Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Review: "Ghostwriter: Ghost of Oz"

I was very happy when I got an iPad a while ago, as it included a subscription to AppleTV+. They have all kinds of great shows, and I was looking to dive in. When my initial complimentary subscription ran out, I decided to pay the modest monthly fee to keep it going. But alas, they recently raised it to a price I couldn't justify, particularly as I'd already watched just about everything I wanted to watch. However, one last show I made sure to watch before it ended was the first three episodes of the third season of the reboot of Ghostwriter. For a show about literacy and literature, it sure took the franchise a long time to finally get to The Wizard of Oz in these episodes! "The Ghost of Oz" introduces a new ghostwriter and group of New York kids for it to work with, all based around a bookstore. The book is not the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, however, but a modern adaptation. This allows for one of the characters to be the Tin Girl, and to flesh out the character of the Wicked Witch of the West by making her a former friend of the Tin Girl, and responsible for her becoming tin. The Scarecrow and the Cowardly Liotn are much closer to their original characterizations, however. They even used CGI to create a proper four-legged lion instead of a two-legged actor.

The storyline has our new ghostwriter summoning the Scarecrow, Tin Girl, and Cowardly Lion from a modern rewrite of The Wizard of Oz to enlist the help of Charli, Nia, and Samir. The season-long mystery involves an Egyption scroll that Charli's mother is in charge of returning to Egypt. (SPOILER ALERT: This story ends with the revelation that it's a forgery! But there are five more story arcs this season to find out what's going on, if you are so inclined.) The first step the ghostwriter takes to solve the mystery is releasing the Scarecrow, the Tin Girl, and the Cowardly Lion. Naturally, only Charli, Nia, and Samir can see them, but they still have to figure out where to put them, how to explain where they are, and so on. Highjinks ensue! The Oz characters are seeking their brain, heart, and courage, so the kids try to help them find them in New York, and even try to fool them in the same way the Wizard does in the book. It all culminates in a confrontation between the former friends, Tin Girl and the Wicked Witch of the West, at a swimming pool (let's face it, a place that's not good for either of them), where they work through their differences, the witch sees the error of her ways and reforms and turns the Tin Girl back into her nermal self. (Yeah, I said it was a modern-day adaptation of the story.)

Overall, I enjoyed this, mostly for the fish out of water aspect of Dorothy's three friends trying to navigate modern-day New York City. The revisions didn't bother me much, but I know some Oz fans who would have a harder time with this than I would. So, if you're in the mood, you can check out the first episode [https://tv.apple.com/us/episode/ghost-of-oz-part-1/umc.cmc.54j71n3l7g9uwbs85m954oemy right here]. Apple will even let you join for one week for free, so if this is all you're interested in, you can easily catch it.

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