The traditional complaint saddled to a reboot or spinoff is the aggressive jabbing of a finger at the original property while bellowing “this still works!” That logic seems airtight when a bucket of garbage water is dumped in your lap by a studio or network, but new takes on Fargo, Westworld and Wet Hot American Summer have been worth the risk. Which category will NBC’s upcoming drama Emerald City fall into? That’s for hasty analysis of a trailer to determine.
Extracting the parts they needed from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the subsequent 1939 motion picture adaptation, Emerald City presents a version of Oz that includes what appears to be a crucified hunk-man Scarecrow and the promise of some variety of steampunk magic battle. The tone of this early look suggests something in the realm of Once Upon a Time or Grimm with the fantastical and the routine rubbing elbows, a dynamic that probably explains why the series is being bundled with Grimm on Fridays in January 2017,
For those interested in a bluffer’s guide, here’s how Emerald City explains itself.
In the blink of a tornado’s eye, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale and a K9 police dog are swept into a world far removed from our own – a mystical land of competing realms, lethal warriors, dark magic and a bloody battle for supremacy. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil, Jurassic World) as the guileful Wizard and directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh across three European countries, this is Oz completely reimagined – a place where familiar characters show up in fresh, unexpected ways, and where an unsuspecting young woman holds the fate of kingdoms in her hands. And as Dorothy navigates this dangerous world and uncovers her true destiny, we’ll see there’s no place like… Oz.
The presence of The Fall director Tarsem and his The Cell colleague Vincent D’Onofrio may serve as a hook for viewers scared away by elaborate land-sprawling epics with a dash of magic in them. Mind you, Game of Thrones has changed everything and dorkier fare is now given its due, so that nudge might not be needed. The series premiere of Emerald City is set to air on January 6, 2017.