Tin Man

Tin Man titleOfficial | IMDb | Wikipedia

So I finally watched Tin Man, which has been on the list at least since last Ferbruary. T_T How come it takes me an entire year to do anything I want to do? Jesus, it’s no wonder I can’t keep a hold on anything important and mostly just end up putting out “this is urgent!” fires. Ugh.

All right, so. Tin Man is a science fiction, steampunk-ish, very much not-for-children retelling of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, most notably (but not completely) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s in three parts, each part a little over an hour and twenty minutes long, and as each part progresses, it moves progressively away from the original stories.

I liked the tin woodsman character—Cain. As the title character (in the foreground in this first image), I expected his backstory to be the most interesting, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked the scarecrow character—Glitch. I even liked the cowardly lion character—Raw. DG, though, is… well, she felt like the weak link, except that she was the only reason the others were hanging out together, since they certainly wouldn’t have on their own. Hell, I even liked Akadelia, though I admit she was pretty much a cut-and-dried, run-of-the-mill villain. Her costuming was the most elaborate, but if you’re a sorceress/empress ruling all of the O.Z. (the Outer Zone), why not indulge a little and wear whatever the hell you want?

Speaking of Azkadelia: her character became simultaneously more complex and simpler as the story was revealed. I liked that I didn’t understand at first why she was conversing with herself, but I didn’t like that her motivation was, in my opinion, pretty spectacularly classic villainy “I’m going to blot out the sun and rule the world O.Z. bwahahaha BECAUSE I CAN” nonsense. I mean, her motivation wasn’t… very complicated. (Well, that’s not quite true, but the true villain of the story actually isn’t that complicated, and Azkadelia is that person for most of the proceedings, so. Like I said, Azkadelia’s character becomes simultaneously more complicated and less as the story goes on.)

One thing I thought was unfair was Azkadelia’s name compared to DG’s. I mean, seriously; they’re sisters: how can the elder be named Azkadelia, of all things, and the younger not feel inferior with a name like DG? That’s not really even a name; it’s just initials, for christ-sakes. Yes, yes; I know why she’s called that (and in case you don’t figure it out yourself, it’s revealed near the end of the third episode), but come on. I kept thinking someone would slip and finally call DG “Ozma” but my hopes were in vain. Ozma isn’t the grandest name in the book but you have to admit that it’s a better fighting name when it comes up against something like Azkadelia than DG is. Really, now.

I already mentioned my annoyance/discomfort with Neal McDonough, so let me just say that Tin Man in its entirety at least passed the Bechdel Test, but I’m not sure enough about the interactions between female characters that I can safely say that each episode passes. I’m pretty sure each ep. passes since Azkadelia speaks with the lavender-eyed woman about DG a lot, but I’m not 100%. If someone wants to double-check that for me, I’d be grateful.

DG and Cain

The first episode was basically a rehashing of The Wizard of Oz we know and love, but with less singing. If you can get through that (maybe even enjoy Dorothy a’la the modern day—who knows?), the other two episodes are much more interesting, I think. Mostly, I just wanted more. I wanted more backstory, more scenic history, more complications, and more complicated characters. Two-dimensional characters are boring, and of the group, DG and Azkadelia were the most two-dimensional. DG just acted like a petulant child most of the time (and it usually worked out in her favor, so I guess that’s fine…) and Azkadelia, as I mentioned, is strange.

This mini-series is on par with Alice, another of SyFy’s retellings; not completely unforgettble, but at least worth my time. Of the recent SyFy miniseries, though, I still have to say Battlestar Galactica is the absolutely the best, with Dune coming in second place.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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