Like Dorothy Gale, NBC’s Emerald City has been fraught with misadventures when it was first conceived in 2015 by Matthew Arnold. Initially, NBC liked the concept, but then decided against it. Then, the show was taken out of the round file and given a second chance with Tarsem Singh Dhandwar who serves as both director and executive producer of the 10-episode limited series. David Schulner, Shaun Cassidy, Josh Friedman, and Matthew Arnold are along for the ride serving as executive producers.
Emerald City takes many of the concepts and characters from the iconic L. Frank Baum series of books featuring the wonderful wizard of Oz and turns the stories on their metaphorical heads.
“It makes sense that the brickless ‘Yellow Road’ in Emerald City is paved with opium — since this is one trippy adventure,” says Michael Starr from the New York Post.
In the new story, Dorothy is a 20-year-old nurse working at a rural hospital in Lucas, Kansas, and lives with her adoptive parents (perhaps her birth parents live in Oz?). Like the original story, Dorothy is swept up in a tornado but only after she uncovers a crime scene. Instead of the family home, she travels inside a police car with the K-9 German shepherd, Toto. And like the original tale, Dorothy’s vehicle crash lands on top of a witch who is known as the Mistress of the Eastern Wood. Her sister, the Witch of the West, is none too happy with the latest developments.
Emerald City stars Adria Arjona as Dorothy and Vincent D’Onofrio plays the all-powerful Oz who has outlawed magic, but it appears that Dorothy has a few mystical talents of her own that she wasn’t even aware of until his latest vacation away from home. New to the story is a man that Dorothy calls Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Lucas is a man who has been crucified and was left for dead. Being that Dorothy is a nurse, she is able to fix him up, but soon finds out that he is left with no memory and is probably a good stand in for the scarecrow. There are no munchkins to speak of (at least not in the beginning of the series) but there are plenty of tribal woods people taking their place. Joely Richardson plays Glinda the presumably “good witch” and Ana Alura plays the Witch of the West. Jordan Loughran plays a new character, Tip, a young boy who is held against his will by an older man who swears that he is only trying to protect the boy. We can only guess who or what he is protecting the boy from.
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NBC describes Emerald City as “Epic, romantic and fantastical, and is an empowering tale of a young woman finding her true strength and identity even as she battles to bring a divided world together.”
This isn’t your parents’ Wizard of Oz story nor is it intended for young children. In addition to Arjona and D’Onofrio, the show stars Mido Hamada, Jordan Loughran, and Gerran Howell. Emerald City begins with a two-hour premiere on January 6, Friday, from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. on NBC.
TV shows based on fairy tale stories have become quite popular the last few years with ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm. While you definitely won’t be in Kansas anymore, will you give the new show a try?
[Featured Image by NBC]