As the Sci-Fi Channel’s new mini-series Tin Man comes to a close, it is sad to say that what we ended up with was a show that takes a family favorite and turns it into a dark, mangled mess not suitable for children that makes good responsible for all that is evil. It’s all a perfectly ghastly example of moral relativism and the sort of nihilism we have become so boringly used to from our current forms of entertainment.

Remember the Wicked Witch of the West in the original The Wizard of Oz? She was green and ugly, she only wanted what was bad for everyone but herself and she had the love of no one. Remember Dorothy, the pure of heart who would bring light to the land of Oz? She was beautiful and true, the personification of good. To many, the story of The Wizard of Oz was one where a plucky girl with self-confidence could beat evil and make the world a better place. But, not to the Sci-Fi channel. Noooo, in this day of cynicism we certainly can’t have a traditional tale of good vs. evil, now can we? With it’s re-imagining of the venerable children’s classic, the Sci-Fi channel’s Tin Man gives us a Wizard who is a drug addict, a Tin Man that is a bitter ex-cop, a cowardly lion that is… well, we aren’t sure what he is… a scarecrow that is a victim of a lobotomy, the dog To To as a shape shifter who betrays Dorothy, and a Wicked Witch of the West who is really Dorothy’s beautiful older sister and not “just” a witch at all. And what of Dorothy? Well, first of all, not only is she not from Kansas, she isn’t even human (She is from Oz originally, not Earth). But worst of all, the evil of the Wicked Witch of the West is all Dorothy’s fault in the first place. You read that right, evil is the fault of good in this new Oz flick.

It’s a common a trope of entertainment and literature that the existence of good is always countered by that of evil, of course. There have also been many times when good and evil are personified in relatives, such as the brothers of the Bible, Caine and Abel; the good son and the bad. For the most part, though, we’ve had a literary tradition of good triumphing over evil, even if it might mean relatives somehow vanquishing each other. Naturally, the theme of brother against brother, or son against father, and vice versa is meant to add even more tragedy and pathos to the story, but evil is still usually evil.

But, these days it seems that Hollywood and the creators of our forms of entertainment feel they are somehow beyond the traditional roles of good and evil. These writers simply cannot stomach an evil character that just IS evil, nor can the good really just be good. Just as the new version of Beowulf at theaters today makes Beowulf the good and pure hero into a braggart and liar and his enemy into a misunderstood grotesquerie, this new Wizard of Oz suffers from that refusal to make good, good and evil, evil. In today’s entertainment, evil must always be explained away. It’s all not so bad, these stories tell us, evil is just misunderstood.

Sci-Fi channel has often done relatively well in the ratings with past mini-series events, and some of these films have been at least diverting if not fairly good. But this one is not nearly as good as past fare with many second rate special effects, a foreboding, dark overtone and such a mauling of the original characters as cannot be believed. There isn’t much hope in this flick, either. People are tortured, killed, imprisoned for decades in solitary confinement… all manner of evil is visited upon the characters here. It is quite a dark exercise to say the least. Music is also an area they certainly skimped on with this production. The main theme sounds like a retread of an old Flash Gordon soundtrack and it is laboriously and monotonously played at different tempos over and over again throughout the series. Diversity might be good for the cast (they even have a Hindu-like character for some unexplained reason) but diversity in music is eschewed, sadly.

The forgettable special effects, bad music, and dark overtones aside, the worst aspect by far was the new storyline concerning Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West, here just called the evil sorceress or the evil witch. According to this re-imagining, Dorothy and the Wicked Witch are actually sisters, DG and Azkadellia. Both are the progeny of a human father who found himself in the land of Oz and of the Princess Glinda of Oz (Who is, for some strange reason, never really named in the series, just being called “lavender eyes”).

In this tale, Dorothy, blandly played by Zooey Deschanel, is a perpetually confused, malcontent who refuses to listen to anyone. She is constantly doe eyed, head cocked in confusion and displays so little emotion that one would suspect she were more like an emotionless Vulcan character from Star Trek than the effusive girl as memorably portrayed by Judy Garland. The Wicked Witch of the West is no longer that, but is the Sorceress Azkadellia, played with some relish by Kathleen Robertson. Naturally, she wasn’t always evil in this tale. At one time she was little sister Dorothy’s best friend. Even as she is evil, she is portrayed as only wanting her Mother’s love, shows some sign of missing her father and of remembering she used to be good.

So how did she become the evil sorceress? Ah, you see, it’s all Dorothy’s fault!

As the story would have it, the two young girls shared a magical bond that would protect them from harm if only they held hands and stayed together. But, the youngest sister, Dorothy, was mischievous and always went running into the dark woods as older sister, Azkadellia warned her not to do. But, being the good big sister she would follow behind to keep her little sister safe. Then, one day little DG found a cave in which an evil witch had been imprisoned in the ancient times. Unsurprisingly, that naughty little sister let the evil witch free of her prison. But the girls had their powers of magic to stay safe, see, if only they held hands and didn’t let go. But, little Dorothy couldn’t hold on because she was afraid and ran away leaving her poor older sister’s body to be taken over by the spirit of the evil witch.

And there you have it. The Wicked Witch of the West was created by Dorothy herself.

Once again evil is the fault of good. But, evil isn’t really all bad, you see? We just have to understand and everything can be set to rights. In a day when we have people blowing up children, murdering innocents, chopping off heads, and attempting the enslavement of billions of people, we are given tales where evil really ain’t so bad after all. That’s Hollywood and our entertainment for you. A total lack of morals on every level. Everything is relative and evil is really our fault in the first place. So, let’s excuse evil and place the blame on the good.

But remember this axiom, one Hollywood just cannot seem to “get”:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men sit back and do nothing”

In Hollywood’s empty moralizing, good men must “understand” evil and must explain away evil as the fault of their own actions. And, in that vision, evil will eventually realize that they should just turn good again, presumably just because they suddenly realized the errors of their ways. This is a reflection of the nihilistic claims of the left. The same people who said we just had to “understand” the Soviets as they killed millions every year are the same people who attacked Reagan for wanting to win the struggle against the U.S.S.R. They are the same people who turn a blind eye to the oppression of the Chinese and who want to pretend that WE are the ones causing radical Islamists to take up terrorism today. Theirs is a dangerous ideology based on wishful thinking, on that is self-destructive to say the least.

Let us hope that entertainment gets its soul back. It will be nice someday when we return to tales were evil can be evil again, won’t it?

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