Curiouser and curiouser...
"Does this look like a kid's story to you?"
The team that brought you Tin Man
, a loose reimagining
of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, takes on Alice in Wonderland
, saturated with Darker and Edgier
and Rule of Cool
. When martial arts instructor Alice Hamilton (Caterina Scorsone
) sees her boyfriend, Jack Chase, being taken away by some mysterious men in a white van, she chases one of them Through the Looking-Glass
... and into a Crapsack World
. Guided by Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts
) and The White Knight (Matt Frewer
), Alice goes looking for Jack, but discovers that things aren't all that wonderful in Wonderland.
This series was a mini-series broadcast in December, 2009. It is not to be confused with the CBS Work Com starring Linda Lavin.
The director has recently done Neverland
This series contains examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: The Queen, more or less. When stripped of her Casino, no one displays any loyalty towards her.
- Action Girl: Alice is a martial arts instructor and kicks a fair amount of ass on her own.
- Actor Allusion: When first introduced to the robotic Mad March, the King of Hearts asks, "Does he have a user manual? I hate user manuals." Which is only funny coming from Miles O'Brien.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: The Duchess. So very much.
- Adaptational Badass: Hatter, Dodo, the Knave of Hearts, the March Hare. Hell, even the gun-toting Duck and Owl are more badass than their literary counterparts.
- Adaptation Decay: Lampshaded and subverted, as it openly regards the original as history from which everything has descended to Crapsack World levels.
- Adult Fear: Wonderland exists! And the people who live there can make you forget your family and work for them, or simply drug you and drain you of your emotions to keep the local population under their control. Another reason why this isn't a kid's story.
- Alice Allusion: Nah, really?
- Alien Lunch: Barbecued borogrove is delicious, apparently.
- Almost Kiss: Alice and Hatter in the second act.
- Ambiguous Gender: Dormie, who is played by a woman wearing a mustache. Normally, this wouldn't be ambiguous — but as we're in Wonderland...
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Looking Glass, and later the ring that Jack gives Alice.
- Ax-Crazy: Mad March, a formerly-dead Psycho for Hire with a rabbit-shaped cookie jar for a head.
- Badass Beard: As seen in the page image, Charlie sports a particularly awesome one.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Mad March may have a rabbit cookie jar for a head, but he's always impeccably dressed in a pinstripe suit.
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: The Walrus is holding a gun on Alice. Shots ring out, Alice flinches...and the camera pans over to show Hatter shooting at the Walrus.
- Bald of Evil: Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle-Dee and the Walrus.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Hatter uses this to get into the Casino to rescue Alice.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: During the course of the miniseries, Hatter is beaten, mussed, and generally looked like he went through a meat grinder. Alice... got wet a lot.
- Also, while most of the "oysters" got a marking on their faces, Alice got one on her arm.
- It also must be noted that Hatter's Guyliner never smudged, no matter what he was put through.
- Big Damn Heroes: Hatter and Charlie arriving just in the nick of time to save Alice from Doctors Dee and Dum.
- Big "NO!": Hatter, after Alice goes to the Casino on her own.
- Billing Displacement: Tim Curry has exactly ONE scene, yet was the name most often mentioned in commercials. Kathy Bates was billed alongside him, despite being the antagonist.
- Black and Grey Morality: The bad guys kidnap people from our world including children and drain them of their emotions, Mooks are sentenced to decapitation with frequency, and keep the populace in control with drugs. As for the good guys... see Well-Intentioned Extremist, and the way Hatter the con man behaved, especially before becoming committed to the Resistance.
- Brainwashed: Alice's father aka The Carpenter.
- Break the Cutie: Alice goes through hell throughout the series.
- Bulletproof Vest: Hatter has body armor that serves this function.
- Came Back Wrong: Mad March's new head is well...yeah. This was only because the Queen's impatience forced the Carpenter to take shortcuts. Though it's only physical. Mentally the Mad March is just as he's always been.
- Chair Reveal: How Hatter is introduced.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: In Alice's Dream Sequence, her cat Dinah does this before teleporting away. Strangely enough, this is the only time in the series where the Cheshire Cat is alluded to.
- Chess Motifs: The architecture White Knight's kingdom resembles giant chess pieces.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Hatter flirts like crazy and is obviously attracted to Alice. When it comes time for sleeping arrangements, Charlie gets a hammock, Alice gets the bed... and Hatter sleeps propped up against the wall.
- Cliffhanger: Part 1 has a nearly literal one.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Charlie, the last of the White Knights, lives in a forest castle with giant chess pieces and the skeletons of his fallen comrades.
- Combat Pragmatist: Dodo just shoots Hatter. Luckily, Hatter has a Bulletproof Vest.
- Con Man: Hatter comes off as this.
- Con Men Hate Guns: Averted. Hatter seems to be very familiar with them.
- Correlation Causation Gag: When Charlie fires his crossbow toward the end, and thinks he blows up the Hearts Casino because the timing happens to be spot-on.
- Cowardly Lion: The White Knight, Charlie. Though he spends most of it as a Dirty Coward.
- Crapsaccharine World: Wonderland goes back and forth between Crapsack World played straight, and the beautiful Happy Hearts Casino, where "Oysters", or people from our world, are drugged and play in the casino so that they can be drained of their emotions, which are sold on the market as drugs.
- Fantastic Drug: Emotions, which can, in fact, be overdosed upon, leading to one of the few instances ever on film of Fantastic Rehab.
- Funny Background Event: Alice's mother's face during the final kiss.
- Government Drug Enforcement: Not only is this how the Queen of Hearts stays in power, but a throwaway comment suggests that it's the root of the entire economy. Also Hatter's legal employer.
- Heel-Face Turn: The Carpenter also, when he remembers that Alice is his daughter.
- Megaton Punch: Hatter is capable of one. He misses punching Dodo once and it cracks a pillar.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Yeah. The dead Winston King of Hearts, Carpenter/Robert Hamilton, Walrus, and potentially Agent White are all men.
- Admittedly, there were not a great many female roles at the forefront of the show aside from Alice and the Queen. Duchess could have theoretically qualified for expendable because Redemption Equals Death but it was averted in her case. Probably just as well. Somebody had to rescue Jack.
- Mind Screw: The Truth Room. Also the size-changing box that Alice gets trapped in near the beginning, when it is somehow over the ocean.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctors Dee and Dum.
- Mr. Fanservice: Hatter.
- Ms. Fanservice: The Duchess.
- Mythology Gag: Where to start?
- When giving the password to the Great Library, Hatter says that he's returning a book by Edwin and Morcar. They are both historical figures mentioned by the Dodo in his lecture about William the Conqueror in the novel.
- When the Tweedles give Alice a desk to write on, it has a pair of white gloves and a fan on it. In the novel, Alice found these things on the White Rabbit's desk.
- Hatter introduces himself and Charlie as Robinson and Duckworth. Robinson Duckworth was part of the boating expedition where Carroll first told the tale.
- Possibly doubling as a Visual Pun, the last shot of the series is Alice, Hatter, and Carol seen through a looking glass.
- Narnia Time: Wonderland seems to run on this.
- Nice Hat: Guess.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Winston plays this to the hilt around his bride. Not sure if anyone else was fooled or meant to be.
- Offing the Offspring: The Queen of Hearts sentences her son Jack Heart to death after she discovers his ties to the Resistance.
- Off with His Head!: The Queen's Catch Phrase, of course. Implicitly the fate of Agent White.
- Older Sidekick: Charlie.
- Perma Stubble: Hatter.
- Power of Love: Winston's entire motivation; he claims he would have conquered the world so the queen would give him just one smile. And they never tell us how big Wonderland is, so maybe he did.
- Also is what leads the Hatter through the Looking Glass, and a number of smaller instances.
- And The Carpenter's Heel-Face Turn, but that was more paternal love.
- Power of Trust: Hatter talks about trust so frequently one might be forgiven the misconception that he's a rogue Handler who wandered over from the Dollhouse.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Hatter. It works well here, but is so darn odd when one recalls the original characters of the source material.
- Although, if you're working primarily off the new movie, it might not seem so odd.
- Perhaps, but it aired about three months before the new movie came out.
- Rebellious Prince: Jack, quite literally, who also doubles as a Runaway Fiancé from an Arranged Marriage. He fits better as a Gender Flip of Rebellious Princess than as a Rebel Prince.
- Redemption Equals Death: Alice's father, aka The Carpenter.
- Also, possibly Winston, King of Hearts.
- Room 101: The Truth Room.
- Ring of Power: Here, a literal power source.
- Rule of Cool: Everything from the book is stylized and made to look extremely cool. Why does the aerial transport look like a blend of a Vespa and a flamingo? Rule of Cool. Why make your lackeys wear black robes with clubs on their heads? Rule of Cool.
- Sealed with a Kiss: Alice and Hatter end the series this way.
- The Silent Bob: Walrus.
- Slave Brand: People from Earth who arrive in Wonderland are marked with a special tattoo to identify them as "Oysters".
- Slobs Versus Snobs: A scaled down version in the Love Triangle between Jack (snob - cultured, stylish), and Hatter (slob - chaotic, scruffy), with Alice in the middle.
- Soft Water: Once when Alice breaks out of Scarab and falls a truly frightening distance, and once when the flying flamingo rocket scooters crash into the lake.
- Spiritual Successor: To Tin Man
- Stealth Pun: Winston, the King of Hearts is Driven to Suicide. The nickname of the card 'the king of hearts' is 'the suicide king'.
- The Oysters are barefoot and that is what connects them to the Lotus-Eater Machine. Said Machine drains their souls through their soles.
- Suddenly Voiced: The Walrus is so when he reveals he was the Carpenter's warden and tells him not to try leaving when the Carpenter remembers he's Alice's father.
- Super Strength: Though not stated outright (at least as far as I remember), Hatter can punch hard enough to leave a small crater in a wall.
- It may not be strength; there was an early throwaway line mentioning "that sledgehammer you call a hand".
- To which Hatter replies "It's just flesh and blood." Not that we're sure he's telling the truth at that point...
- During his fight with The Dodo, Hatter misses punching Dodo in the face and punches a marble pillar. Given how easy it is to break small bones in one's hand punching a person, it's fairly impressive that Hatter punched the pillar and the pillar broke.
- Survival Mantra: Hatter recites Lewis Carroll poetry to help him resist Mad March's torture.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: The 10 of Clubs. Just...ignore the hat.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Dee and Dum
- Torture Always Works: Subverted. Both Alice and Hatter are tortured during the course of the mini. Alice feeds them false information. Hatter screamed a lot.
- Interestingly, the Ten of Clubs reflexively calls Alice's false lead her 'confession', which might indicate that the Truth Room is not primarily used for getting factual information.
- Torture Technician: Doctor Dee and Doctor Dum, who do a merry little dance while poking their victim with cattle prods.
- Visual Pun: The Suits who shoot down the heroes in the flamingo dogfight? They're Aces.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Mad March is the Queen's favorite assassin. Too bad she had him decapitated, and his new head is now made of porcelain...
- Though, as noted above, with Hatter's Super Strength it really wouldn't have made a difference if his head was made of solid marble.
- That, and the porcelain head was never meant to be permanent. The Queen ordered him sent out before the new head could be finished, so the doctors slapped on what was available.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Dodo.
- Weird Currency: Residents of Wonderland used "tea" made from distilled human emotions as currency. Alice quickly learns that her money holds no value to them.
- Wings Do Nothing: The Jabberwock has a set of purely-decorative reptilian wings.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dodo actually does, but Hatter is prepared.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Alice is severely afraid of heights. Most of Wonderland is several stories above ground without any form of barrier.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Alice was ten when her father left, and it has been ten years since; naturally, this makes her twenty-three.
- You Are Number Six: The Queen of Hearts' Suits are all referred to by their numbers.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Dodo, about Hatter, after he shoots him. Thankfully, it doesn't take.
- You Must Be Cold: Early on, Hatter gives a soaked Alice one of his coats to ward off the chill. It also covers up her magical tattoo that marks her as an Oyster.
- Your Cheating Heart: Jack Heart is engaged to Duchess the entire time he and Alice are dating.
- Your Universe or Mine?: Alice's.