A Spin-Off of ABC'sOnce Upon a Time. This series focuses on Alice, who apparently traveled to Wonderland and back, but nobody believed the fantastic stories she told. Just before an attempted procedure that would have her forget it all, the White Rabbit rescues her and says that they can help her reunite with a genie she rescued and fell in love with.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Done very obviously with Jafar. The Red Queen as well, to a degree, since in the original she was a red-faced chess piece and now she's a thin blonde human woman.
Adaptational Badass: Alice, who is often portrayed as a hapless young girl passively reacting to Wonderland's nonsense, shows no hesitation in attacking 5 guards at the asylum and effortlessly kicking their asses, and is now quite adept at handling herself in Wonderland.
The Caterpillar, once just a hookah-smoking caterpillar, is now Wonderland's Jabba the Hutt.
In the first episode of the series Emma, the protagonist of Once Upon a Time, nearly runs over the Knave of Hearts on his way to Granny's diner. In order to get in, he pickpockets the key from Cinderella who is being escorted home by Grumpy.
In addition to the obvious Wonderland characters, the series includes faces from Agrabah, and Grendel features in the episode "Forget Me Not".
The reason Alice hasn't used any of the wishes Cyrus granted her. Sure, she could wish him back...but he might arrive hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck. Even wishing him free of the bottle could have bad consequences (as we've seen on the parent show).
Will stole the Looking Glass so he and Anastasia could leave the Enchanted Forest and start a new life in a new land. Anastasia reinvented herself as the Red Queen and broke Will's heart.
Bedlam House: Alice is kept in one after insisting on Wonderland's existence.
Conspicuous CGI: Frequent and glaring. Wonderland is a bit more difficult to depict using real-life scenery than the Enchanted Forest in the parent series. And they're on a network TV budget. So this may be justified.
Continuity Snarl: Exactly when this spinoff happens in the grand scale of Once Upon a Time is muddled by the knave being in storybrooke without reference to whether this was before the curse was broken.
Continuity Nod: In "Down The Rabbit Hole", the White Rabbit comments that no one has seen The Mad Hatter in a long time and The Knave of Hearts mentions that "he's made a nice little life for himself" in Storybrooke.
Dark and Troubled Past: The Knave makes constant references to having done things in Wonderland that earned him a price on his head, but refuses to elaborate.
Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Either Alice or The Knave will say "bloody hell" at least Once an Episode. "Sod off" has made an appearance as well. The British actors, knowing they're working on a family-friendly North American show, must find this amusing.
Leap of Faith: Subverted. Alice first thinks that believing in her love with Cyrus will makes her cross the great divide. Alice's true trial is to prove herself to be pure hearted enough by sparing the life of the one who put Cyrus in Prison.
Literal Genie: Alice cites this reason for why wishes can't be trusted.
Lobotomy: The implied treatment the Asylum was about to give to Alice.
The Lost Lenore: Cyrus is this to Alice, and Anastasia is this to the Knave.
Magic Carpet: Jafar’s preferred means of transportation. Also the means by which Cyrus survived his fall into the Boiling Sea.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Alice comes across as the very proactive, no-nonsense, sword-swinging Action Girl, whilst Cyrus is a lot more gentle and sweet. The drive of the narrative also revolves around Cyrus being a Distressed Dude and Alice being on a Quest to rescue him, and the flashback reveals that she was the one to first make a romantic move on him. It's not a total gender-flip though, as Alice still dresses quite femininely, and the aforementioned flashback also demonstrates that it was Cyrus who first teaches Alice how to sword-fight.
The wishes are extremely powerful magic but they are also represented physically by rubies whose edges are good for cutting through ropes.
The Forget-Me-Not is a magical object that lets the user view the past but it is also made of very strong rope that can be used to make a snare.
The Not-Love Interest: Alice and the Knave are sharing the most screen-time and much of the dramatic weight of the show is to be found in their interactions. Yet it's completely unromantic, with both of them in love (or implied to be in love) with other people.
Rule of Three: In order to change the laws of magic, Jafar needs three different genies. He already has two, and he's very intent on making Cyrus the third.
Sadistic Choice: Jafar turns Will into stone in the fourth episode in a gambit to get Alice to use one of her wishes. She'd already used one to save Will in the same episode. Alice is clearly torn between saving Will and knowing what would happen to Cyrus if she uses all three.
Secret Test of Character: Alice gets one in "Heart Of Stone": The Red Queen is put before her, temporarily Brought Down to Normal. Alice is told that she can get Cyrus' location simply by killing the Red Queen right then and there. She refuses to do so on moral grounds and so passes the test, granting her the magical dust that ultimately reveals Cyrus' location to her.
Serpent of Immortality: Amara is all about this. Unfortunately, it's what gives Jafar the idea to turn her into a snake staff, so that her magical essence is always with him.
Shout-Out: The flowers that make you forget your mission and stay behind, eventually causing death, might be a reference to the Lotus Eaters of The Odyssey.
Just before we have the Dark Forest and the "Abandon all hope" from the Divine Comedy. In hell, suicides turn into sentient trees.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum wore lightning bolt makeup like David Bowie.
Smug Snake: The Red Queen. Jafar even lampshades it. But in a case of dramatic irony, Jafar falls into this territory by underestimating the Red Queen in the following episode. He seems to have wised up, though, and begins treating her more like an equal afterward.
Turtle Island: The Mock Turtle takes this form, though it's considerably smaller than most examples.
Victorian Britain: As usual, Alice is from this time period. However, according to the producers this version is located in a separate universe and is a “land of story” removed from time, thus handling the issue of Alice in Wonderland being a fictional story in its parent show. Demonstrated by the fact that the Rabbit and Knave travel from modern day Storybrooke to Alice's London without actual Time Travel.
Villain with Good Publicity: The Red Queen. The peasants of Wonderland trust her enough to honestly petition her with their problems and the crowd cheered when she showed up in the balcony during the Knave’s aborted execution.
Was Once a Man: The Grendel became a cannibal monster under the Red Queen's curse after he stole her Forget-me-not.
Wham Shot: At the end of "Forget Me Not," we see Anastasia, who turns out to be the Red Queen.
"Who's Alice?" shows that Jafar's prison is on a floating Island.
World of Pun: The mallow marsh, the clothes horse, the fairy crossing...
Xanatos Gambit: In “Forget Me Not”, the Caterpillar sends the Knave to get the Forget-Me-Not which is in Grendel’s possession. If the Knave fails, then he’s dead. If the Knave succeeds and brings it back, then the Caterpillar owns the Forget-Me-Not. If the Knave keeps the Forget-Me-Not for himself, the Caterpillar will just use that as an excuse for revenge against the Knave. All the outcomes are favorable for the Caterpillar.
Xenafication: Because young girls can easily beat the asylum brute squad.
Year Outside, Hour Inside: It's implied at the beginning that Wonderland's time is faster than Alice's homeworld since she had been out of sight for a long time.
This was more or less confirmed by "Who's Alice?", where Alice returns to London after Cyrus' death only to find she's been gone long enough to have a stepmother and a half-sister.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Jafar tries this on the Red Queen in the first episode, but stops when the Queen points out that her usefulness to him hasn't quite ended after all.