Now that FLORA'S DARE has gone to the copy-editor (woo!), I can resume my voyage on the U.S.S.S. Sofa...yesterday's voyage took me to the Outer Zone or the O.Z., via the Sci-Fi Channel's miniseries TIN MAN.
TIN MAN is an up-dating of The Wizard of Oz. Most of all the old favourites are still there, Dorothy, Toto, The Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, but re-imagined--sometimes imaginatively, other times not so much. Dorothy is now a slacker chick with a motorbike named DG; Toto a shape-shifting tutor; The Cowardly Lion a Lion-like empath; the Scarecrow a political prisoner whose brains have been removed as part of a reeducation process; and the Tin Man, a Jimmy Stewart-like sheriff. Like I said, sometimes imaginatively, sometimes not so much.
Anyway, there's some very cool special effects, tho' it's a huge pity the series is not in HD, and some very cool magic stuff. Like most hero's journey type narratives, the characters spend so much time on the road (when do they eat, when do they sleep, when do they pee?) that the story is more about the journey than about the hero. Also, like many CGI heavy series these days, all the money has gone into the CGI; for example, the Wicked Witch only has one outfit. Now, if you were the wicked witchy overlord of a huge magickal kingdom would you only have one outfit? Naw, I didn't think so...you'd be John Galliano's dream client...Also, losing out to CGI is the plot: clearly they decided not to waste too much money on writers either. The story is riddled with plot-holes the size of black holes. Does the director not notice these holes, wondered Devilman, or does he just not care? Says I: No and yes.
However, Tin Man does have some of my favorite, oft overlocked actors: Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, and the vastly underated Callum Keith Rennie, who I'm just dying to have play Hotspur in the joint Peter Jackson/Terry Gilliam multi-billion dollar movie version of FLORA SEGUNDA. (Tho' I admit to sometimes having a yearning for Michael Biehn instead.)
The Wicked Witch's thugs have very cool leather trenchcoats. Too bad they don't know how to man a picket line, patrol, or secure a perimeter. Why do Evil Baddies always have such useless goons? Perhaps they can't compete with Blackwater. Maybe they should just hire Blackwater; I'll bet those jerks would jump at the chance to work with flying monkeys and wear ankle-length leather trench-coats.
Anyway, I wouldn't go out of my way to watch Tin Man, but if you happen to catch it, you could probably watch it and read a magazine at the same time, and not be too bored.