‘Once Upon a Time’ spins off into ‘Wonderland’

Take a trip down the rabbit hole with “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” the new spin-off of the popular ABC show “Once Upon a Time.”

While fans fell in love with the original “Once Upon a Time” for its daring re-imaginations of fairytale characters, we were ambivalent toward a spin-off series focused on just Wonderland. But after the first episode aired on Oct. 10, it’s safe to say that we don’t need to be concerned.

After just the first episode, it’s obvious that “Wonderland” needs a show of its own — it’s just too damn exciting! The world itself deserves its own story, and this show has a very different tone from its predecessor. While the mother show explores the conflict of the real world with that of magic and focuses on the journey of its protagonist Emma (Jennifer Morrison, “House”), “Wonderland” automatically thrusts us into a bizarre kingdom of fantasy where the beloved Alice (Sophie Lowe) treasures her identity within this magical world. Having two strong female leads makes up for anything the other actress lacks. Those who find Emma to be whiny and dreary will find Alice vibrant and charming.

Emma searches for her son Henry with parents Prince Charming and Snow White, accompanied by Evil Queen Regina and Captain Hook in Neverland. While we watch as they navigate through gloomy Neverland, “Wonderland” is another world altogether. It is bright, whimsical and weird all at once. Essentially, “Wonderland” is like the best LSD trip you’ve ever had. Except for that time in the Nature Preserve.

In the premiere, we are introduced to John Lithgow’s nervous, quirky and late White Rabbit, the hookah-smoking caterpillar voiced by The Who’s Roger Daltrey (who else would it be?) and the Cheshire Cat, who’s even more devilish than in Lewis Carroll’s books. Alice searches for her love Cyrus, the genie (Peter Gadiot, “The Forbidden Girl”), with the help of the handsome bad boy, the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha, “Being Human”). She must do this all while trying to avoid the Red Queen (Emma Rigby, “The Counselor”) and Jafar (Naveen Andrews, “Lost”).

Alice struggles to rescue her love, encountering obstacles provided by a sticky pond of marshmallow. Our heroine, however, escapes by using the breath of a fire-breathing dragonfly because, of course, dragonflies are actually little dragons with insect wings (duh).

With the characters of your childhood and their fantastic worlds brought to life like never before, this is a world you will want to get lost in.