Tin Man on SciFi

I went into viewing this miniseries hoping I was going to be pleasantly surprised. I’ve been disappointed with most everything coming out of that network since the Dune adaptations several year back.

Too many low-budget horror flicks. Too much formula (like the Stargate spinoffs). Too much putting the laughs into their signature network ads instead of a little bit into Battlestar. Too much playing it safe. Why on earth don’t these people negotiate for a film version of a Hugo or Nebula award-winning story?

It’s been almost seventy years since the original film of The Wizard of Oz so maybe we can say it’s time for a remake.

Like any other form of film fiction, sf depends on two things: writing and acting.

The network got one thing right: they went to a great book. They got another thing right: they had the guts to adapt a story in a clever and possibly controversial way. They cast the title role (don’t ask why the title: I cant’ figure it out, two hours in) and the young woman lead way right. I hope it wasn’t good luck.

If they spent big bucks on Dreyfuss, they should’ve instead picked up Helena Bonham Carter or someone of her caliber for the role of the sorceress. Because some of the acting from the supporting cast is lame, lame, lame. I noticed Gwyneth Walsh in the credits. She played one of the Klingon sisters in Star Trek with enough camp and life to breathe it into the villain. But heaven forbid a network would actually sink a financial investment into a woman actor. Too bad, because this miniseries might have done more than just tread water if they had.

I repeat my question above: why, why, o why don’t these people negotiate for a film version of an award-winning novel? A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Doomsday Book, The Forever War, Man Plus, Startide Rising, Rite of Passage, A Fire Upon The Deep … any number of great novels would make great tv fare. Among sf fans, you have a consensus of good writing in this stuff. Instead they give us 30’s pulp, flavored by 50’s sexism, made up pretty with 90’s special effects.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Tin Man on SciFi

  1. John Heavrin says:

    There just isn’t much to recommend this channel, except of course for the occasional Twilight Zone marathon…that Rod Serling wasn’t bad at all…for an upstate New Yawker.:)

  2. crystal says:

    I have to confess I’m a fan of Stargate :-) I’ve hesitated watching Tin Man for the very reasons you mentioned. One original movie they did that wasn’t too bad was The Lost Room. Those books you mentioned are all great – wish they would try to adapt one of them.

  3. Todd says:

    Thanks for commenting, Crystal. I also liked Stargate for many years; I watched a lot of seasons 3-6. I liked to follow the stories of the characters. I have to say I tried Stargate: Atlantis for about a season, but the spinoff seemed weak. I just wish the writing had been better.

    I’ve liked Tin Man enough to stick with it. The plot twist at the end of last night was pleasant, but maybe a little predictable. I’ll watch tonight, but I don’t think I’ll be getting the dvd.

    I think Asimov would adapt to the small screen pretty well: lots of talk and psychological stuff, relatively minimal on huge sets and special effects. Caves of Steel would make a great film.

  4. crystal says:

    PK Dick has certainly been adapted often enough on the big screen. I just saw Next, which was made from one of his short stories. Kind of disappointing. Maybe I’ll check out Tin Man – I’m sure they’ll rerun it soon.

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