The Weird Wizard of Oz

Tin_Man_posterThe Wizard of Oz has been interpreted as everything from political satire to a children’s story, to a musical made famous by color television, to a musical that won Idina Menzel an Oscar. But what if you retold this famous story as a fantasy steampunk thriller?

You would get a scarecrow who was actually a brilliant royal advisor who had his brain removed in an attempt to steal knowledge he was hiding from a usurper. You would get a law enforcement officer locked inside a metal suit as punishment for defying the new regime. You would get a doomsday device built of metal and chain and steam, but powered by a mystical gemstone.

Find all this and more in the O.Z., a land as strange and full of surprises as the original Oz was to its first readers. There are carnivorous plants, and a town people entirely by androids. There is a hot air balloon made even more anachronistic by the fact that it’s clearly been sitting in someone’s backyard for a while. There are body snatchers, telepaths, and valuable lessons about courage, intelligence, and love.

Cain: I know what you’re doing, kid. I’ve lead men through battle myself.
DG: And how am I doing?
Cain: Well, there’s less hugging when I do it.

Tin Man is a mini-series consisting of three one-and-a-half hour episodes. This gives it a total running time of four and a half hours, allowing for far more character development then you would get in a two and a half hour feature film. The story opens on the main character of D.G, a small town waitress who dreams of a strange fantasy world. But when the evil queen of the O.Z. sends long-coated goons to assassinate her, D.G. is suddenly drawn into her fantasy world where she learns that she is the evil queen’s younger sister, destined to save the realm from eternal darkness.

Tin_Man_castThe story continues along the traditional lines of the Wizard of Oz, with D.G. meeting new friends, following a path to Central City, and overcoming obstacles like the ravenous Papay. Don’t get comfortable with it though, because it’s full of unusual twists and turns, and unexpectedly beautiful character moments.

Described by Variety as “semi-surreal adaptation of The Wizard of Oz stitched together from bits of The Matrix, Blade Runner, and Snow White,”  Tin Man is a gorgeous, dream-like adventure into a world that defies description. It is steampunk in many of its aspects, and in others it is something else entirely.

Still need a reason to watch it? In most films the main character is the only one with a trenchcoat, and you spend half of the time wishing they would get more good shots of it swishing. But in episode two of Tin Man there is a fight scene in which everyone is wearing long, twirly coats. If the thought of that many trench coats in one scene at once doesn’t get you excited then you might be a hopeless case 🙂

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