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Series / Alice (2009)

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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 in Carroll's novel was a veritable Gonk with grotesque features and an over-large head. Here, she's a blonde bombshell rocking Stripperiffic attire.
    • Hatter is played by a conventionally attractive actor; the original had a bulbous head and caricatured features.
  • Adaptation Decay: Lampshaded and subverted, as it openly regards the original as history from which everything has descended to Crapsack World levels.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the novel, the March Hare is the Hatter's friend and was never more hostile than telling Alice that there was no room at their table. Here, "Mad March" is a homicidal maniac serving the Queen.
  • Aerith and Bob: Wonderland, featuring names such as Winston, Jack, and Charles alongside Hatter, Ten of Clubs, and Mad March.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Dormie, who is played by a woman wearing a mustache. Normally, this wouldn't be ambiguous — but as we're in Wonderland...
  • Ax-Crazy: Mad March, a formerly-dead Psycho for Hire with a rabbit-shaped cookie jar for a head.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jack is the rich, smooth Veronica to Hatter's scruffier, warmer Betty; Alice is the Archie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Eventually, everyone in Wonderland rebels against the Queen of Hearts, after years of being threatened with execution or torture at the drop of a hat. Winston, the King of Hearts, doesn't do anything outright to her, but he does defy her pleas for him to evacuate the palace.
    Winston: Have I ever said no to you?
    Queen of Hearts: Stop this. Come along now.
    Winston: No.
  • Domestic Abuse: The Queen of Hearts to her King, of the emotional abuse flavor.
  • Double Agent: Hatter:
    I've lived my life playing both sides of the court. I'd make the Hearts think I was working for them, while I fed their enemies.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Hatter effing earned that hug and kiss he got in the last scene, with all that he went through for Alice. He even whispers: "Finally!" as it happens.
  • Emotion Eater: The Queen of Hearts keeps the residents of Wonderland happy and controlled by harvesting positive emotions from captive humans and selling them to the populace as "teas" through "Tea Shops", like the one Hatter owns/operates.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Queen of Hearts assumes that Jack chose Alice because she was useful to him, not because he fell in love with her.
  • Evil Matriarch: The Queen of Hearts.
  • Expospeak Gag: When sneaking into the Casino.
    Hatter: We're guardians to the mesmeric portals of the cosmos.
    Guard: What.
    Hatter: Stage hypnotists!
  • 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 Carol's face during the final kiss between Alice and Hatter. Naturally, she has no idea why Alice is suddenly passionately kissing a construction worker that as far as Carol knows, she just met.
  • 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.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: The Duchess rescues Jack when she realizes she truly loves him. Also helped by the fact the Queen had deemed her expendable.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: The Suits are named for theirs.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This is a Wonderland fandom. "she brought down the whole house of cards", "first we have to ditch that royal flush", "I'll shuffle your deck". I'm missing some, I just know it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Hatter does this multiple times because he knows Alice is in love with Jack and wants to go home.
  • Knowledge Broker: Hatter is called "The Man Who Knows" in some circles.
  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy:
    Hatter: I know some people, who know some, well, other people.
    Hatter: I know a girl, Carlotta St. Delaware, who dates this guy who used to play cards with a rich kid, who once studied law with an electrician, who works part-time with one of the technical staff.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Torpedoed by an earlier Moment Killer from the Wrong Guy First, Alice and Hatter get together in the final thirty seconds of the second act.
  • Little "No": Alice gets one of these before she decides to stay and fight to keep the Queen from continuing to steal people.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • The Casino makes sure its Oysters are happy and pleased as the Queen only wants happy emotions. And it is a bad thing to mix Good and Bad emotions indiscriminately.
    • 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.
  • Love Martyr: Winston, King of Hearts:
    I would have conquered the world just for one smile.
  • Meaningful Name: Played with:
    Hatter: Do you know why they call me Hatter?
    Alice: Because you wear a hat?
    Hatter: (Beat) No.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Speaking: 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The advertising made it seem like Tim Curry's character would be be a major character, when in reality he's only in it for less than five minutes.
  • Visual Pun: The Suits who shoot down the heroes in the flamingo dogfight? They're Aces.
  • 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.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: Barbecued borogrove is delicious, apparently.
  • Wings Do Nothing: The Jabberwock has a set of purely-decorative reptilian wings.