EDITOR’S NOTE: Time now for the second perspective on Emerald City. Which do you agree with, #1 or this one, #2?
by Robin Reed
It’s not that I object to a new take on L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories. I read Philip Jose Farmer’s “A Barnstormer in Oz.” I tried to read Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked” (and I just now learned that there are three more books) but Maguire managed to make a magical, enchanted land boring. I haven’t seen the musical based on his book. The original books are in public domain, so new versions are inevitable.
I was in college when I first saw “The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland in color. The change from black and white to color was wasted on me before that because I only saw it on black and white TVs. I have liked it ever since. I’m not a big musical lover, but the comedy and vaudeville shtick made me like it.
I have read several of the books by Baum. The second book is about a boy named Tip who escapes the witch who is holding him and treating him like a slave, travels to the Emerald City, and discovers that he is a girl, in fact the princess Ozma. He’s not too happy about the change at first, but learns to like being a girl and is in many other books as Ozma.
This story is part of “Emerald City” on NBC, as are other elements drawn from other books. I looked forward to the show when is was announced, but I’m afraid I have given up on it after two episodes. It looks great, they must shoot in exotic locations, but I just don’t care about the characters. Dorothy is an adult, and has a pistol because she travelled on the tornado in a police car. Her Toto is a police dog, a German Shepherd. The scarecrow is a hunky guy, a lion in a cage is shown but its level of cowardice is unknown so far.
As I said, it’s not the adult themes and situations I object to, it’s flat characters and a plot that doesn’t interest me. Vincent D’Onofrio would be better without being buried in a wig and beard.
In the age of CGI, someone will someday make a wonderful, magical Oz movie or TV show, with characters from the books that would be hard to do without computer animation. “Emerald City” is not it.
A former student in TVWriter™’s Online Workshop, Robin Reed is a writer and cartoonist known mostly for her fantasy and science fiction work. If you haven’t read her Powers series of books you’re missing a treat.