tek's rating:

Lost in Oz (CGI), Amazon
IMDb; Oz Wiki; Polygon Pictures; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Caution: spoilers.

An animated reimagining of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy Gale (Ashley Boettcher) is a 12-year-old girl living in modern-day Kansas, with her mother, Evelyn (Allison Mack). She's clearly a clever girl, who enjoys creating Rube Goldberg contraptions. One day, she finds a strange journal under a floorboard, and it ends up creating a mystical tornado that picks up her house and transports her and her dog, Toto, to Oz. (I definitely like this version's more modern, yet still magical and somewhat surreal, take on what Emerald City is like. Including "fake" magical devices powered by batteries.) But before Dorothy lands there, while she's still in the tornado, she manages to call her mother, who wasn't home at the time. Clearly Evelyn has been to Oz before, and gives Dorothy some rushed instructions on trying to find her way home. She also has a crystal ball that lets her call an old friend in Oz to ask for help for Dorothy.

The first person Dorothy meets in the Emerald City is an anthropomorphic brick wall named Agent Pugmill, of the Bureau of Magic. While at the Bureau, she also meets Pugmill's assistant, Fitz. Later, she meets a witch about her age named West (Nika Futterman), the daughter of the friend Evelyn had called. She also meets a "giant" Munchkin boy named Ojo (who is, for some reason, roughly the size of a regular human boy, or a bit larger; certainly he's larger than any other Munchkins, including his parents). Anyway, Oz is in the midst of a magic shortage (not to mention a magic crime wave), which is a problem, because to get home, Dorothy will have to collect all of the different elements on the periodic table of magic, the most important of which is Ozonium. They actually get some of that in the first episode, from a patchwork doll, and use it to awaken the city's giant guardian, "the Lookout," who had been turned into a statue. They also awaken several other people who had been transformed into statues by a villain... who turns out to be Fitz.

In the second episode, Dorothy meets West's mother, Cyra (Kath Soucie), and learns she was once friends with Glinda the Good Witch (Jennifer Hale), as well as Evelyn. They also meet a cowardly lion named Reigh, who has a battery-powered invisibility cloak, or whatever. And he's kind of a conspiracy theorist and hacker, who's been investigating Oz's magic crisis, as well as the fact that no one's seen Glinda in quite some time. In the fourth episode, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, who was Glinda's advisor. However, he's lost his memory concerning a great many things, and now can barely remember anything new that he learns for very long (kind of like Dory). Still, he becomes another ally in Dorothy and her friends' quest to find Glinda and restore magic to Oz.

While they have occasional run-ins with Fitz throughout the season, we eventually learn that the real mastermind behind Glinda's disappearance and the city's magic crisis is West's aunt, Langwidere (Gina Gershon), who is Fitz's boss/mentor. But West didn't even know she had an aunt; it's a secret her mother had kept from her, because while Cyra is a good witch (abandoning her family's longstanding tradition of wickedness), Langwidere had remained wicked. Once West meets Langwidere, her aunt manages to manipulate her to some extent by playing on her insecurities and ambitions (as well as her resentment towards her mom), though West continues to struggle with conflicted feelings of friendship toward Dorothy and the others, and uncertainty about whether to trust her aunt. Anyway... there are lots of twists and turns in the plot, throughout the first half (13 episodes) of the season. There are familiar creatures like flying monkeys and Nomes (though they're all somewhat different from versions I've seen in past movies set in Oz). There are also creatures I've never heard of, like Growleywogs (which appear in at least one of the original Oz books, none of which I've read).

And, um, lots of stuff happens that I don't want to spoil. But I will say that I really liked the animation, and the acting, and the writing (humor, drama, action, and overall story), and the characters, and various clever uses of magic, and what little we learn of the series's backstory (going back a couple of generations) and... just everything about the series is pretty awesome. Of course, the heroes appear to win in the end, but then there's a surprise cliffhanger. At the time, I wasn't sure if there was going to be a second season, but later it turned out that what I thought was the whole season was just the first half of the season. The second half was released ten months later, so I'll be updating this review when I've seen it.

web reviews index

Untitled Document The Wizard of Oz
movies: The Wizard of Oz * Journey Back to Oz * Return to Oz * Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
TV: Tales of the Wizard of Oz * The Wizard of Oz in Concert * The Muppets' Wizard of Oz * Tin Man * Once Upon a Time * The Wiz Live! * Emerald City
web: Lost in Oz
comics: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz