Perhaps when Once Upon a Time first hit ABC, it made a lot of sense for NBC execs to plot their own fantasy adventure series adapted from a children’s classic. Times quickly changed, though – weak storylines caused many to drop that show, and its spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland proved DOA. Now, NBC’s planned series, Wizard of Oz reimagining Emerald City, won’t even make it to that stage.
After producers and network heads came to an impasse over the series’ creative vision, NBC recently chose to drop the show, which it previously gave a straight-to-series order, altogether. It’s somewhat surprising to hear this news now, given that NBC spent money talking the series up at this year’s Comic-Con (see the pic above), but straight-to-series offerings not panning out is nothing new. The same fate befell Fox’s Ancient Egyptian drama Hieroglyph earlier this year – and that show was already fully cast and had filmed a pilot, as opposed to Emerald City, which has yet to begin casting.
Studio Universal TV is expected to shop Emerald City around to other networks. Picking up years after The Wizard of Oz, the series is described as a “dramatic and modern reimagining” led by a headstrong, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale. After being unexpectedly sent to Oz, Dorothy finds herself endangered by the epic, bloody battle consuming the land.
If Once Upon a Time in Wonderland had worked out, and fairytale dramas appeared to have longevity on the small screen, it would be likely that another network would jump at the chance to pick up Emerald City. In the current TV landscape, however, the series may prove a very tough sell. Only Syfy seems a strong contender to save the show – its 2007 TV miniseries Tin Man was a dark, epic take on The Wizard of Oz that received awards attention and high ratings. Maybe, given that show’s success, the network will consider venturing into Emerald City. But with a crowded slate of promising originals including potential Walking Dead competitor Z Nation, Syfy may decide it can do better.