swan proposals. What more could a fangirl want than that? Season 6 also brought one of my favorite episodes ever: the Captain Swan wedding and musical episode. By far, that was the most creative episode I’ve ever watched.

I do think how they capped off our beloved character’s storylines at the end was perfect. In my opinion, it gave the fans of the show some closure. Everyone got their happy endings, and that was what we had all been waiting for since season 1.

With season 7 on the rise, I couldn’t help but look back at the previous seasons. Each season brought its own kind of uniqueness to the series. What season was your favorite? Sound off below in the comments, and I’ll see you for season 7!

Feature image by Nerdist.com


Madeline Klepec

Madeline is a college student majoring in journalism with a minor in broadcasting. When she isn't writing for Hollywood News Source, Talk Nerdy With Us or her college's paper, she's drinking too much coffee and probably fangirling over Captain Swan. She also likes to watch Hallmark movies and mercilessly rewatches 'Once Upon a Time'.

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