Tag Archives: SyFy

Why I Love Tin Man

SyFy, at times, has released some of my favorite mini series. One of them – Tin Man – stars Zoey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, and Neal McDonough. Recently, I rewatched the whole mini series in a weekend and it just reminded me of how much I love this show.

Now some call it a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, but that is not entirely accurate. It is looking at a world that we know, but in a different time. The characters are fantastic and part of what I love about the story is it is not about finding love, not even inadvertently. It follows the original Wizard of Oz because it is about finding out what home means. (Spoilers for Tin Man after the jump.)

Not a Love Story

So something I appreciate so much about this story is that it is not a love story. I feel like so many times Hollywood decides that there has to be some sort of love interest in the story when there doesn’t have to be. This story never even hints at a love interest – there are too many other wonderful, mystical things happening. The focus is both on the family we have through blood and the family we create for ourselves. The connections that we show in stories do not have to be a romantic one.

Similar to the original Wizard of Oz, DG gets dropped into Oz and through a variety of events is eventually traveling around with the scarecrow (Glitch), the Tin Man, and the cowardly lion. They are an unlikely group of traveling companions, but they learn to trust each other without having to fall in love.

Two Powerful Sisters

I absolutely love that the emotional resonance of this story for me is the story of the two sisters, DG and Azkadellia. At first it seems that it is two sisters battling each other, where it is the good sister and the bad sister. As the story progresses we get to see that it is more complicated than that.

We soon learn that the older sister, Azkadellia actually ended up possessed by the original Wicked Witch of the West partly because DG got too scared and abandoned her. This leads to an interesting point where at first DG feels like she has to defeat the evil ruler, but then discovers that it is actually her sister, which initially complicates matter. Then she ultimately discovers that it was kind of her fault because she abandoned her sister in a moment of danger out of fear. It was a turning point that lead to the situation that they are in. Ultimately DG would risk everything to save her sister, which is a position that I think many siblings can connect with.

Everything I Want in Oz

The other piece that is just amazing is simply the new Oz that they build. We get to see Oz as we have never seen it before, which is sort of down and dirty. It is a darker side of Oz than we have necessarily seen. We get to see the city life, the fantastical creatures and locations. It is a darker side because under the rule of Azkadellia (under control of the witch) it is not a happy place. Places that were once beautiful have been destroyed, and part of the journey is DG discovering that she has the power to restore what was once destroyed. The graphics at time are not always the best, but the concepts definitely make up for some of what is lacking.


In the end the story stills follows some typical elements of the light versus the dark, but I still appreciate so much a fairly original storyline even in a place like Oz that I know. Yes, there is a need for new locations and new stories, but it is also so interesting to revisit a place that we love and make it magical again.

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Book Review – Childhood’s End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End CoverRecommended to me a few years ago during, of all things, a job interview, I recently finished reading Childhood’s End (1953) by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. In the same set of recommendations as A Case of Conscience, the book that got my whole Science Fiction and Religion series going. As this might be considered the formal end to that series, maybe it’s fitting.

One of the most interesting things, in my edition at least, is the introduction by the author written in 2000. An interesting year for Clarke, given that his great saga began in 2001… Anyway, he focuses on two interesting things in the introduction. One is that he felt like the movie Independence Day owed a lot to him, and his opening chapter. An alien invasion arrives, and pulls into the sky over all the major cities of the world all at once, trailing their reentry burn. I think that Clarke might have had a better mental image than what he put on the page… because I wasn’t seeing the similarity other than the base concept.

The second was that he was apologetic about the plot content of the story… but didn’t feel that it overpowered the book. That’s probably true, but we can get to that… The story ends up, however, in a very supernatural place, as an explanation of why the invading aliens end up not aggressive, but peaceful. That leads me to the story, so let’s start there!

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Book Review – Childhood’s End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End CoverRecommended to me a few years ago during, of all things, a job interview, I recently finished reading Childhood’s End (1953) by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. In the same set of recommendations as A Case of Conscience, the book that got my whole Science Fiction and Religion series going. As this might be considered the formal end to that series, maybe it’s fitting.

One of the most interesting things, in my edition at least, is the introduction by the author written in 2000. An interesting year for Clarke, given that his great saga began in 2001… Anyway, he focuses on two interesting things in the introduction. One is that he felt like the movie Independence Day owed a lot to him, and his opening chapter. An alien invasion arrives, and pulls into the sky over all the major cities of the world all at once, trailing their reentry burn. I think that Clarke might have had a better mental image than what he put on the page… because I wasn’t seeing the similarity other than the base concept.

The second was that he was apologetic about the plot content of the story… but didn’t feel that it overpowered the book. That’s probably true, but we can get to that… The story ends up, however, in a very supernatural place, as an explanation of why the invading aliens end up not aggressive, but peaceful. That leads me to the story, so let’s start there!

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Let’s “Eureka-ize” Our Education System

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If you’re anything like me, you watch shows like Eureka on the Syfy channel and Big Bang Theory on NBC and think – some of this stuff is way over my head. Particle physics, string theory, artificial intelligence… those things are for geniuses, which definitely excludes me. But watching a recent Ted Talk made me think maybe we don’t give ourselves and our kids enough credit. Maybe a place like Eureka could actually exist if we let it.

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