The miniseries is a sometimes psychedelic, often twisted and always bizarre take on The Wizard of Oz. It centers on DG, a young woman plucked from her humdrum life and thrust into The Outer Zone (the O.Z.), a fantastical realm filled with wonder, but oppressed by dark magic. DG discovers her true identity, battles evil winged monkey-bats and attempts to fulfill her destiny. Her perilous journey begins on the fabled Old Road that leads to a wizard known as the Mystic Man. Along the way, she is joined by “Glitch,” an odd man missing half his brain; “Raw,” a quietly powerful wolverine-like creature longing for inner courage; and “Cain,” a heroic former policeman (known in the O.Z. as a “Tin Man”), who is seeking vengeance for his scarred heart. Ultimately, DG’s destiny leads her to a showdown with the wicked sorceress Azkadellia, whose ties to DG are closer than anyone could have imagined.
The first rule of reimagining a story is that the orignal needs to fall short of its potential. This can sometime be a hard thing to judge (I’m all in favor of a reimigined Star Trek, though I’m probably the only one) but messing with the Wizard of Oz is just asking for trouble. George Lucus re-imagining his own Star Wars movies type of trouble.
The Oz movie is a classic. It also happens to be one of the most tightly structured scripts around. The color transition, the pacing, the stylized acting all play into the fantasy of the concept. Plus and this is a biggie, the musical numbers help tell the story and move the plot forward in an economical way. Imagine each character having to monologue their missing-organ back stories. That would be the definition of tedious.
The new BSG works because the original series was, frankly, shallow and cliched. It has it’s diehard fans who don’t like the new show for going all dark and current and philosophical and real. Some people are happy with worn out cardboard and Star Wars rip offs. But the show simply didn’t live up to it’s potential. But That’s not the case here. If you have your doubts, rent Return to Oz sometime.