Review of "Emerald City" on NBC From The TV MegaSite
 

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"Emerald City" review by Suzanne 12/31/16
Premieres January 6 on NBC

I wasn't sure, at first, if I would like this, but it definitely grew on me. I watched the first three episodes and hope to watch more. I've read some speculation online about it being similar to "Game of Thrones," but to me it's nothing like that. It's also nothing like the original "Wizard of Oz" or any other versions we've seen.

The story is very gritty, even though it mostly takes place in Oz, a land of magic. If you loved how wonderous and beautiful Oz was in the original movie, then you probably won't like this.

They take just about everything about the original movie or books and turn it on its head. If that kind of thing bothers you, don't watch this. However, if you like a very  modern fantasy show (but not very gory), then you should watch this.  The scenery is fantastic; they filmed it in many beautiful locations around the world.

Here are a few tidbits that are not big spoilers. Dorothy is a full grown woman; the show starts in the real world, in current time. She does travel to Oz with a dog that she later calls Toto. She does kill the Wicked Witch when she lands in Oz, and she is greeted by some little people (they don't ever call them Munchkins, from what I can tell). I didn't have any closed-captioning on my screener, and at times I had trouble understanding what they were saying.

Adria Arjona (Dorothy) is a great actress, and I'm sure we'll see her in more things now. Another great newcomer is Jordan Loughran, who plays Tip. Vincent D'Onofrio plays the Wizard, and he's always great, but I didn't like the weird accent he adopted for this.

There is a Glinda, there is a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion (of sorts), and lots of magic. Also, we see a gun, swords, many witches, stone giants, lots of snow, some water-boarding, other violence and death, some sex, and a really interesting transgender character. I think they did a pretty good job with it, but it's not for kids at all.

Check it out!

MORE INFORMATION:

Swept up into the eye of a tornado, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) is transported to another world — a mystical land where an all-powerful ruler (Vincent D’Onofrio) governs over one kingdom, has outlawed magic, and faces not only the wrath of a growing cauldron of witches but a looming disaster brought on by a mythical force. Epic, romantic and fantastical, “Emerald City” is an empowering tale of a young woman finding her true strength and identity even as she battles to bring a divided world together.

Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ana Ularu, Mido Hamada, Jordan Loughran, Gerran Howell and Joely Richardson also star. David Schulner, Shaun Cassidy, Josh Friedman and Matthew Arnold serve as executive producers. The series is directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, who also serves as an executive producer. “Emerald City” is a Universal Television production.

Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/emerald-city

Dear Viewer:

We know you have a lot to watch so we appreciate you taking the time to check out “Emerald City.” This has been a thrilling adventure for all concerned and we’re excited to share the first 10 episodes of our epic journey with you.

“Emerald City” is inspired by L. Frank Baum’s 14 “Wizard of Oz” books. We’re big fans of Oz, from the 1939 MGM film to “The Wiz” and “Wicked,” but where these are all musicals, we thought it might be worth reimagining Baum’s stories through the lens of adult drama. Because the books were not originally written as children’s tales but as political allegory, their core themes still resonated for us. One hundred years later, women are still fighting for empowerment, science and religion/magic are often at war and the pursuit of identity – racial, gender and otherwise – remains at the forefront of our political and cultural conversation. And, of course, there will always be “no place like home.” 

Many traditional rules of how network television is made were broken for this show. All 10 scripts were written long before anything was filmed and then rewritten as actors and locations were chosen. Our extraordinary director, Tarsem Singh, only agreed to sign on if he could shoot the entire series non-episodically, like a 10-hour film. To make the show look unlike anything audiences had seen before, we limited our CGI and instead searched the globe for locations possessed of true magic: Old Roman roads on the coast of Spain, a remote national park in Croatia, 15th-century castles in Hungary, Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona. Most remarkably, we were fortunate to assemble a cast from all over the world, led by the amazing Vincent D’Onofrio as our follicly-challenged demagogue of a Wizard, and newcomer Adria Arjona as Dorothy.

The story of a young woman’s search for self via a way home is timeless, as is the reclaiming of head, heart and soul as represented by a scarecrow, tin man and lion. All of these iconic characters come to life in our Oz, but how they reveal themselves will surprise. Half the fun of reaching “Emerald City” is the road itself, but beware of witches, flying monkeys and yellow poppy pollen.

“Emerald City” debuts on Jan. 6 with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.


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