NBC aired the first two episodes of Emerald City this past Friday (January 6, 2017) giving everyone a look into a dystopian world of Oz. For those who don’t like remakes and re-imaginations of to stories this won’t be the show for you. Those who understand that remakes and new renditions of past stories are here to stay and are willing to give them a chance this series may be what you are looking for.
Emerald City gives us a darker look at the world of Oz with violence and a hint of a darker story at play. Dorothy, played by Adria Arjona, has found herself in a world not of her own and of course is looking for a way home. Upon entering Oz the vehicle Dorothy had jumped into during the tornado kills the Mistress of the Eastern Wood which sets the path for her, first because we learn only a witch can kill a witch and second due the tribesmen of the “free lands” send her on the stone path covered in poppy opium which is yellow to see the Wizard. On this path she meets the first of her companions the Scarecrow, Lucas played by Oliver Jackson.
The writers have made Dorothy a strong character who looks to solve the situations in front of her and doesn’t seem to wallow in her emotions unable to think for herself. I appreciate this, Dorothy is the heart of the story. It doesn’t make since to make her a damsel in distress where everything falls in her lap. I look forward to watching how the writers further develop her character.
The Wizard is played by Vincent D’Onofrio. In these two early episodes it is hard to tell if this Wizard is the enemy or just another politician stumbling around with power. If he is suppose to be sinister then they still have a lot of development to do, either way it is clear that he enjoys his power and is not going to allow anything to take it. When he hears something fell from the skies he sees it as a threat and sends his men to make sure whatever fell from the sky stays “fallen”.
The witches in this series seem to currently be in position of displacement. After the Wizard saved Emerald City from “The Beast” he has outlawed magic. This is presumably to keep the witches in their place so they don’t challenge him for power. I was unclear as to why the witches seem to have accepted this and I am hoping this will be a storyline explored later in the season. The Witch of the West, played by Ana Ularu, does not seem like the type to spend her life docile and seems to be a bit unhinged. The Witch of the North is more composed and calculated, I have a feeling she has something up her sleeve.
The first two episodes show creativity and ambition by the show makers, however, it is unclear from the first two episodes if Emerald City is going to dazzle us with this new rendition or bore us with a story already told. Only time will tell as we watch more episodes.
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