Critic Consensus: Dark and brooding, but also confusing and contrived, Emerald City is the Game of Thrones/Wizard of Oz mashup nobody asked for.
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I DO know that Emerald City is the direct result of some evil thing hooking the cheerful, technicolor classic The Wizard of Oz up to the death machine from The Princess Bride and sucking every ounce of life out of it.
The plotting is goofy, the tone is relentlessly dark and the pacing is excruciatingly slow. Worst, the characters are hard to care about.
The overall result is a first season that has its flaws, but features enough delightful weirdness to intrigue those willing to give it a chance... Emerald City is without a doubt an epic leap into the unknown. Sometimes, it soars.
It's just as muddled as Once often is, and too ridiculous to be taken seriously as an epic as Thrones, which is not surprising, given the show's long stay in development purgatory.
It all looks good, but Arjona never gains real traction as Dorothy and some of the side stories become distractions. Still, Emerald City is an ambitious, if derivative, project for broadcast television.
Audience Reviews for Emerald City: Season 1
Emerald City is a dark and gritty re-envisioning of L. Frank Baum’s classic Oz book series. Season 1 follows a young woman named Dorothy Gale who gets swept-up in a tornado and is transported to a strange world where she gets caught in a war between a tyrannical ruler named Oz and a coven of witches lead by Glinda, who's been secretly building an army. The episodes pull plot threats from the first couple of Oz novels, but usually with a macabre twist. However, the show bears little resemblance to Baum's Oz, and is more of a medieval fantasy tale. For the most part the show is well-cast, particularly Vincent D'Onofrio and Joely Richardson; who both have tremendous screen-presence. And the writers do a fairly good job at developing story arcs that build over the 10-episodes (often in unexpected ways). But Emerald City's bold and edgy take on Baum's work tried to turn Oz into something that it's not, and it had trouble finding an audience; leading it inevitably to be cancelled.
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