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The Televisionist, Nov. 29

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TIN MAN

8 p.m. Dec. 2-4

The Sci-Fi Channel

While “Wizard of Oz” purists will most likely want to seek their entertainments elsewhere, those looking for a new take on author L. Frank Baum's classic quest story might do well to check out “Tin Man,” the Sci-Fi Channel's six-hour miniseries that presents a much darker imagining of Baum's “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” At the center of the story is motorcycle-riding sorta-goth chick DG (Zoey Deschanel), who finds herself transported by a Kansas tornado to the Outer Zone. In order to get home, she must travel to meet the Wizard of Oz (Richard Dreyfuss). Along the way, she picks up a strangely familiar set of characters, including animal/human shapeshifter Toto (Blu Mankuma), lion-like creature Raw (Raul Trujillo), robot without a brain Glitch (Alan Cumming), and the Tin Man (Neal McDonough), a former real-world cop who got his name from the badge he carries. Hot on their trail is Askedellia (Kathleen Robertson) — A.K.A. the Wicked Witch of the West — a brooding, mystical psychopath whose tattoos transform into flying monkeys to do her bidding.

As with any television miniseries, there's every reason in the world to believe that “Tin Man” will seriously suck. Add to that the fact that it's a Sci-Fi Channel miniseries — more than likely full of badly rendered CGI monsters and scenes where purple lightning bolts shoot out of people's eyeballs — and you're left with a solid 12 percent chance that it will be worth a damn (and only that because we were so impressed by their miniseries “The Lost Room” last year). Still, for those who love Baum's original Oz books or the 1939 film, it's likely worth a look, if only to see how a new generation of writers spins the classic story and characters.

David Koon

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