The classic The Wizard of Oz, based on the series of books by L. Frank Baum, has already been adapted multiple times for both the big and small screens as well as the Broadway stage, with the likes of The Wiz, SyFy’s Tin Man, Wicked, and Oz the Great and Powerful among the many re-imaginings that have popped up over the past several decades. Even the Muppets and Tom and Jerry ventured down that ol’ yellow brick road.
However, NBC has thrown down a Jaime Lannister-styled gauntlet with its new Emerald City trailer. Clearly the network is taking Oz in a new thematic direction – one intended to tap into the modern zeitgeist, and our collective obsession with franchises like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, more specifically.
In the first trailer for Emerald City [above], released by Access Hollywood, there’s a Braveheart-looking Scottish warrior offering Dorothy advice and a lion-headed fellow who isn’t looking all that cowardly. Also, the “scarecrow” is introduced on what appears to be a crucifix, and he seems to be established as a potential love interest for Dorothy. Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Self/less) is set to direct the show’s first 10 episodes, while sharing writing credits with original author L. Frank Baum, as well as David Shulner and Matthew Arnold. Emerald City stars Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim 2) as Dorothy, with Vincent D’Onofrio, Joely Richardson, Ana Ularu, Mido Hamada, Gerran Howell, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen rounding out the central roles.
On one hand, there’s a more gritty realism in play in Emerald City in terms of the characters, given the apparent absence of a more on-the-nose treatment of Dorothy’s famous sidekicks like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Yet they’ve not been shy in wielding other popular fantasy tropes like thunderbolts flying from fingertips, magical talismans and dialogue that suggests there’ll be plenty of good versus evil smackdowns. And while there’s mention of “a clash between science and magic,” the trailer seems to focus more on magic.
Hopefully the show won’t be riffing too heavily on its obvious source of inspiration beyond L. Frank Baum – it’s hard to say whether there would be a huge audience for Game of Thrones set in Oz (or Wizard of Oz set in Westeros), and a Wicked Witch whose only distinction is that she’s Cersei with sisters and telekinesis would have a long way to go to entertain us half as much as our favorite lady Lannister.
But of course, when a new fantasy TV offering appears, the comparisons to a hugely successful predecessor are inevitable. Here’s hoping NBC proves that it has some new tricks up its wizard-robed sleeve for Emerald City.
Emerald City premieres Friday January 6th, 2017 on NBC.
Source: Access Hollywood