I started watching it, wasn't super impressed, got dragged along to continue and then they did all the characterization with Rumpelstilskin and I was pretty immediately converted at that point. He's certainly not a hero or a role model, but he is a great example of how to write a nuanced bad guy that is both complex and still a bad guy. He really elevates the show beyond the cat-fight central plot. :)
Also, I am pretty pumped for what they're doing with Peter Pan. It is cool to see the not so nice version.
I didn't know about a spin off. What is the deal with that?
Also the special FX budget for the show must be absolutely insane! Which is great because it really shows the power of the small screen.