Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Dec 3, 2007

Tin Man (first episode)

I saw the commercials for this new miniseries (which is VERY unusual for me, since I don't watch much TV) and I was intrigued. A new, dystopian look at the Wizard of Oz? The visuals looked great, too.

The approach to the story reminds me very much of how most role playing game scenarios go. The party of mismatched individuals wander into an unknown situation and must unravel the interconnecting threads before it's too late. Standard stuff, but definitely still enjoyable.

There are only two difficulties I've spotted so far, but they definitely haven't put me off.

Firstly, the pacing seems a bit rushed. Plot points have been crashing down like a storm, preventing the viewer from becoming really *familiar* with anything. I think that in this case, this is a mistake, because when you have a story that parallels another, popular story (or at least uses familiar elements), you should give the viewer a chance both to realize what equates *and* how those familiar elements are actually different. The involvement of the munchkins in the story, for instance, lasted only a few minutes, and they were so bizarrely different from the familiar Oz munchkins that there was really nothing to say except, "Um, okay?"

I think Tin Man is actually trying too hard to make itself seem "serious" and avoid the satirical wink/nod it needs to the original tale to make it really engrossing and enjoyable. You can be serious and still let people know that *you* know that your work is derivative. I think doing anything else comes across as "trying too hard".

The second issue is that the acting seems a little stilted to me. None of the characters have really come together in any substantial way, probably as a result of the pacing which very much felt like driving a sports car over a cliff at 200 mph. Everything is currently in free fall, so I'm hoping things will clear up some more tonight.

Hopefully some other people will be watching, too, so we can compare notes.

P.S. I was just telling one of my friends about the show, and I mentioned that it very much resembled a GM with a new group running a "let's get everyone together so we can adventure" scenario. The pacing was a result of trying to avoid having anyone sitting around doing nothing, not to mention the need to introduce the major NPC's.

Towards the end, this theoretical GM apparently realized that he needed to throw in a few plot hooks for next session and end on a cliffhanger, so he threw in a big fight with: *roll on the random encounter table* FLYING MONKEYS! My friend said, "What, like the kind that come out of people's butts?"

Well, actually, these particular flying monkeys literally came out of the evil sorceress' boobs. I kid you not. She had some kind of magic tattoo or something, and there is a big dramatic moment when she unstraps her cast-iron bustier and flashes her cleavage at the camera. In the words of Dave Barry: I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. This resulted in a further comment of: "Yes, I'm trying this new Banana Cleavage Beauty Treatment, unfortunately it has some undesirable side effects . . ."

Frankly, it's worth watching just for that. I think the P.S. is now longer than the original post. Oh well.

P.P.S. Hey, Sci Fi channel, kudos on you for hiring a bunch of gamers to write stuff for you during the writer's strike. I happen to be available, and I couldn't care less about the union. I have some *great* game ideas that could easily be made into miniserieses any time you want.

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