Back in 2007, before one of the stupidest re-brandings in all of television history, the appropriately-named Sci Fi Channel aired Tin Man, a 6-hour miniseries directed by Nick Willing. The first night of the dark, modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz starring Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming became the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, and overall the show was the top rated cable miniseries for the year. Now, the ridiculously renamed Syfy has announced that Willing’s “re-imagined spin” on Alice in Wonderland will premiere December 6th, just three short months before Tim Burton’s version hits movie theaters. The 4-hour Alice will air over two nights and star Caterina Scorsone as Alice, Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts, Tim Curry as Dodo, and Matt Frewer as the White Knight. Syfy’s press release describes the plot as “…the modern-day story of Alice Hamilton, a fiercely independent twenty-something who suddenly finds herself on the other side of a looking glass. She is a stranger in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of a deliciously devilish Queen who's not very happy about Alice's arrival.”
I quite enjoyed Tin Man, though that had more to do with my undying love for Zooey Deschanel and Alan Cumming than anything else. I also think I enjoyed the idea of it more than the actual execution – the plot was a rather ingenious retelling of the Dorothy/Oz mythos, but it seemed to get a little too big for itself and started to fall apart about halfway through. Hopefully, the shorter running time of Alice will help avoid that. Additionally, Willing is serving as both writer and director this time, whereas he only directed Tin Man and the writing duties were split between three different people. But check out this promo and see for yourself whether your appetite is whetted:
Yeah… I’m pretty sure I’ll be tuning in to this one – because if anything, it looks like Kathy Bates is bringing a little of Misery’s Annie Wilkes to the table, and who wouldn’t love to see that?
Coincidentally, this isn’t Willing’s first go at Lewis Carroll’s world – he also directed the 1999 made-for-TV version starring Whoopi Goldberg, Miranda Richardson, and Martin Short.