TIN MAN: A Not-at-all-brief Review to Spare the Populace
NOTE: I erased this thing from my TiVo INSTANTLY, so this is all from memory. There will be gaps. No, you won’t notice. It’s like saying someone poked a hole in your Swiss cheese.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE (original counterpart):
DG (Dorothy Gale): This is, apparently, her actual name. It’s not “Dorothy” and they shorten it to “D”. It’s “DG”, and no one in the entire six hours calls her anything different. Not awesome. Also, on a purely linguistic note, it’s not just annoying because it’s a self-consciously ‘cool’ update, it’s annoying because those are two hard consonants in a row. If her name had been Ramona Jameson and they called her “RJ”, would it have been so obviously, word-flow-stoppingly annoying? We’ll never know.
Her parents (Auntie Em): ARE ROBOT PARENTS. BEEP BOOP BEEP I’ll get to this later. Not Awesome!
Azkadellia (Wicked Witch of the West): Evil, shoulder-armored potentate of The O.Z., which is apparently what we’re calling Oz now in another attempt to be hip and steampunk and different. Not Awesome. She is played by incredibly bad actress Kathleen Cantbebotheredtolookitup, who in all fairness wears a series of corsets so tight that her discomfort is palpable. She’s DG’s sister, unbeknownst to DG, and Azkadellia’s hatred goes far beyond the fact that when they were kids DG always managed to finish her homework first while Azkadellia was still trying to finish writing her name. Monkeybats routinely fly out of the tattoos on her boobs. (I know.)
Glitch (Scarecrow): Played by Alan Cumming (awesome!), badly (not awesome). He does try, he tries as hard as he can to be whimsical and depressing as the script dictates, but you know what? It takes a really good script to make it possible to be both whimsical and depressing, and that’s, like, the number one thing Tin Man did not have. So whenever Alan Cumming does something good, it’s a miracle of modern science. He has a zipper in his head where half his brain has been removed as a punishment by Azkadellia (aaaawesome? Still not sure.)
Wyatt Cain (Tin Man): Here, “Tin Man” is slang for cops in Central City (awesome). He’s an ex-cop imprisoned (AWESOMELY I’ll get to it later) for rebelling against Azkadellia, and serves as the plot-mover-alonger for most of the six hours. He’s played thanklessly by Neil McDonough, who is capable of much better, and I think he knows it, because every time he cries in this stupid miniseries it’s like he’s pleading with casting directors not to hold this against him.
Raw (Cowardly Lion): Waste of space.
Lavender Eyes (Glinda the Good): DG and Azkadellia’s real mother (automatically Not Awesome). Spends the series wearing a leftover gown from Titanic and standing on an island surrounded by easily-traversable shallow waters. Turns out it’s one of Azkadellia’s prisons; one of her very, very pretty and totally unthreatening prisons. Yay penal system!
Tutor (Toto): Oh, criiiinge. Tutor is DG and Azkadellia’s childhood tutor, who apparently doesn’t even deserve a proper name. Nice one, show. He’s also a man of color, one of three in the series, and he’s evil. Sort of. Whatever. He also shape-shifts into a teeny tiny little dog. The dog is cute?
The Magic Man (the Wizard): Fat, easily-murderable drug addict and "powerful wizard", though we never see it and he gets his ass killed at the 2:09 mark. Way to be, Richard Dreyfuss! Also, way to be, show, for totally forgetting he ever existed and not even giving us a little Ben Kenobi action with the random dream sequences. Not. Awesome.
Zero (no equivalent): Azkadellia’s second in command, played by Callum Keith Rennie. Fangirls around the world squeal and clap. I am not one of them, so I mostly worry about his hair. That ‘do is 20% hair and 135% shellac.
THE PLOT, PART ONE:
DG lives in Kansas with her parents, working as a waitress at a diner. Her uniform is a white dress with blue gingham apron (awesome), and her general attitude is kind but bleak; she’s going nowhere, and as much as she loves her parents (BEEP BOOP BEEP) she “doesn’t feel at home here” and never has. (Look out! Anvil! *thunk*)
Meanwhile, in the O.Z., Azkadellia has evil plans to build a Death Ray of Nighttime. She kills a dude.
Back in Kansas (no, seriously, that’s how this thing is paced), DG wakes up from what are apparently a series of dreams involving a woman with lavender eyes, tunnels, spinning princesses, horrible dolly and POV-work, and nursery rhymes. Her parents sort of “Hmmm!” and tell her NOTHING. This introduces the leitmotif of “Everyone underinform DG! It’s fun!” Because, of course, there’s no reason to prepare a girl who has to go to a different dimension, fight an evil witch, learn a ridiculously long list of new mythological and childhood references, and free the entire universe from the Death Ray of Nighttime.
“But,” you might say, “they’re trying to protect her memories so that Azkadellia doesn’t find her!” Fair point.
Meanwhile, in the O.Z., Azkadellia uses a telepathic lion-man (and a cattle prod) to find out that DG is alive, and orders her men to cross dimensions and go get her.
Oh, BURNED, hypothetical person in the above quote! BURNED.
Back in Kansas, DG wakes up from a bad dream and hears the commotion of a storm. She gets dressed in sensible, layered clothing with sneakery shoes (awesome; I’m sorry, it’s so rare someone’s dressed for what happens to them, and I really just want to applaud) and goes downstairs to get into the tornado shelter - except that Azkadellia’s SS-lookin’ stormtroopers (nee Longcoats - Not Awesome!) are attacking!
IM IN UR HOUSE, SMACKIN UR PARENTS (BEEP BOOP BEEP).
Her parents (beepboopbeep) manage to get their asses all locked in the attic, which, nice one, and then they shove her out a dormer window.
Meanwhile, in the O.Z…there she is!
And lucky us, she wakes up just in time to be surrounded by pgymy-warrior-esque Munchkins that are just extremely not cool or acceptable or useful. Or anything. (Dear miniseries: FAIL.)
No worries; our DG is intrepid, and casually picks up a big stick to defend herself with (awesome) and then holds it like a rifle (not awesome! WTF? Who holds a stick like that?). Doesn’t matter, though, since apparently she fell asleep on a patch of ground where they had already buried a huge spring net! Convenient.
Cut to the Ewok village, where they’ve caged her 100 feet above the ground and are menacing her as one of Azkadellia’s spies, which is sort of dumb because from what we’ve seen so far, if she was one of Azkadellia’s spies she’d have cattle-prodded the shit out of every last one of you. Also, she’d be on a horse. (All the bad guys ride horses instead of using cars, which we know exist in this world. Is it to make sure their approach always takes just long enough for our heroes to escape? Ha, you wish it made that much sense.)
After they leave what has clearly been a long explanation, she hears somebody else, and for the first time in several hours looks around her cage (O RLY?) and sees Glitch tied up there.
“What are you doing up there?” she asks, beginning another leitmotif of “DG Asks Questions So No One Else Has To.”
He says something that I hope wasn’t, “Just hanging around,” but given the quality of writing here I just can’t be sure.
Te Be Continued, because seriously, this thing was six hours long and I’m probably still in Hour One.