(Sci Fi Channel, December 2-4, 9 p.m.): Miniseries mogul Robert Halmi is back with a wild and dark reimagining of L. Frank Baum's classic Oz books – all 14 of them. Mr. Halmi has made a career of revisiting the classic tales with new technology and fresh eyes.
This sprawling, six-hour coming-of-age story covers far more than the Hollywood film based on the original Baum novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," which took Judy Garland out of Kansas and put her on the map forever.
The heroine, named DG (Zooey Deschanel), is swept from her humdrum, small-town life into the Outer Zone, or "O.Z.," where she teams up with a mealy-mouthed mind reading monster ("Raw"), a man who has lost half his brain, ("Glitch," played by Alan Cumming), and a former cop, known as "Tin Man," on a mission to rid the kingdom of an evil princess. Nasty, flying monkey-bats chase them while strangers talk about how to find home within your heart, all familiar elements from the film.
But this version, while imaginative and ambitious – as Halmi's sumptuous visions almost invariably are – is less successful. The story rambles, and Deschanel, who is a wonderful actress, often appears glassy-eyed, an unfortunate side effect of special effects added after actors have done their jobs.
Grade: B+ – Gloria Goodale