“Tin Man” brings us a brave new Oz

Who here likes The Wizard of Oz? Clearly, not me. I mean, it’s not like I’ve taken a name or an affinity for red shoes or a fear of tornadoes (What? I grew up in the Midwest) from the iconic movie musical or anything. So when I heard that the Sci Fi Channel was going to “boldly reimagine" the classic story, I wasn’t sure if I should click my heels or summon the winged monkeys.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s novel, Tin Man is been described as a “sometimes psychedelic, often twisted and always bizarre take” on the Emerald City adventures. The miniseries, set to air in December, stars Zooey Deschanel as DG (aka Dorothy, Miss Gale if you’re nasty), Alan Cumming as Glitch (aka Scarecrow, brain not
included), Raoul Trujillo as Raw (aka Cowardly Lion; Raw stands for rawwwr, I guess) and Neal McDonough as Cain (aka Tin Man, though shouldn’t he look more, uh, tinny?).

The remake has a twister throw Midwestern waitress DG into The Outer Zone (get it? O.Z.), a magical realm that is oppressed by dark magic. The land is ruled by an evil sorceress named Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson). From the looks of things, the wicked witch has traded her broom for some tattoos. And the great and wonderful wizard is now Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfuss; no word yet on whether he’ll be behind a curtain).

The teaser trailer (see it here) promises that the fantastical tale will be “reborn for a new generation.” To accomplish
this, it looks like they’ve amped up the angst. Glitch was a brilliant inventor who lost half his brain while imprisoned in Azkadellia’s torture chambers. Raw is a half-man, half-wolverine psychic who lost his nerve after Azkadellia stole his gift of second sight. And Tin Man is a vengeful ex-cop who spent years locked in a metal suit, forced to watch a holographic loop of Azkadellia’s soldiers abducting his wife and child. Geez, wasn’t this originally a children’s story?

Now, theoretically, this should be right up my Yellow Brick Road. But messing with a beloved classic is always tricky (uh, remember The Wiz?). I will say that the idea is intriguing and the cast promising. But going dark and depressed isn’t exactly the kind of bold reimagining that sends me over the rainbow. Well, at least they kept Toto.

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