Tin Man: Part two wanders off the yellow brick road

tinman3.pngFROM JASON’S VERY UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIR — Sci-Fi’s Tin Man got marginally better tonight when it shed the expository roots of the original Oz movie and moved more toward L. Frank Baum’s books.

It’s still no masterpiece, though.

The opening minutes of part two weren’t too proud to pull the old “metal item in your coat pocket stops the bullet” trick after the tin man, Cain, was shot in the heart by the sorceress Azkadellia’s henchman.

In fact, all of the main characters were saved through deus ex machina, and continued to be sheltered by the patron saint of James Bond for the rest of the show. That is to say that Azkadellia had dozens of chances to kill the protagonists outright, but opted against it a la Ernst Blofeld.

In the grand tradition of inept baddies, the sorceress instead lets DG go free, hoping she will lead the way to a powerful artifact — a (chaos?) emerald that will power a doomsday machine (are you believing any of this?) that will destroy all of Oz. Of course, they continue to call it The OZ at every opportunity.

Setting DG on the path to finding the emerald is Richard Dreyfuss as the great and terrible Wizard of The OZ. The writers can’t pass up the chance to steal a decades-old plot device here; Dreyfuss pulls an Obi Wan Kenobi and is killed off by Darth Azkadellia — but not before he can inspire Dorothy to use the Force magic inside her heart.

It’s here that the writers feel compelled to introduce Toto, or “Tutor,” an animorphic pooch who turns out to be a magician working for the Dark Side.

With the help of DVR monocles, he leads flying monkeys after the motley band until they come to a dank, mystery-filled cave on Dagobah where DG suddenly remembers the childhood event that sparked the entire misadventure.

At last, almost four hours in and with just 10 minutes remaining in the second episode, Tin Man comes to the meat of the plot. We find it was DG’s impulsiveness that allowed an evil witch to possess Azkadellia. All of the terrible consequences have been DG’s fault.

I feel the need to point out that the writing team of Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle wrote 58 episodes of The Pretender and 40 of Pamela Anderson’s epic She Spies. Watching Tin Man, I can’t help but see some of the plodding cat-and-flying-monkey cheese (not to mention the femme fatale sensuality).

Like a sucker, I’ll watch the finale Tuesday night. Maybe something creative and engaging will surface.

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