Of all the fictional worlds that have been adapted to the silver screen, few have had more iterations/reimaginings/spin-offs/continuations/prequels than Frank L. Baum’s Oz. The last audiences saw of it was just two years ago in Sam Raimi’s live-action Oz: The Great and Powerful and then came the 2014 animated film, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – neither of which gained the love the studios behind them wanted. Most of the attempts to recapture the same kind of magic of the 1939 Wizard of Oz have failed, but it looks like the entertainment industry isn’t done with Baum’s works just yet.
Last year, NBC had plans to debut a new series called Emerald City – an Oz TV show said to be a darker reimagining of the world, and a series that would continue with Dorothy’s story years after her first visit to Oz. However, the network ended up passing on the project, which seemingly marked the end of the project.
Well, today Variety is reporting that NBC has picked the project back up and already signed off on a 10-episode order for Emerald City. The series will be executive produced by Do No Harm creator David Schulner. Matthew Arnold and Josh Friedman were developing the show previously.
Here is a synopsis for the series:
“‘Emerald City’ follows 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and her K9 police dog who, after a tornado, are transported to another world far away — a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy.”
The world Dorothy travels to in Emerald City is described as being a “darker spin on ‘Oz’ where wicked witches don’t stay dead for long and a young girl becomes a headstrong warrior who holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands.” This is now the second Oz inspired project currently in-development at NBC, after the network picked up The Wiz for their annual live holiday musical special earlier this year.
The plot definitely sounds interesting, but it also sounds like it could end up falling into the more generic side of things. Oz: The Great and Powerful very much resembled Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in terms of the big budget and scale (both also featured Robert Stromberg’s production design), yet Emerald City sounds closer to Alice, story-wise. It’ll come down to the execution of it all, but the concept alone might not get the excited response NBC is hoping for here.
On the other hand, the property certainly has its own dedicated fan base who are probably interested in any kind of film or TV show involving the world of Oz. Whether or not Emerald City will end up gaining their support is still unknown, and the network probably won’t be able to gauge fan reactions until some actual footage is released or casting decisions are made. As of right now though, it looks like Emerald City has finally found its way onto the yellow brick road.
Emerald City is currently in development at NBC.