Magic to the People

Lost in Oz – They showed the first episode of this program at the latest OzCon, and I’ve since watched all the available episodes. There are sort of two seasons, in that there are two sets of thirteen each, but for some reason the second is called Season 1 Part 2. The series has a modern-day Dorothy and her dog Toto travel to a technologically advanced Emerald City, where magic, which is usually worked through the manipulation of various elements, is taught in schools, a far cry from Ozma’s ban in the books. Dorothy meets up with West, a magical prodigy with an attitude; Ojo, a giant Munchkin boy who doesn’t want to be a farmer like his people generally are; Reigh, a lion who’s a paranoid conspiracy theorist and expert hacker; and Patchwork, a doll animated with the Powder of Life. They investigate the magic shortage that’s affected Oz and the disappearance of Glinda, who rules the city. Along the way, they run into the original Scarecrow, who has developed a serious memory problem. They also uncover a plot by West’s aunt Langwidere, in league with the Nomes and assisted by Fitz, a crooked magician who works undercover at the Bureau of Magic. They eventually find Glinda, but Langwidere casts a spell that not only makes her ruler of the Emerald City, but also makes everyone think her family has always ruled there. There are shades of The Wishing Horse of Oz in that plot, including that some people aren’t affected by it. The second group of episodes involves a Nome invasion and Dorothy and her friends trying to get back to Oz from Kansas, where General Guph has banished them. The creators mentioned that they see the series as a follow-up to the original books, and there are references to this Dorothy being the great-granddaughter of the original, West as a descendant of the Wicked Witch of the West, and the young Nome King Roquat the son (or is it grandson?) of the Roquat/Ruggedo from the books. This is a little confusing because, according to the books, aging and death are pretty much non-existent, so new generations replacing old ones doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There also seem to be a lot of characters who have the same names and personality traits as their ancestors, but I guess that happens sometimes. There are ways around this, certainly, but I have to wonder if there’s a plan to address that if more episodes are made. As far as names go, Langwidere is confirmed to be a descendant of the Wicked Witch of the West, but is she also related to the original Langwidere? I have to suspect Langwidere being a witch is an indirect reference to Return to Oz, which combined her and Mombi into one character. Her ability to shapeshift might be related to her predecessor changing her heads. Another oddity is that the Shadow Nome, a special agent of the Nome Kingdom with mystical powers, is named Kaliko. It’s also never explained why Glinda is ruling the Emerald City, but she does mention Ozma at one point, so it’s not like the writers aren’t aware of her. There are some other cases where the writers seem to use Baum’s names but not his descriptions, as with the Growleywogs and the confusion of Glinda’s pearl with the Pearls of Pingaree. And so far the Tin Woodman has only been mentioned as a comic book character. But these things don’t really affect the quality of the show, and it is good. In addition to the more major characters, there are such interesting creations as the living brick wall Agent Pugmill, a community of merchants who sell knockoff magic, and a mixed Nome and silverware family. The magical devices are clever, many of them playing on ones from the books. I also think the show has good pacing. There’s an ongoing story with multiple arcs and problems that take several episodes to solve, but they don’t overstay their welcome. For instance, the first few episodes made it seem like Fitz would be a constant antagonist, but he’s exposed fairly early on, and even helps out the good guys after that. I’m hoping there will be more episodes of this eventually. Now I guess I need to watch Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Characters, L. Frank Baum, Magic, Magic Items, Names, Oz, Oz Authors, Ruth Plumly Thompson, Technology, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Magic to the People

  1. rri0189 says:

    Amazon has aired seasons 1, 2.1, 2.2, and 3.1 for its live-action show “Just Add Magic” (absolutely superb, by the way, almost like a kids’ version of “Babylon 5”), signifying that the second year of shooting produced the second and third years of programming and the third year produced the fourth and fifth. (Season 3.2 will start on 25Oct.) In this case, they were influenced by the fact that, for tonal reasons, the main cast has to stay in Junior High.) Perhaps “Lost in Oz” has similar reasons.

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