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Tonight, Emerald City â€“ NBC’s long-awaited re-imagining of The Wizard Of Oz â€“ finally premieres. The series was first announced in 2014 and even had a presence at San Diego Comic-Con but was canceled shortly afterwards due to creative differences. Later it was picked back up and continued to appear in NBC’s list of new shows at its annual upfronts presentation but never actually made it onto the scheduleâ€¦until now.
Tonight, the 10-episode first season, directed by the visually-creative Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall, Immortals, Mirror Mirror, Self/less), finally kicks off with a double-episode premiere. This darker retelling of the classic tale finds 20-year-old doctor Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona, True Detective) swept into a tornado and transported in a mysterious new world. She wakes up in a wrecked police car along with K-9 officer Toto and soon learns she is in a land called Oz, governed by the all-powerful Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio, Daredevil, Law & Order: CI). Years earlier, the Wizard had stopped the Beast Forever from destroying the Emerald City and its people, and ever since he has outlawed magic. However, Dorothy’s falling from the sky is the first foretold sign of a disastrous prophesy predicting the return of the mythical Beast.
As Glinda (Joely Richardson, Nip/Tuck), West (Ana Ularu), and the other witches start pressuring the Wizard to take action to prevent the looming disaster, an unknowing Dorothy makes her toward the city in hopes of finding her way home. As she sets off, Dorothy crosses paths with Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Dracula), a former member of the Wizard’s guard, who has amnesia after being tied to a cross in the middle of a field. The cast also includes Mido Hamada (24), Gerran Howell (Young Dracula), and Jordan Loughran (Evermoor).
While I wasn’t blown away by tonight’s premiere (no pun intended), I did like the cast and the look of the series. I’m interested to see how the other key characters of the original story are going to be worked into this tale. And there were also some interesting characters and developments set up by the end of the second episode that made me a little more keen to check out some more.
On part one of tonight’s premiere, “The Beast Forever,” a tornado occurs while Dorothy searches for her mother, and the storm transports Dorothy to a mystical land where a powerful ruler has outlawed magic. Then, in “Prison of the Abject,” Dorothy finds a soldier with amnesia and a man trying to help his best friend. Meanwhile, Glinda and West say good-bye to their fallen sister.
Check out the premiere tonight on NBC at 9/8c.
I’ll also be watching/recording One Day at a Time, Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Ginormous Food.
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