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EMERALD CITY: Dorothy rediscovers magic in NBC series

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Feel like taking a trip down memory lane, as well as get inspired for the future? NBC's Emerald City might be the right medicine for whatever ails you.

There have been a lot of different versions of “The Wizard of Oz,” multiples points-of-view on the fantastical world originally created by the novels of L. Frank Baum in 1900. IndieWire things that "NBC’s Emerald City is the first one that transforms the flying monkeys of the classic 1939 musical adaptation into steampunk drones. They’re still recognizably flying monkeys, but to the residents of Oz, they’re just a random bit of technology, accepted as normal in a world that’s anything but."

Developed by Matthew Arnold, Josh Friedman, David Schulner, Shaun Cassidy, and directed by Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Mirror Mirror), the new fantastical series stars Adria Arjona, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ana Ularu, Vincent D'Onofrio, Joely Richardson, Jordan Loughran, Gerran Howell, Mido Hamada.

Emerald City - Season 1

"There are probably people in the world who don't like remakes, or the "reimagining" of classics. But are there really any people left in that camp when it comes to The Wizard of Oz, which has been a classic movie, a not very good modern movie, a play, a musical, a TV series and more? Friday night, L. Frank Baum's books return as, well, a kind of weirdly dystopian tale that seems like it wants to be on HBO but ends up on NBC — and that description makes it sound better than it really is. [...] There are creative tweaks to all the familiar characters — some you'll see coming, some you'll be amused by, some you'll smile over and others you'll groan over — and if marching down the yellow poppy-pollen road of opium, through the Westeros hills and toward a 10-hour story that might pay off with some visual treats is the kind of TV journey you're up for, by all means head to Emerald City. If not, you've still got L. Frank Baum's books, Judy Garland's movie version and Wicked if you want, so your options are extensive." (The Hollywood Reporter)

The series is seven episodes in, so watch the trailer below and catch up whenever you feel like it.

"Tarsem is a director who’s always shined bright for his ability to bring a unique visual look to the screen, but he’s also shown an interest in storytelling on a fantastical level. “Emerald City” might be best described as an adult fairy tale, and as with many fairy tales, it’s easy to be cynical towards it. But, as is also so often the case with tales told in this genre, if you can let yourself engage, you’re in for a treat. [...] But while it’s easy to mock the concept of an “edgy” “Wizard of Oz,” it’s also important to remember just how delightfully weird and edgy the original books were themselves. Baum packed 14 novels with fantastical characters, political allegory and more feminism than you’d expect from a book that’s over one hundred years old — a legacy which the series honors." (IndieWire)

"Images of a man who looks like he’s been crucified, flying characters who commit suicide and multiple shots of charred bodies are the kind of things that begin to weigh down this slender reed of an adaptation. Taking “The Wizard of Oz” — a story of hard-won hope and unlikely fellowship — in a grim direction is certainly a valid choice, but “Emerald City” needs more than fantastic visuals to make that decision worthwhile. With more complicated characters and relationships and a livelier sense of momentum, it might have been a more artful meditation on the use of power and the costs of loyalty. But, echoing the fate of those grounded monkeys, the plight of these travelers never really takes flight." (Variety)

"So much of Emerald City reads like a paint-by-numbers grim-and-gritty update of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz and its abundant sequels, it borders on self-parody. When we’re introduced to nurse Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona), she uses her bedside manner to distract an elderly patient while swiping her pills. Turns out the pills are for Aunt Em, but the meaning still lands with a thud: This is a Dorothy with attitude, she’s edgy, she’s in your face." (A.V. Club)

Tags:   news, NBC, television, film news, Emerald City, Wizard of Oz

Related:   Emerald City


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