The cast of ABC’s Once Upon A Time are hosting a virtual reunion for a good cause. Read to find out more details, what it’s for and who’s involved.
Once Upon A Time
The core cast of Once Upon A Time – Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison and Josh Dallas – left the series in 2017. Find out how the show fared after their departure.
Andrew J. West, star of The Walking Dead (Gareth) and Once Upon A Time (Henry Mills) is the focus of Actor Spotlight #57.
To the legions of loyal “Oncers” worldwide, Jennifer Morrison will likely forever be known as Emma Swan, the lead character on ABC’s fantasy fairy tale series Once Upon A Time.
The show aired from 2011 to 2018, with Morrison starring in the first six seasons.
Both before and after stepping foot into Storybrooke, Morrison has had roles in a variety of other successful projects. This encompasses both film and television.
Read on to find out more about where you might recognise Morrison from.
Morrison played a doctor, Allison Cameron, in the FOX medical drama House, which aired for eight seasons. For the first three years, Cameron was an underling to the title character, Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), working alongside Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) and Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer).
In the later years, Cameron transitioned into a more senior position within the same hospital. House assembled a new diagnostics team during seasons four through eight.
While the show ran for eight years, Morrison exited early, during the sixth season. Although no longer a regular cast member, she appeared as a guest star in the series finale, “Everybody Dies”.
“Star Trek” (2009)
Morrison appeared, alongside a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, in the opening scene of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film.
Rather than boarding the USS Enterprise, Morrison played Winona Kirk, the mother of Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk.
Besides Morrison, Hemsworth and Pine, the film also featured an ensemble cast including Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Simon Pegg, as well as the late Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy.
Morrison played a supporting role in Warrior, a mixed martial arts-based film released in 2011.
The lead cast members were Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte.
In the role of Tess Conlon, Morrison played the wife to Edgerton’s Brendan. He is a teacher who takes part in a prestigious, highly competitive mixed martial arts contest in order to win the prize money and help his financially struggling family.
“How I Met Your Mother” (2010-2014)
Bridging the gap between leaving House and beginning Once Upon A Time, Morrison had a recurring role as Zoey Pierson in the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother.
Zoey was an activist who became the latest in a long line of girlfriends for Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), in his quest to find the mother of his children.
In total, Morrison played Zoey in thirteen episodes between 2010 and 2014, returning for small appearances after season six.
“This Is Us” (2019 – present)
Since its fourth season, Morrison has recurred as military veteran Cassidy Sharp on NBC’s family drama This Is Us.
The majority of Morrison’s scenes, by virtue of her storyline, are with Justin Hartley and Griffin Dunne, who play Kevin Pearson and Nicky Pearson, respectively.
Following past projects including Once Upon A Time, Warrior and Star Trek, Morrison once again portrays a mother.
Outside of acting, Morrison has also directed a feature film, television episodes and short films. This includes the HBO series Euphoria starring Zendaya, as well as short film “Warning Labels” and the 2017 comedy drama “Sun Dogs.”
And no, her marriage to a certain Mr. Dallas isn’t on the list…
Since starting her career, Ginnifer Goodwin has successfully made a name for herself as an actress.
From 2005 to 2017, she had an eleven year stint of being employed on a television show with five years on Big Love and six on Once Upon A Time, returning for the latter series’ finale following her exit at the conclusion of the previous season.
Read on for ten things you may not have known about Ginnifer Goodwin.
Ginnifer Isn’t Her Birth Name
While Ginnifer is certainly a unique name, it was not the one that Goodwin was given at birth.
Instead, she was originally known by the more common spelling, Jennifer.
Goodwin changed the spelling of her first name to reflect the pronunciation in her local dialect, which is Memphis, Tennessee.
Voiced A Famous Animated Career
While many actors rely on their face in order to be recognised by fans, Goodwin has also lent her voice to a memorable character.
She voiced the lead role of Judy Hopps in the 2016 film Zootopia, starring opposite Arrested Development and Ozark star Jason Bateman.
She Knew Her Onscreen Daughter Before ‘Once Upon A Time’
In the pilot of Once Upon A Time, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) is shown meeting the residents of Storybrooke, including Goodwin’s Mary Margaret, for the first time.
However, in real life, the actors had already known each other for some time, with Goodwin even buying a Grimm fairy tale book as a introductory gift when the pair first met.
She Studied Acting In The UK
Although Goodwin was born and raised in the United States, the actress revealed during a May 2019 appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden that she had studied at some of the most well-regarded schools in the country.
Later in the interview, Goodwin further elaborated by saying that she had failed a “clowning” class at one of the unidentified schools.
Has An Oscar Win To Her Name
While Goodwin has yet to win an Academy Award for a performance, one of the prestigious awards is attached to her career in another way.
Zootopia won Best Animated Feature at the 2017, with the award being presented to the co-directors, Bryan Howard and Rich Moore as well as producer Clark Spencer.
The Part Of Snow White Was Written For Her
Goodwin played the role of Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard from the pilot episode of Once Upon A Time.
As it turns out, this was exactly what co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz had been hoping for.
Being fans of Big Love, the pair had written the part specifically for Goodwin.
Goodwin And Her “Grandson” Are Relatively Close In Age
While Snow White on Once Upon A Time is a mother and grandmother, a near three decade long curse left her ageless throughout that time. As a result, it looks and sound completely implausible, from a real world perspective, that she could fill either role.
In particular, Goodwin is twenty-two years older in real life than Jared S. Gilmore, who plays her on-screen grandson Henry.
Had Another ABC Pilot Lined Up After ‘Once’ Ended
Shortly before Once Upon A Time‘s series finale ended, it was announced that Goodwin would be returning to ABC in their comedy pilot titled Steps.
However, the project was later reworked into a television movie rather than series, so the return to the network never came to fruition.
Played Two Similarly Named Characters In A Row
As previously mentioned, Goodwin spent five years playing a character named Margene on HBO’s Big Love.
After moving on to a brand new project – Once Upon A Time – she ended up being cast a similarly named character — Mary Margaret, not counting the Snow White component of the character.
Clearly names starting with ‘Mar’ are Goodwin’s good-luck charm.
She Has Been Mistaken For Jennifer Morrison
Long before starring on Once Upon A Time together, Ginnifer Goodwin was mistaken for her future onscreen daughter Jennifer Morrison on occasion.
Although the resemblance is less obvious in their show, with Morrison’s hair being its natural blonde, it is uncanny in the above picture.
Casting them as a time-displaced mother and daughter seems to be fitting.
Actor Colin O’Donoghue starred as Captain Hook in ABC’s Once Upon A Time for six seasons, joining the cast in season two.
Over the course of Hook’s time in series, he evolved from a selfish, bloodthirsty villain to a trusted ally of the main characters.
Since O’Donoghue was playing a character and not representing himself, less is known about the actor compared to Hook.
Read on for ten things about Colin O’Donoghue that you may not have known. Unless you are a #CaptainSwan shipper of course.
When playing Hook, O’Donoghue used a different accent than the one he has in real life. This may come a surprise to those who are familiar with how the character sounds.
While Killian Jones’ background is ambiguous, O’Donoghue’s is very clear as he hails from a town called Drogheda, located in County Louth, Ireland.
He’s Been Married For A Long Time
On Once Upon A Time, Hook is seen having various romances throughout the series and a reputation as a womaniser is implied.
Some of Hook’s flames include Emma Swan, the Savior (Jennifer Morrison) and Milah (Rachel Shelley), the former wife of Rumplestiltskin.
In real life, O’Donoghue has been married to his wife Helen since 2009, two years before he even joined Once Upon A Time.
He Replaced A ‘Game Of Thrones’ Star In A Role
As reported by Deadline in July 2019, O’Donoghue was cast as Lt. Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff for National Geographic. The cast also includes Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman and Patrick Fischler.
However, O’Donoghue was not the original person cast as Cooper.
He Was A Younger Than Average Captain Hook
O’Donoghue was cast in the role of Hook in August 2012, making him aged 31 at the time. This is considerably younger than other live-action actors who have played the role.
Jason Isaacs, who starred in a 2003 feature film of Peter Pan, was almost a decade older, at 40 years old.
Meanwhile, Dustin Hoffman, who played the title role in Hook, was in his mid-fifties.
Not Always A Major Character
When O’Donoghue was cast as Hook, the character was to be a recurring guest throughout the second season. Alongside Cora (Barbara Hershey), he was one of the main antagonists to the heroes in the Enchanted Forest.
However, prior to O’Donoghue even appearing onscreen, the actor was promoted to series regular from October 2012.
He would retain this status for the rest of the series’ run.
He’s Worked With Anthony Hopkins
Before joining Once Upon A Time, O’Donoghue starred in the 2011 film The Rite. He played the role of Michael Kovak, a novice priest.
Also among the cast was acclaimed actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Hopkins is perhaps best-known for his role as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs and also portrayed Robert Ford in the first two seasons of Westworld.
He’s Three Years Older Than Andrew J. West
At the end of season six and into season seven, Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West joined the cast of Once Upon A Time, initially in a mystery role.
West was later revealed to be playing an older Henry Mills (previously Jared S. Gilmore), a character centuries younger than Hook, no matter which realm.
In real life, however, West is only three years younger than O’Donoghue.
Only Non Original To Remain For Season 7
Ahead of seven season of Once Upon A Time, it was announced that multiple cast members would be leaving the series.
This included Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) and Jared S. Gilmore (Henry Mills), all of whom had been with the series since the pilot.
Longtime stars Emilie de Ravin (Belle) and Rebecca Mader (Zelena).
Only three series regulars from season six continued into season seven: O’Donoghue, Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin).
Of the trio, O’Donoghue was the only one who had not debuted in the pilot episode.
Had A Reunion On Once
In Hook’s early episodes, he and Cora are actively in competition with the heroic characters in the Enchanted Forest: Emma, Snow/Mary Margaret, Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger).
O’Donoghue and Bolger, who is also Irish, had previously worked together on the historical fiction series The Tudors, three years earlier.
Reunited With Ginnifer Goodwin (in a way)
In the series finale of Once Upon A Time, multiple former cast members returned, including Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas and Jennifer Morrison.
However, after the series wrapped, O’Donoghue would go on to work with Goodwin again… only they shared no scenes.
O’Donoghue appeared as outlaw JJ Sneed in the episode of the same name while Goodwin played lawyer Genevieve Carson in the following episode, “These Old Bones.”
Once Upon A Time aired on ABC between 2011 and 2018, featuring a large ensemble cast. Some of whom were well-known prior to appearing on the series, others less so. Once wasn’t their first rodeo.
Since each of their journeys on Once Upon A Time, have ended, many have moved on to new, different projects. Television, film, you name it.
Read on to find out what 13 cast members of Once Upon A Time were doing before and after the series aired.
Lee Arenberg (Grumpy)
Lee Arenberg played the dwarf Grumpy and his Storybrooke counterpart Leroy for over fifty episodes of Once Upon A Time as well as an appearance in Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. This makes him the series’ most frequently appearing guest-star.
Before landing this role, Arenberg was known for playing Pintel in the Pirates of The Caribbean film series, opposite Mackenzie Crook’s Ragetti.
He has also appeared on Disney’s Good Luck Charlie, American Gods on Starz and Showtime’s Californication.
Rebecca Mader (Zelena/Wicked Witch Of The West)
Mader joined the cast of Once Upon A Time in its third season, as the infamous Wicked Witch of the West. She was the main antagonist for that season’s second half.
Prior to this, Mader had played Charlotte Lewis on Lost, which Once Upon A Time co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz had written for.
In 2013, Mader had a small role in the Marvel Studios film Iron Man 3. She also starred in Work It, a short-lived comedy series on ABC.
Michael Socha (Will Scarlet)
Socha starred as Will Scarlet, one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, in the fourth season of Once Upon A Time from 2014 to 2015.
He’d previously played the same character in the spin-off Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, which lasted for a single season.
Prior to appearing on either of these shows, Socha appeared in the This Is England series. Later, he appeared in the BBC miniseries World At War.
Meghan Ory (Ruby/Red Hiding Hood)
Meghan Ory’s Red Riding Hood (or Ruby as she’s known in Storybrooke) appeared regularly in the early seasons of Once Upon A Time but became a less frequent presence as the show went on in its later years.
Ory starred in the short lived espionage series Intelligence opposite Josh Holloway. Currently, she stars as Abby O’Brien in Chesapeake Shores.
She has also appeared as Hannah Lee in NCIS: New Orleans and in the Hallmark film The Memory Book.
Sean Maguire (Robin Hood)
Maguire joined Once Upon A Time in season three as the show’s second iteration of Robin Hood, taking over from future Lucifer star Tom Ellis.
As a young actor, Maguire starred for Aidan Brosnan in the BBC soap opera EastEnders for a year, in 1993.
He has also starred in two short-lived US sitcoms; Eve and The Class.
In 2020, Maguire played The Dark King in the fifth and final season of The Magicians.
Emilie De Ravin (Belle)
De Ravin made her debut as Belle during the first season of Once Upon A Time. She became a series regular from the second season onwards.
Although born in Australia, De Ravin was no stranger to American television. She had already appeared in the original Roswell series as well as five of Lost’s six seasons.
In 2010, De Ravin starred opposite Robert Pattinson in Remember Me.
Michael Raymond-James (Neal/Baelfire)
Raymond-James’ Neal Cassidy entered Once Upon A Time in the second season. He was subsequently revealed as Emma Swan’s past lover, Henry Mills’ biological father and the adult Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin’s son.
Already an established actor, Raymond-James starred as Rene in the firsr season of True Blood and later as Mitch Longo in the first season of Tell Me A Story.
He also starred in the NBC thriller Game Of Silence, which ran for a single season.
Colin O’Donoghue (Killian ‘Hook’ Jones)
O’Donoghue set sail on Once Upon A Time in season two, as the legendary Peter Pan villain Captain Hook, with the new name of Killian Jones.
A year earlier, Donoghue starred as a priest, Michael Kovak, opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Rite.
During the show’s run, he starred in Carrie Pilby, a 2016 comedy-drama film. He also played Peter in the post-apocalyptic thriller What Still Remains.
More recently, he portrayed JJ Sneed in an episode of Dolly Parton’s anthology series Heartstrings.
Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills)
Lana Parrilla was one of only two cast members to maintain her starring status in all seven seasons of Once Upon A Time, where she played Mayor Regina Mills and the Evil Queen.
Years earlier, Parrilla had briefly been a regular on 24 and guest-starred in Lost as a character named Greta.
Other past series regular jobs include runs on Spin City and Boomtown, which lasted a year each.
Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold)
Carlyle also remained on Once Upon A Time, playing a myriad of characters which included multiple versions of Rumplestiltskin, his Storybrooke counterpart Mr. Gold and Weaver in the final season.
Scottish-born Carlyle is well-known for his roles in two 1990s films; Trainspotting (1996) and The Full Monty (1997), both of which are considered cult classics.
Just prior to joining Once Upon A Time, Carlyle played a scientist, Nicholas Rush, for two seasons on Stargate Universe before the show was cancelled.
Josh Dallas (Prince Charming/David Nolan)
Dallas, who played the heroic Prince Charming/David Nolan, completed his acting training in England. This experience as well as time afterwards amounted to eleven years across the pond, during which time he added Doctor Who to his resumé.
After returning to the United States, he played Fandral in the first Thor film. Commitments to Once Upon A Time prevented a return in the sequels.
In 2016, Dallas lent his voice to a pig in Zootopia, which starred a certain someone in his life.
Since 2018, Dallas has starred as Ben Stone in the NBC series Manifest.
Goodwin played heroine Snow White and her counterpart, school teacher Mary Margaret Blanchard, as part of the main cast for the first six seasons of Once Upon A Time. She later appeared as a guest in the series finale.
Between 2006 and 2011, Goodwin played Margene Heffman, one of three wives to Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) in the HBO series Big Love.
During Once Upon A Time‘s run, she also provided the voice of Judy Hopps, the lead character in 2016’s Zootopia, a Walt Disney Animation Studios film.
Since leaving Snow White behind, Goodwin has also portrayed Beth Ann Stanton on Why Women Kill and Genevieve Carson in Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, in a different episode to Colin O’Donoghue.
Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan)
Jennifer Morrison brought Emma Swan – The Savior herself – to Storybrooke and, indeed, to life.
However, prior to Once, Morrison had just completed a stint on another long-running series; House. She played Dr. Allison Cameron for the first six seasons and returned a guest thereafter.
Between House and Once Upon A Time, Morrison guest-starred as Zoey Pierson, Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) latest love interest during the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother.
In 2011, Morrison starred in the MMA-based film Warrior, alongside Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte and Frank Grillo.
Although Once Upon A Time and Manifest have very different storylines, they do share a few things in common.
Firstly, despite having fantastical elements, real-world family drama plays a major role as a contrast. Perhaps a more obvious commonality is actor Josh Dallas.
Dallas played David Nolan/Prince Charming on Once Upon A Time for six seasons, returning for the seventh season finale. He has played Ben Stone on Manifest since late 2018.
That being said, stars of former shows reuniting on different projects is nothing new. Cornelius Smith Jr. recently joined former Scandal co-star Joe Morton’s CBS series God Friended Me. Freaks and Geeks castmates Jason Segel and Martin Starr reunited on How I Met Your Mother.
So, could anyone from Once Upon A Time join Manifest?
Theoretically, yes. Most of the major cast members are not tied down to television shows, which makes their schedules more open than they were as recently as three years ago.
Of course, the most obvious choice to appear would be Ginnifer Goodwin. Not only did she play Snow White opposite Dallas’ Prince Charming on Once, the two also married and had two children in real life.
Dallas and Goodwin have previously said that they are looking for ways in which the latter could guest star on Manifest. The fun would be whether she plays someone that her husband’s character knows, or a stranger. Friend or foe?
Aside from Goodwin, other Once Upon A Time cast members whom Dallas worked closely with include Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills/Evil Queen), Jared S. Gilmore (Henry Mills), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin).
Then, of course, there are the wildcards such as Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Rebecca Mader (Zelena/Wicked Witch of the West) and Michael Raymond-James (Baelfire/Neal Cassidy).
Since Once Upon A Time ended, Morrison has recurred on This Is Us as army veteran Cassidy Sharp in what appears to be a major recurring role. However, this show is on the same network as Manifest so a Morrison appearance could be made possible if necessary.
Michael Raymond-James is also heading to NBC with his new pilot La Brea. Who’s to say that he couldn’t drop in on his former co-star Josh Dallas?
Whether anyone will brave the tumultuous lives of the Flight 828 remains to be seen. Any reunion would surely be poignant for fans of Once Upon A Time.
Manifest airs Mondays on NBC.
It’s not news to anyone that as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, we all have more time on our hands. Some may choose to use the time productively: learn a skill or language, read more books… write a blog, you get the gist.
Another example of an activity to pass the time (translation: kill the boredom) is to catch up on all those wonderful television shows and films that your friends and family recommended that you promised to get around to, but never did… until now. Or maybe you just want to revisit old favourites.
The examples below are things that I have seen and enjoyed, including examples that I introduced to my family for the first time.
See what takes your fancy!
ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC; 2011-2018)
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Robert Carlyle
Once Upon A Time is a fairy tale/fantasy based series that aired from 2011 to 2018. The basic premise is that classic characters you know and love – Snow White, Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella to name just a few – have all been ripped away from their happy existence in the Enchanted Forest and taken by the Evil Queen to a town in Maine named Storybrooke, where none of them remember their true identities.
This remains the case for twenty-eight years.
Their only hope of rescue is a bailbonds person from Boston named Emma Swan, who unbeknownst to her, is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. She was sent to our Real World with the hope that one day she would discover who she truly is and break the curse that robbed her parents and their friends of their lives and memories.
While fairy tales are traditionally associated with children, this is definitely not exclusively for them. The creators also worked on Lost, which means there are some pretty dark moments in the series. There’s family drama, action, adventure, romance and fantastical magic elements.
Expect to see these tales in a way that you never have before. None of what is on Once has been told before in the traditional stories.
Once Upon A Time, all seven seasons, can be found on Netflix.
westworld (hbo; 2016 – present)
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins
Ah, Westworld. You’re in for one hell of a ride if you haven’t watched this show yet.
Imagine an amusement park – forget Alton Towers or Chessington – think a futuristic cowboy Western setting. Lifelike, humanoid robotic attractions named Hosts were created to serve the guests’ every whim. And I mean every. Yeah, this is an 18+ show.
Explore the dynamics between the Hosts, guests and park staff, all with different wants, desires and needs.
Still, the cast (some of whom I listed above) and the writing (Jonathan Nolan; The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar) is fantastic. Twists and turns, the story takes directions you would never expect.
Another advantage is that each season (there are currently three) only has 8-10 episodes, meaning you could easily binge each one in only a few days, if not less time.
RESERVOIR DOGS (1993, DIR. QUENTIN TARANTINO)
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Quentin Tarantino
Even if you know nothing about films, Quentin Tarantino is at least a familiar name, right? If the answer is no, let me fill you in. He’s a now-iconic director whose work includes Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight.
Before all that, however, he was an up-and-comer who needed to start from somewhere… and that was Reservoir Dogs.
The basic plot follows a group of jewel thieves, identified by colour-coded nicknames, after a heist goes wrong (we never see the heist due to budgetary constraints) and the dissension among the group as they try to work out who ‘the rat’ that informed the police was.
It’s certainly a unique film in that some of the major characters’ names are not revealed until the end. Instead, each of the men are referred to as Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown, to name a few examples.
harry potter (2001-2011)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane
For a lifelong Potter fan (aka Potterhead) like myself, the idea that some people have never seen these films blows my mind. Yet, this is the case and already, new fans have been sharing the viewing experience, whether simply stating so on social media or sharing their reactions on YouTube.
Even if you haven’t seen the films, I would be surprised if you didn’t at least know the basic plot. If not, I hope you’re enjoying that rock you’re living under. Anyway, here goes nothing: In the first film, an 11-year-old orphan named Harry Potter, who lives with his cruel uncle and aunt, discovers he is actually the son of a powerful witch and wizard, as well as the fact that he is a famous wizard also.
The next seven films following this track Harry’s journey into the Wizarding World; studying at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, making friends for the first time, becoming familiar with magical culture and the ever-present threat of Lord Voldemort, the dark wizard who murdered Harry’s parents but failed to kill the boy, who wants to complete the task.
futurama (fox/comedy central; 1999-2003, 2008-2013)
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, David Herman
Futurama, from the mind of Matt Groening (who also created The Simpsons and Disenchantment) ranks, in my opinion, not just among the all-time greatest cartoons but also as a high quality television show in general.
The series follows Philip J. Fry (the redhead in the above picture), a pizza delivery boy who, on New Years Eve 1999, accidentally cryogenically freezes himself, thawing out in the year 3000.
Fry, as he is commonly referred to, has to carve out a new life in a new century. He connects with his descendant Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth and gets a job working for him at his delivery company Planet Express, alongside his new friends – Leela, a cyclops and an alcoholic robot named Bender.
While a hilarious and every entertaining show, there are also moments that are genuinely heart-wrenching and emotional. If that is more your preference than comedy, I can recommend Luck Of The Fryrish (Season 3, Episode 4), Jurassic Bark (Season 5, Episode 2) and Leela’s Homeworld (Season 4, Episode 5) off the top of my head.
The voice actors are among the best in their field which, combined with great writing from over-qualified writers (who held three PHDs, seven Master’s and collectively over fifty years of Harvard education), helped make the show that beloved classic that it now is.
the flash (cw; season 1, 2014)
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh and Jesse L. Martin
The Flash first sped onto the small screen back in 2013, with a guest appearance on Arrow before Glee alum Grant Gustin became the lead of his own show the following year.
This series follows Barry Allen, who starts the series as a forensic investigator for the Central City Police Department. During the pilot episode, Barry is struck by dark matter-charged lightning which gives him the power of super-human speed.
Since he was eleven, Barry has been haunted by one singular event: his mother’s murder. His father was wrongly arrested and imprisoned for the crime. However, Barry saw the actual culprit – a man in red and yellow moving faster than humanly possible – and has been trying to prove the existence of such anomalies ever since.
While there are currently six seasons of The Flash, I would recommend season one if I had to pick any to watch.
Firstly, seeing as you need the beginning of a story for it to make sense, it would smart to watch this season. More importantly, I believe that season one is a perfectly told, satisfying story from beginning to end, that is very bingeable.
shrek (2001-2010, Film Series)
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, John Lithgow, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
I suspect that these are likely films that you have seen before. However, I think watching them again could be very fun. I did this myself recently, before all the panic and really enjoyed the experience.
In particular, the first film is full of adult-oriented jokes that many innocent minded kids would not have picked up on at the time. Rather than give any away, go back and watch for yourself. See if you can find them.
Despite being an ogre, Shrek is a very relateable protagonist. His desire to be loved and accepted by others, rather than being seen as a monster, is comparable to some people’s real lives – at least on some level.
For what is marketed as a children’s, Shrek is a complex, layered (see what I did there) individual individual. The stories are strengthened even further by the strong character that surround Shrek.
Of course, there is his wife Fiona, best friends Donkey and Puss In Boots. Additionally, we have the eclectic line-up of fairy tale creatures; Pinocchio, The Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolf, Gingerbread Man and The Three Blind Mice.
family guy (fox; 1999 – present)
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry, Patrick Warburton
Created by and starring Seth MacFarlane (he voices Peter, Stewie, Brian and Quagmire), Family Guy has been on television screens for over twenty years. The series follows the adventures of Peter Griffin, a buffoonish blue-collar worker who lives in the fictitious town of Quahog, Rhode Island with his wife Lois, their three kids (Meg, Chris and Stewie) and their talking dog, Brian.
If there was ever a show to watch to forget some of the stressful things happening right now, I think Family Guy would be a great choice. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the plots are usually fantastical and implausible, which allows you to be immersed in the cartoon world for the duration of an episode.
Much like Springfield on The Simpsons, this show is filled with a variety of different, quirky characters who live in Quahog alongside the central Griffin family. These include pilot/sex addict Glenn Quagmire, paraplegic macho police officer Joe Swanson, African-American deli owner Cleveland Brown, eccentric Mayor Adam West (played by the late actor Adam West) and drug store owner Mort Goldman, who is a caricature of Jewish stereotypes.
love simon (2018, dir. greg berlanti)
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Tony Hale
Released in 2018, Love, Simon is an unconventional Hollywood romantic comedy film. For the very first time, there is a gay, male teenage protagonist at the centre of this story. It is based on the novel Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda, written by Becky Albertalli.
Simon Spier comes from a relatively wealthy background, has a supportive group of friends and a nice life but has one big secret… he’s gay. He hides this from everyone he knows and loves, until one day, he opens up to someone… sort of.
You see, Simon’s school blog, “Creeksecrets”, allows people to post anonymously, without fear of being judged. After another student, calling themselves “Blue” reveals publicly that they are gay, Simon reaches out (using the pseudonym “Jacques”) and the two form a romance over email, not knowing each other’s true identities.
After Simon’s secret and relationship with Blue is threatened, he spends the rest of the film in an uncomfortable situation while also trying to discover his love interest’s true identity.
Do they get a happy ending? Guess you’ll have to watch to find out.
toy story (1995-2019)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Jim Varney, R. Lee Ermey, Blake Clark, Laurie Metcalf, John Morris, Erik von Detten
With four films spanning between 1995 and 2019, the adventures of cowboy Woody, space ranger Buzz Lightyear and the rest of their toy friends truly are timeless.
The kids that originally grew up watching these movies are now adults, some may even have their own children to show these to. Now, a modern generation of kids can enjoy Toy Story for themselves.
While the main characters are toys, “a child’s plaything!”, the acting from the talented ensemble cast including Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, humanises them in a way that makes the characters feel very real. It is very easy to empathise and feel an emotional connection to these toys, especially after having been in our lives for so long.
In my opinion, none of these films are “bad” but some are better than others. My sentimental favourite is Toy Story 2, with the order following as Toy Story 3, Toy Story and finally, Toy Story 4. That’s just my personal feelings, though. It’s entirely possible that you feel the exact opposite way.
Each of the film’s storylines, while vastly different, incorporate the same, familiar themes. These include acceptance, love, friendship and family – which is what many, if not all of those watching would want in their lives.