Follow the yellow brick road to an all-new Emerald City

(image via IMP Awards)


In the blink of a tornado’s eye, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and a K9 police dog are swept into a world far removed from our own – a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil, Jurassic World) as the guileful Wizard and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh across three European countries, this is Oz completely reimagined – a place where familiar characters show up in fresh, unexpected ways, and where an unsuspecting young woman holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. And as Dorothy navigates this dangerous world and uncovers her true destiny, we’ll see there’s no place like… Oz. (synopsis (c) Coming Soon)

Let’s face it – Oz has always a fairly trippy, out there place.

But in NBC’s new take on Frank L. Baum’s classic series of fantasy stories, it’s a whole other level again.

In this gritty new world, which owes a shared debt of gratitude to the likes of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones and even, let’s be fair, a little cheesy Conan the Barbarian and Xena Warrior Princess.

There are still figures you’ll recognise of course but in this all-new, magic-vs-science Oz, the Munchkins are fair more tribal and way more ripped, the witches are emotionally muscular, take-no-prisoners figures and the Wizard, Scarecrow, Lion etc are far different to what you might remember.

We are most certainly not in Kansas anymore, and honestly, nowhere near Baum’s vision or that of the famous 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, but that is not necessarily  a bad thing.

Or is it, asks Coming Soon in its review on the show’s first two episodes.

“The characters are uninteresting. Dorothy has no spark. She is a popular nurse… who steals medication. But she is stealing to give them to Auntie Em… for her back problems. She knows she is adopted… but is too chicken to meet her birth mother. I think all of this is a misguided attempt to make Dorothy a complex and flawed anti-hero, but it doesn’t carry through to her time in Oz. Once she gets to Oz, she is on a determined path to find the Wizard and get home. Her demeanor and attitude don’t change, whether she is saving a child or tricking the Witch of the East to kill herself. She also doesn’t have that basic ‘freak out’ that any human would have after discovering a tornado has taken them to a fantasy land.”

It will be interesting to see whether going back to Oz is any more enjoyable on this side of the pond when the show debuts in Australia a little later this year.

Emerald City began screening on NBC, 6 January.



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