If you’ve seen “The Wizard of Oz” — and who hasn’t? — then you only know a fraction of L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” mythology (which spawned 13 sequel books).
“These stories are there and ripe for retelling,” says “Emerald City” executive producer David Schulner, who took over the NBC series with fellow executive producer Shaun Cassidy after Josh Friedman, who originally developed the show, departed.
“My only experience when I came to Josh’s script was seeing the movie,” he recently told IndieWire’s Liz Shannon Miller. “When you read the books it’s clearly written for kids, but its like the Pixar movies,” he says, noting there’s plenty for adults to latch on to as well. “The books are filled with feminist theory and anti-capitalism. In the second book, all the girls of Oz band together and march on Emerald City because they’re sick to death about being ruled by men.”
It took NBC time to figure out how to crack “Emerald City,” but the addition of Tarsem, who directed all 10 episodes, gave the show its epic look.
“Tarsem did the math on this,” Cassidy said. “NBC did give us a lot of money. But where it might have looked like $100 million, because of Tarsem’s ability to manage it and never return to a location, we got a $300 million look. That was a huge gift.”
This edition of IndieWire’s TURN IT ON features Liz’s chat with Cassidy and Schulner about the show, which airs Fridays on NBC. Also in this episode: IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers discusses Netflix’s new take on “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now in TV – no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. Each episode features interviews with producers, reviews, essays on the latest buzz and trends, plus a roundup of what’s premiering and what’s returning over the coming week. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.