Oz will never be the same. Tin Man, a SciFi Channel mini-series production, is one of the best interpretations of L. Frank Baum’s magical world that I have ever seen (and that is saying something). It is hard to beat a cast that includes the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonaugh, Raoul Trujillo, and Richard Dreyfus; but it is Kathleen Robertson that steals the show as the best villain that the O.Z. has ever seen, Azkadellia. Not one of the performances is less than stellar in this epic story. This is not the fluffy, feel good Oz. This is the harsh and cruel world of the O.Z.
DG (Zooey Deschanel) is a waitress “of 20 annuals” that doesn’t feel at home in her small Midwest town where she and her parents live, but it isn’t long before a storm comes. It isn’t just any storm. It brings with it soldiers sent after DG. She is taken away in the storm and wakes up to find herself in a strange and beautiful land (that looks a lot like Endor), and sets out first to find her parents who were also lost in the storm. Later her quest deepens as she tries to find herself and unlock the secrets of her past. While eluding the evil sorceress that controls the O.Z. (or “Outer Zone”), DG bans together with a small band of resistance fighters, and comes to realize she might just be the key to stopping Azkadellia’s reign of terror and torture.
Along the way, there are many references and twists on the old Oz. Of course instead of Dorothy Gale we have DG; the hip, charming, and cute as a button rebel fighter with a good heart. You have the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, and many more; but they are new interpretations. For example, there is reference to the scarecrow in Glitch (Cummings), a man that has had his brain removed by Azkadellia. And instead of a man literally made of tin with no heart, you have a good man that has had his heart hardened by the O.Z. and seeks revenge (McDonough). Where you once had a cowardly lion, you now have a lion/human psychic (Trujillo), whose entire species has been used and tortured by Azkadellia. The Mystic Man (Dreyfus) replaces the Great and Powerful Oz (and so on). Azkadellia, the new wicked witch, commands an army of mobats and storm troopers. The mobats, monkey bats, are reason enough to watch Tin Man. Especially cool is the fact that when they aren’t flying around the mobats are on her body as super-sexy tattoos.
The Collector’s Edition boasts many special features including a must watch behind the scenes called Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, and interviews with the cast and crew of Tin Man. You can go even further and watch a special on the set with the director, but the behind the scenes is the better of the two. Also, there is of course a gag reel if you are into that sort of thing.
Additionally, the website for Tin Man is worth a look-see (especially if you have a good, fast connection). The official website is at http://www.syfy.com/tinman/ and you can browse the cast, a gallery, a forum, and general about information, but you also can get a tour through the O.Z. (http://www.syfy.com/tinman/oz/).