Fading Imagination.

This is going to turn into a Once Upon a Time in Wonderland related post.

I do not have children, and part of me is glad for that.  Therefor, I can assure you I’m completely out of the loop on many things.  Starting with video games.  I took my nephew out with me for a few minutes yesterday and ended up buying him one of those Skylander figures for his game my other sister bought him for Christmas.  While in Starbucks, waiting for our ride, he launched into telling me about it which was actually kind of cute, but at the same time I couldn’t help thinking about my niece who is much older than he is, and wondering how long before he follows that path.

How much longer before the lack of open ended play in video games washes away his imagination.  My niece does not play imaginatively, she hasn’t in a very, very long time.  If she isn’t playing on a game console, or the computer, she’s on someone’s iPad.  This actually came to one very aggravating observation a few weeks past.  She looked up at my sister (her mother) and I, gave us a strange look as we were talking about growing up in the 1980s, and told us she pitied us for growing up then.

Because we didn’t have iPads, game consoles (well, there were video games, just we didn’t have an NES until I swear it was 1989 and even then we didn’t care all that much) and computers.  Nor did we spend our days mindlessly watching the television.

I personally wouldn’t trade growing up when I did for now, we had a lot more freedom and we had something she doesn’t: imagination.  I wish I was joking, but she had a creative writing assignment last year that she simply could not write.  Those were the assignments I lived for as a child, not that I needed one to write stories.  But she sat there for an hour, and couldn’t write a word as she couldn’t imagine anything.  Not a character, plot, not a thing.

This has been troubling me for a long time, I was actually speaking to a woman who turned out to be a substitute teacher when I was in middle school, and we got onto the topic of children today.  Even she said, through her own observation, that they do nothing much aside from playing on devices, their conversations are fueled by video games, they hardly play and they can’t think outside the box.  And it is sad.

I began to realize, as I’d come across a role play group that actually caught my interest the night before, that it could very likely be with her generation we’re going to see a lack of anything imaginative as they grow up.  It is bad enough her language skills revolve around ‘net speak, but as I was actually reading the profile again for the character I was interested in, and imagining what said character would do in the world created, I realized role play is rather like imaginative play for adults, and I could see even that dying out when my niece and her generation grows up.

Now, how does this come to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland?  This Thursday the schedule (or front runners I guess is the word) will be announced for next season.  Thursday is normally my weekly Christmas, because my show is on.  My show I look forward to, the one I was aching for over a 12 week hiatus.  I was dying to see Alice and Cyrus again, and this Thursday we will finally get into Cyrus’ past (about time)…and I’m almost giddy, not only because it looks like my theory on him could be right.

We can agree to disagree, but there isn’t a lot of imaginative shows out there anymore.  I quit watching a lot of shows I used to as I just grew tired of the constant crude humour (not that Knave doesn’t provide plenty enough), the pointless love triangles (I’m not looking forward to Once Upon a Time tomorrow, not even sure why I’m still watching) and pointless violence which I swear is just there to try to shock a desensitized audience.  If you want a character that will continue to shock you, have you met Jafar?  Honestly, have you?  The man is made of nightmares, and Naveen Andrews plays him brilliantly.

What I am getting at here is that the show is a refreshing change, it is fueled with imagination and whimsy, the characters are all wonderful (I’m choking on labeling Knave that way after last week…but I don’t like him so I suppose, mind he’s been a true friend to Alice, I still half expect him to turn on them).  For myself, the show woke my long dormant imagination, I actually started writing again and I hadn’t in a very long time.

Of course the next season of the show wouldn’t be in Wonderland, as it was already stated by the writers there would be a different adventure, if there was an interest.  I would say as the show does seem to trend on Twitter when it is on and there is a large fanbase on tumblr (oh scrolling through the beautiful Cylice edits yesterday) the interest is there.  Social media needs to be taken into account in this day and age, as not everyone can watch on a television (or has what is needed for that ratings system they use).

Alice and Cyrus.

If you enjoy the show, please do show support for it on Twitter.  People have started using #SaveWonderland along with #OnceWonderland on their tweets.  We need imaginative shows, something in which you can theorize all you like but still get a surprise.  I will admit, I’ve called a lot of the twists and turns (the end of Home being the stupidest so far, and the revelation the other night didn’t give me much of a surprise but did confirm a sneaking suspicion I’ve had concerning the spell of the three genies).

We all like different things, and different shows on the TV.  But in all truth this one takes me back to when television was actually worthwhile, and I’ve honestly not seen anything this captivating since the first season on Once Upon a Time (it really is a mess now), and the characters are all so engaging.  Jafar really is the perfect villain, Alice and Cyrus are just…words can’t be found for them, the Red Queen is such a wonderfully layered character as well.  The Knave…well…I guess he’s alright for comic relief.

If anything, I hope what my friend read about the writers saying it would make sense (or something like that) to move Alice and Cyrus over to the main show means should worse come to worse we’ll still have them.  They’re the main reason I watch, I am not a romantic by any means, but I was gushing like a 14 year old the moment he introduced himself to her…and then yelling at the TV when I thought the Red Queen had killed him.

I hope they keep it around, another adventure next year would be brilliant, even if it is hiatus filler.  Because if they decide not to keep it around it really is going to feel like imagination isn’t all that valued these days.  It is bad enough watching children today walk around with devices that they spend the majority of their waking hours on, maybe if we had more shows like OUATIW something could spark in them as well.

But in the long run, I can’t stand the idea of not seeing Alice and Cyrus again.

In conclusion, if you have young children put up the devices, limit the video games and hand them a book, a creative game that requires imagination and thought.  If they’re at an age they can write, give them pen and paper, have them write a story or create their own little world.  Turn the TV off, go outside to play…with an imagination the sky is the limit.  When it is time for some television, engage in conversation with them, ask them what they think could happen next.  I did that with my niece when it came to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and she came up with nothing.

If nothing else #SaveWonderland.

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