Tin Man (TV series)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Without heart, you're nothing.
"Oh come on, tin man, have a heart!"

This Cult Classic Sci-Fi Channel miniseries is a... loose re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz.

DG is a rebel teen about to break loose played by Zooey Deschanel. The Scarecrow is a lobotomized ex-genius played by Alan Cumming. The Tin Man himself is a disheartened ex-policeman, and the Cowardly Lion is a psychic Cat-Man. The flying monkeys are actually tattoos on the Wicked Witch's cleavage that come to life, the Poppy Field is actually the hunting ground of fearsome plant-animal things, and Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are actually robots. And finally, the Wicked Witch is actually DG's resentful older sister Azkadelia.

As for the rest, Toto is a were-terrier who tutored DG and her sister in magic. The Wizard is split across 2 characters, one of whom is DG's real father, and the other of whom is a showman/oracle addicted to happiness-inducing vapors. Azkadelia went over to the dark side after being possessed by the original Wicked Witch. And the whole series evidently takes place hundreds of years into Oz's future as the original Dorothy Gale is DG's earliest ancestor, who became a princess of OZ (that's the "Outer Zone" to you) in one of the few plot points that is actually in line with the original L. Frank Baum books.

Basically, it's The Wizard of Oz saturated with Rule of Cool and Darker and Edgier.

It was followed by a Spiritual Successor, Alice.

More recently, the director also did Neverland.

Tropes used in Tin Man (TV series) include:

Zero: We can pry those numbers out of her.
Azkadelia: Zero, she's my sister.

  • Evil Feels Good: Take a close look at Azkadelia's physical reaction right after taking a life with her magic. After killing the Mystic Man, she even takes the hand of a guard to steady herself.
  • Famous Ancestor: In a Homage type of way -- DG is named for her ancestor, Dorothy Gale.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Fighting From the Inside: There are a couple of instances where you can see the original Azkadellia coming through, before being suppressed by the Wicked Witch personality
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Follow the Leader: Part of the largely Tim Burton led wave of "reimagining" classic stories as Darker and Edgier "serious" movies that bear only a passing resemblance to their source material.
  • Forced to Watch: Eight years in a magically-charged coffin, with his family's torture on repeat playback for company. Heroic Willpower is the only explanation Cain is anything resembling sane.
  • Foreshadowing: In the build up to the arrival of the tornado, the Gales' scarecrow loses his head, a heart-shaped house sign rattles about, and a cat runs off in terror.
  • Fortune Teller
  • Fun with Acronyms: Averted. TDESPHT-what?
  • Gentle Giant: Raw.
  • The Good Chancellor: Ambrose, Royal adviser to the Queen and loyal to the end.
  • High Collar of Doom: Azkadelia's outfits almost all sport some variation of this.
  • Hope Spot: DG manages to guide a rat to the control wheel for the cell doors using bits of her food, but it opens the wrong door...
  • Hot Witch: Azkadelia. Yes.
  • Ho Yay: Look, it's got Alan Cumming in it. And Glitch and Cain talk about dancing and Glitch tells Cain he makes him feel like girls at balls used to, and Cain makes him remember who he is by calling him "Sweetheart."
    • Arguments could be made for Cain and Zero's history to be a bit, um, charged as well.
  • Identity Amnesia: Glitch.
    • Although occasionally his memory seems to come and go whenever convenient for the plot. To the point where I'm not really sure how much he actually needed his brain to know stuff.
  • I Know You're In There Somewhere: DG to Azkadelia.
  • Improvised Weapon: A log that Cain, Glitch, Raw, and three other guys are chained to.
  • I Never Said She Whispered
  • Intergenerational Friendship: DG and the guys.
  • Knight in Sour Armor : Hey, given the crap Cain's been through, he'll wear that sour armor like his Badass Longcoat!
  • La Résistance
  • Last Request: Mystic Man to Cain, "You will not leave her side at any cost! You understand?"
  • Left for Dead: Yes, Zero, you shot Cain and he fell out a window into a freezing lake. You still should have checked the body.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Glitch and Cain. So very much.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Raw and the other Viewers.
  • The Little Detecto
  • Lotus Eater Machine: An illusion of DG's home; it's a trap to make her reveal secrets.
  • Manly Tears: Cain.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Azkadelia has spent years unsuccessfully searching for the Emerald of the Eclipse, which she needs to bring her plan to plunge the O.Z. into eternal darkness to fruition. Enter DG and friends, who decide that they have to find the Emerald to stop her. Not one of them suggests that they can foil Azkadelia's plot by just sitting down and twiddling their thumbs until the eclipse has passed.
  • Mind Probe: The Witch's favorite method of info gathering
  • Mistaken for Spies: DG gets in trouble this way when she first shows up in the O.Z.
  • Mobile Kiosk: Demilo's ungodly tacky whorehouse-on-wheels
  • The Mole: It's Toto, reluctantly.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Albeit robot ones.
  • Must Make Amends: DG is already motivated to take down her evil sister, but then sees a vision in a cave revealing that, as a small child, accidentally freed the witch possessing Azkedellia.
  • Mythology Gag: The series is loaded with them. Many references to the 1939 movie, several to Wicked, and too many to count for classic books. Justified Trope with the books, as it uses a few continuity elements from Baum's Oz in the Backstory.
  • Nice Hat: Cain wears one.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: The Mystic Man, before he is captured, and killed later
  • Of Corsets Painful: For us. That one bald scientist guy.
  • Of Corsets Sexy
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Azkadelia's master plan is to destroy the sun over the planet that she already rules, leading one to ask why? Unless she hates being the ruler of such a Wretched Hive, or maybe she just wants complete revenge on all life, we'll never know. Her plan comes down to destroying all that she owns.
  • Parental Abandonment: But don't worry, she's got replacement robot parents instead!
  • Pimped-Out Car: Demilo's wagon, in all its horrible tacky glory.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Most of Azkadellia's wardrobe. She even has a pimped out nightie.
  • Ping-Pong Naivete: How stupid, forgetful, and naive Glitch is relies solely on rule of funny and moving the plot further. At times he seems to remember a surprising amount of the past, including his own.
  • Pocket Protector
  • Power of Love
  • Primal Fear: Being trapped in a marble coffin.
  • Purple Eyes: The Queen's best known feature. Even in the script, they only describe her as "Lavender Eyes."
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A slight Western example. As kids, DG was your typical, kinda impulsive child, while Azkadellia was a more mature voice of reason. They even wore red and blue dresses, respectively.
  • Reverse Polarity: "Commence the reverse pulsing!"
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Cain's weapon of choice, even with the magitek used by Longcoats as an option.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: DG's dad is named Ahamo. The original Wizard was from Omaha.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Witch.
  • Shout-Out: Too many to list, but plenty of reference to the famous 1939 movie and even more for the book series. Cheesy as it was, the series writers did their homework, including the backstory that Dorothy moved to Oz for keeps (the 6th book). DG's story is a hybrid of Dorothy's and Tip/Ozma's (sans the genderbender angle). They gave Glitch AKA Ambrose, the exact same job the original Scarecrow took up in the 14th book. The Witch is closer to Greg Maguire's depiction of Kumbricia, Mother of Witches, than she is to the "classic" Wicked Witches. The depiction of Central City is also straight out of Maguire. The original Wizard was from Omaha, which is a clue to Ahamo's identity.
    • D.G. calls her robotic dad "Popsicle" in one scene, just as Galinda does in the musical version of Wicked.
  • Spiritual Predecessor: To Alice and Neverland.
  • Spy Speak / Trust Password: Used by Cain with other Resistance members.
  • The Stoic: Cain.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Azkadelia keeps her mother imprisoned on a tiny sandbar island on a river bed... inside a snowglobe.
  • Techno Babble: Glitch, if he can remember.
  • "There and Back" Story: Much like the film it's an adaptation of as well as the original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Tin Man: Cain again, of course.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot
  • Tracking Device
  • The Unfavorite: Avoided. It's the Demonic Possession of the original Wicked Witch that made Azkadelia feel neglected and hate DG. So much so that she had her mother imprisoned, her father made a hunted man, and DG's robot parents reprogrammed to love her instead.
  • Unobtainium: Or to be more specific, Moritanium (big M, little t, number 216 on the OZian periodic table), which besides its strength can be used to conduct magical energy.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Toto
  • Worth Living For: Cain, guarding DG.
  • Xanatos Roulette: The Queen and Ahamo's scheme. The Queen essentially fakes DG's death, then "banishes" her beloved, Earthling husband so that the Witch won't think to look for him in Oz. Then, run like hell under the cover of night, block DG's memories with a limited-duration spell that would wear off at early adulthood, and send the little Princess off with the Muggle Foster Parents, who have codewords and clues programmed into them, so that she could find a few scattered allies (Father Vu, The Mystic Man, and Ahamo) and messages (the Ice Palace, Finaqua), then find her and/or Ahamo. Where her plot seemed to hit a snag was that she likely planned on being able to hold out against The Witch until DG came back.
  • Word Salad Title: You would assume that a miniseries named Tin Man would have the Tin Man as the main character, or would at least center on a plot involving him. Likely functions under the Rule of Cool, as with enough series out there.
    • The actual reason was that Long-Mitchell & Van Sickle's original idea was a cop show about the Emerald City police force. It mutated into a more "standard" adaptation, but they couldn't come up with a better title than the one they had before deadline.
  • World of Woobie
  • You Have Failed Me...: And so you will get the life sucked out of you.