http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKeRnyFIHWs Overview/ Review (with Spoilers) Emerald City presents Oz to be a mix between The Shannara Chronicles and Games of Thrones, with its sexual content and violence hinted at or off-screen. For with its complicated politics, secrets, and sense of culture, yet performances which are only good enough to make you like the characters, but…


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKeRnyFIHWs

Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

Emerald City presents Oz to be a mix between The Shannara Chronicles and Games of Thrones, with its sexual content and violence hinted at or off-screen. For with its complicated politics, secrets, and sense of culture, yet performances which are only good enough to make you like the characters, but not be in awe of the actors, it finds the middle ground between the two aforementioned properties.

Trigger Warning(s):

Headshot | Blood | Depiction of Burned Bodies

Noted Actors

Dorothy (Adria Arjona) | Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) | The Wizard (Vincent D’Onofrio) | Karen (Gina Bellman) | Aunt Em (Holly Hayes) | Uncle Henry (Pere Molina) | Witch of the East (Florence Kasumba) | Witch of the West (Ana Ularu) | Glinda (Joely Richardson) | Tip ( Jordan Loughran) | Ojo (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson)| Mombi (Fiona Shaw)

The Introduction

Somewhere out in Lucas, Kansas, a young girl named Dorothy was seemingly left with two nice folks who would become the well-known characters of Aunty Em and Uncle Henry. Though, of course, that isn’t the part that is interesting. What is of interest is Dorothy’s mother Karen being hunted down and then the world of Oz we are presented. One in which the politics of the Emerald City has the Wizard at odds with the witches of the North and West. A place where Dorothy’s arrival is taken as a sign that a beast, which hasn’t been seen in 20 years, Dorothy’s age, has returned.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. It isn’t made clear if we will go back and forth between Kansas and Oz. Though, considering all that would be left in Kansas is Aunt Em and her husband, here is hoping the show doesn’t waste time there.

Collected Quote(s)

[…] I feel what all mothers feel. […] Fear. All The time. In everything. From the minute they are born into the world, the world tries to take them right back.

—           “The Beast Forever/Prison of the Abject.” – Emerald City

Highlights

Steampunk Technology?

Though only seen with a flying vehicle, there is hope that perhaps this show may have the Wizard, a scientist instead of a bumbling idiot, pushing his world toward a new tech age. One not dependent on magic but steam and thus giving us one of the first, to my knowledge, Steampunk shows in awhile.

Notable Characters/ Acceptable Alterations

With the property being familiar, and Oz having many a remake, retelling, or different adaptations in the last 10 years, you’d think this would just be another company trying to strangle some cash out of the property. Well, it is, but it does seem there is some push to entertain you in the process. Dorothy, for example, is no longer a girl highly reliant on others but a nurse. A Spanish speaking, likely some kind of Latinx nurse. With that, she is seen as a healer or some kind of witch, and her would-be Scarecrow, Lucas, is a former Wizard’s guard. People who are touted about as a fearsome, if not oppressive, force. Though what makes Lucas interesting is his memory lost but, like in Blindspot, it seems while his memories are gone that doesn’t mean his skills have dissipated.

Moving on, as noted the Wizard is no longer an idiot but perhaps one of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world. In fact, it seems science is what beat the beast when magic couldn’t and the struggle presented between the remaining witches, Glinda and the Mistress of the West, and the Wizard is an ongoing struggle. For while they try to be amicable, the Wizard has outlawed their magic and made it so they can’t have apprentices to grow their ranks and pass down their magic. So with the witch of the south dead, and the witch of the east killed by Dorothy, they are all that remains. A sad thing because they can’t stand each other.

The Mystery of Tip

Though not a huge role, I did find the character of Tip to be interesting. Locked up by the witch Mombi, giving some type of drink daily, you have to wonder what originally seemed to be a boy, but is revealed to be a girl, was locked up for? Is she the last of the witches or something else?

Diversity

While it seems people of color only have minor speaking roles, of which none are those in power with the witch of the east being killed, at the very least they are seen.

Low Points

Oz’s Background Is Not The Best Written

Though the culture has noteworthy aspects, primarily in visuals, at the same time it doesn’t feel as fleshed out as it could. Take the concept of “The Beast Forever” and what it can be, what it does, and why people fear it. To me, it would have been perfect if Ojo and/or the tribal people had presented the story and really built up the legend. For while there are huge statues representing the fight, the implication of the Wizard holding off the beast when magic could not mattering, it seems like the root of all things isn’t strong enough to give structure and stability to this large production.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

The show seems likable, but I’m not on the edge of my seat, over the moon, and on IMDB wanting to chat about it. There just seems to be something missing here, a certain wow factor. Which is strange since it has what a show like this would need. Complicated politics, culture, characters you can’t firmly say are evil or good, but rather misunderstood, there is some grand beast whose arrival is foreshadowed, and a strange character who could either be the savior or the beast themselves. Yet, with all that, and two hours of watching this, it still feels like it is missing something to make this a sparkling emerald and not just a nice looking piece of costume jewelry. But I just can’t put my finger on what that is. With that said, I feel drawn to watch it and even review it, in the coming weeks.


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2 Comments

  1. Not sure this one is going to be my thing (not that I have access to it at the moment anyway). Will have ot wait and see how this develops.

    1. It’s on NBC’s website. But yeah, even with the first two episodes back to back, it still needs time and definitely more effort from the writers and actors. Though, with it being on NBC, likely it’s going to be another show with so much potential never realized.

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