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Series / Tin Man

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Without heart, you're nothing.

"Oh come on, tin man, have a heart!"

Tin Man was a miniseries that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel from December 2 through December 4, 2007. Primarily a dystopian re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, it's a bit closer to Return to Oz in that it uses many elements from other books in the Land of Oz series as plot points.

DG is a rebel teen about to break loose played by Zooey Deschanel. The Scarecrow is a lobotomized ex-genius played by Alan Cumming. The Tin Man himself is a disheartened ex-policeman played by Neal McDonough, and the Cowardly Lion is a psychic Cat-Man. The flying monkeys are tattoos on the Wicked Witch's cleavage that come to life, the Poppy Field is actually the hunting ground of fearsome plant-animal things, and Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are not quite normal Muggles. Finally, the Wicked Witch is Azkadellia, a powerful and dangerous tyrant and witch.

As for the rest, Toto is a were-terrier who tutored DG and her sister in magic. The Wizard is split across two characters, one of whom is DG's real father, and the other of whom is a showman/oracle addicted to happiness-inducing vapors. And that's not even all of the surprises!

It's The Wizard of Oz saturated with Rule of Cool and Darker and Edgier.

It was followed by two Spiritual Successors, Alice in 2009 and Neverland in 2011.

The series now has a Shout Out page.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • The Scarecrow and Tin Man analogues, Glitch and Cain, are humans rather than sentient beings made of straw and tin.note 
    • Downplayed with the Auntie Em and Uncle Henry analogues, Emily and Hank, as they are actually humanoid robots.
    • Raw (Cowardly Lion) is also a downplayed example as he’s a half human, half lion hybrid.
    • Tutor (Toto) is a zig zaged example as his true form is a human but can morph into a small into a dog like his original counterpart.
  • Aerith and Bob: Sisters Azkadellia and...Dorothy Gale?
  • Affectionate Nickname: In the flashbacks to DG and Azkadellia's happy childhood, Azkadellia was nicknamed 'Az' by her sister and mother.
  • And I Must Scream: The iron suit.
    • Probably Azkadellia, depending on how aware she was.
  • Animated Tattoo: The flying monkeys are tattoos on Azkadellia's chest when she's not using them.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Toto" isn't actually the man's name—he just got stuck with it because little DG couldn't pronounce "tutor".
  • Badass Longcoat: Played straight and subverted. Cain and Glitch are both actual Badass Longcoats. But, the Witch's henchmen are actually called Longcoats, since that's what they wear. Tight, leather longcoats.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. The witch manages to bring about the permanent night (and even says "I won"), but the heroes manage to kill her and undo it anyway.
  • Binary Suns: The first "not in Kansas anymore" moment for DG comes when she spots two suns next to each other in the OZ sky. Their proximity to each other is a plot point — they're scheduled to both slip behind the moon at once in just a few days' time.
  • Blown Across the Room: Well, more like knocked backwards and out a window, but still...
  • Brain in a Jar: More appropriately, half a brain.
  • Broken Bird: Azkadellia shows signs of this, particularly post-witching.
  • Broken Hero: Poor Glitch.
  • Broken Record: Glitch picked up that nickname because of his habit of repeating himself uncontrollably, a symptom of having half of his brain removed.
  • Cain and Abel: Azkadellia and DG. And then subverted, as Azkadellia is actually possessed.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": "Tin Man" is the Outer Zone's term for police officers, presumably because police badges have historically been made of tin.
  • The Cameo: Dorothy Gale.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The first thing Glitch says to Cain in part one: "I have a proper name, and when I remember it I will tell you." The first thing he says to Cain after he's reunited with his brain in part three? "My name isn't Glitch. It's Ambrose."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The toy horse, the princess nursery rhyme, and Cain's straight razor.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Glitch
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Amusing subversion when Jeb captures Zero and prepares to interrogate him. Jeb gets behind Zero and takes hold of his fingers. The next thing we hear is some ominous metallic clinking. Zero can't see what's happening and starts to panic. Just when Zero is on the verge of crying like a little girl, Jeb reveals that he's been clinking together a pair of spoons.
  • Convenient Eclipse: The eclipse is what's going to allow Azkadellia to cast her spell.
  • Cowardly Lion: Raw. Duh.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Glitch knows kung fu. Justified in that half his brain is missing.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series is a D&E version of ... well, The Wizard of Oz. Namely the tropes of the original characters are played much darker here; the Scarecrow analogue has had his brains removed, the Tin Man analogue was locked inside an iron maiden etc. Turns out its actually a distant sequel to the original story
  • Decomposite Character: The Wizard's role is split between the Mystic Man(former ruler of Central City, visited by the protagonists for help, referred to as "the Great and Powerful") and D.G's father Ahamo( who arrived from the outside world in a balloon and became king)
  • Demonic Possession: Azkadellia's not the Big Bad because she wants to be.
  • Doomsday Device: Azkadellia plans on using a device intended to extend the growing seasons in reverse, in order to halt suns behind the moon during an eclipse, casting the world in darkness and allowing the spirit of the Wicked Witch to have full power.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Or into the magical tornado, as it were.
  • The Dragon: Zero to Azkadellia.
  • Dull Surprise: DG's blase, disaffected manner would make Daria proud.
    • May actually be a bit of Fridge Brilliance there. She reacts so casually to all the weirdness going on because of her subconscious recollection of her childhood in the OZ.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It doesn't look like The witch is going to be defeated until the last five minutes.
  • Eldritch Abomination: While one would assume that the witch possessing Azkadellia was the original Wicked Witch, the "Ancient writing" in the cave and her title as "Witch of the Dark" would somewhat imply this.
  • Electric Torture: Azkadellia's minions sometimes use electric shocks to get information out of people.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Once Azkadellia is free from the witch's possession, she and DG use their magic to defeat her.
  • Empathic Healer: Raw, in spades.
  • Enemy Within: Azkadellia has the spirit of the ancient Witch of the Dark inside her, influencing most of her actions.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Azkadellia seems to genuinely care for her flying monkeys, particularly Xora. She is devastated when Xora is killed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Azkadellia seems to, which is probably all the influence she can exert on the witch's actions. She stops Zero from torturing D.G. for information because she wants to first try gently coercing it out of her. When that fails, she lets Zero have his way.
    Zero: We can pry those numbers out of her.
    Azkadellia: Zero, she's my sister.
  • Evil Feels Good: Take a close look at Azkadellia's physical reaction right after taking a life with her magic. After killing the Mystic Man, she even takes the hand of a guard to steady herself.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Azkadellia wasn't always The Caligula she is today.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Being possessed, brainwashed and presumably mind raped by the Witch of the Dark is what turned Azkadellia into the villain.
  • Faking the Dead: Azkadellia did kill DG while she was possessed by the Witch. Their mother was able to revive DG and sent her away to hide this from Azkadellia.
  • Famous Ancestor: In an homage type of way — DG is named for her ancestor, Dorothy Gale.
  • Fanservice: Whenever Azkadellia releases the Mobats, there is a closeup of her cleavage.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Wicked Witches? Check. Demonic possession? Check. Magical eclipses? Check. Cyberpunk tools and gadgets? Check.
  • Fighting from the Inside: There are a couple of instances where you can see the original Azkadellia coming through, before being suppressed by the Wicked Witch personality.
  • First-Episode Twist: Well there are only three episodes, but the first ends with the major revelation that Azkadellia is actually DG's sister.
  • Forced to Watch: Eight years in a magically-charged coffin, with his family's torture on repeat playback for company. Heroic Willpower is the only explanation Cain is anything resembling sane.
  • Foreshadowing: In the build up to the arrival of the tornado, the Gales' scarecrow loses his head, a heart-shaped house sign rattles about, and a cat runs off in terror.
  • Fortune Teller: The Mystic Man functions as this.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Averted. TDESPHT-what?
    • Also Played Straight with the fantasyland's name. It's called the "O.Z." because it's short for "Outer Zone"—which is where the name "Oz" comes from.
  • Gambit Roulette: The Queen's and Ahamo's scheme. The Queen essentially fakes DG's death, then "banishes" her beloved, Earthling husband so that the Witch won't think to look for him in the OZ. Then, run like hell under the cover of night, block DG's memories with a limited-duration spell that would wear off at early adulthood, and send the little Princess off with the Muggle Foster Parents, who have codewords and clues programmed into them, so that she could find a few scattered allies (Father Vu, The Mystic Man, and Ahamo) and messages (the Ice Palace, Finaqua), then find her and/or Ahamo. Where her plot seemed to hit a snag was that she likely planned on being able to hold out against The Witch until DG came back.
  • Gentle Giant: Raw.
  • The Good Chancellor: Ambrose, Royal adviser to the Queen and loyal to the end.
  • High Collar of Doom: Azkadellia's outfits almost all sport some variation of this.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The conclusion reveals that Princess Azkadellia is actually a descendent of Dorothy Gale who was possessed by the spirit of the original Wicked Witch as a child. D.G. (who's actually Azkadellia's sister) frees her from the Witch's influence in the last episode's final act, and she reverts to her original personality.
  • Hollywood Genetics: While both her father and mother have blue (and purple) eyes, the actress cast for young Azkadellia has brown eyes, which is genetically impossible.
    • There is a fan theory that brown-eyed Glitch/Ambrose is DG and Azkadellia's father. Or that Ambrose is Az's father and Ahamo is D.G.'s father, particularly those who are influenced by Wicked, where a similar threesome was part of the book's plot.
  • Hope Spot: DG manages to guide a rat to the control wheel for the cell doors using bits of her food, but it opens the wrong door...
  • Hot Witch:
    • Azkadellia. Yes.
    • Averted with the actual witch.
  • Identity Amnesia: Glitch. Although occasionally his memory seems to come and go whenever convenient for the plot, to the point where it's not certain how much he actually needs his brain to know stuff.
  • Idiot Ball: The Queen
    • Young Azkadellia strangled DG right there in her room, and the Queen saw her walking out! Instead of wasting all that time hiding DG after bringing her back to life, she could've just have apprehended the young Azkadellia right then and there and prevented this whole mess from ever happening.
    • Why did the Queen send DG on a quest for the Emerald, effectively leading Azkadellia straight to it? She COULD have kept its location secret until the eclipse was over. Azkadellia's plans would have been foiled, and she never would have been a threat in the first place.
  • I Have No Son!: The Queen tells Azkadellia "You're not my daughter." Subverted, in that this is actually a case of That Thing Is Not My Child! as she's really addressing the witch possessing her daughter.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: DG to Azkadellia.
  • Improvised Weapon: A log that Cain, Glitch, Raw, and three other guys are chained to.
  • I'm Melting!: Well, yes. Once Azkadellia is free from the wicked witch's possession, she dies this way.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Azkadellia puts D.G. in a hologram of her Kansas home with the people who raised D.G. to try and get information out of her by making her think it was all a dream. The slip up is when the father asked about the Queen whispering in her ear, which isn't something D.G. said happened.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: DG and the guys. Cain and Glitch were both professionals during the reign of DG's mother.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Cain's grudge against Azkadellia is mostly abstract, but Zero? Yeah, Zero betrayed the Tin Man, tortured Cain's family and locked him in that metal suit for years. Zero is the one Cain wants dead. In the end, he gives Zero a Cruel Mercy by locking him in a Tin Suit and leaving him to rot.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Hey, given the crap Cain's been through, he'll wear that sour armor like his Badass Longcoat!
  • La Résistance: There are still factions fighting against Azkadellia, including Munchkins in Tribal Face Paint.
  • Last Request: Mystic Man to Cain, "You will not leave her side at any cost! You understand?"
  • Left for Dead: Yes, Zero, you shot Cain and he fell out a window into a freezing lake. You still should have checked the body.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: So much time has passed between the original story and the present that Dorothy is now believed to have been the first to travel from the outside world and the Wizard/Oscar Diggs is forgotten
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Glitch and Cain. So very much.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Raw and the other Viewers.
  • The Little Detecto: Ahamo gives DG a device that runs on her magic to find the Emerald of the Eclipse.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Lavender Eyes's hair turned from black to grey after she revived DG after Azkadellia tried to kill her with her magic.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: An illusion of DG's home; it's a trap to make her reveal secrets.
  • Manly Tears: Cain.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service : Azkadellia has spent years unsuccessfully searching for the Emerald of the Eclipse, which she needs to bring her plan to plunge the O.Z. into eternal darkness to fruition. Enter DG and friends, who decide that they have to find the Emerald to stop her. Not one of them suggests that they can foil Azkadellia's plot by just sitting down and twiddling their thumbs until the eclipse has passed.
  • Mathematician's Answer: The Mystic Man's "Or-Not" theory is this and a means of passing on information by stating, "You should go north. Or not."
  • Mind Probe: The Witch's favorite method of info gathering.
  • Mistaken for Spies: DG gets in trouble this way when she first shows up in the O.Z.
  • Mobile Kiosk: Demilo's ungodly tacky whorehouse-on-wheels.
  • The Mole: It's Toto, reluctantly.
  • More Despicable Minion: While Azkadellia has standards even as she tries to conquer the O.Z. and tries to fight back while possessed, her main henchman, Zero, is a sadist who revels in the pain he caused Cain and his family, forcing him to watch his torture and murder of them on a loop for eight years.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Subverted with DG's aunt and uncle, who turn out to be robots planted to pose as these.
  • Must Make Amends: DG is already motivated to take down her evil sister, but then sees a vision in a cave revealing that, as a small child, she accidentally freed the witch possessing Azkadellia; and then abandoned Azkadellia to be possessed by said witch.
  • Mythology Gag: The series is loaded with them. Many references to the 1939 movie, several to Wicked, and too many to count for classic books. Justified Trope with the books, as it uses a few continuity elements from Baum's Oz in the Backstory:
    • D.G. calls her robotic dad "Popsicle" in one scene, just as Galinda does in the musical version of Wicked.
    • D.G complains about an police officer named Elmer Gulch, presumably a relative of Elmira Gulch.
    • The policemen of Central City are known as Tin Men because of their badges. In-Universe. its possible the badges were a tribute to the original Tin Man.
    • The backstory that Dorothy moved to Oz for keeps (the 6th book). DG's story is a hybrid of Dorothy's and Tip/Ozma's (sans the genderbender angle).
    • They gave Glitch the exact same job the original Scarecrow took up in the 14th book. The Witch is closer to Greg Maguire's depiction of Kumbricia, Mother of Witches, than she is to the "classic" Wicked Witches.
    • The depiction of Central City is also straight out of Maguire. The original Wizard was from Omaha, which is a clue to Ahamo's identity.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Azkadellia hadn't sent her mooks back to Earth, D.G. would never have been able to get to the OZ and stop her schemes.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Azkadellia's scheme hinges on making the double solar eclipse permanent.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite being titled 'Tin Man', the character who parallels him (Wyatt Cain) is a secondary one; while he does play an important role, ultimately the show is very much D.G.'s story. This is a holdover from an early idea where he would have been the main protagonist; the makers just couldn't think of a better title when their idea changed.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: The Mystic Man, before he is captured, and killed later.
  • Of Corsets Painful: That one bald scientist guy.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Most of Azkadellia's outfits.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Azkadellia's master plan is to destroy the sun over the planet that she already rules, leading one to ask why? Unless she hates being the ruler of such a Wretched Hive, or maybe she just wants complete revenge on all life, we'll never know. Her plan comes down to destroying all that she owns. Though remember that she's not exactly steering her own ship. The entity possessing her is The Witch of the Dark, and causing The Night That Never Ends would presumably be its ideal environment. Whether killing every other living thing in the O.Z. was a secondary goal or merely a bi-product isn't clear.
  • Parental Abandonment:
  • Pimped-Out Car: Demilo's wagon, in all its horrible tacky glory.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Most of Azkadellia's wardrobe. She even has a pimped out nightie.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: How stupid, forgetful, and naive Glitch is relies solely on Rule of Funny and moving the plot further. At times he seems to remember a surprising amount of the past, including his own. He is missing half his brain, so it's probably justified.
  • Pocket Protector: Cain survives a bullet to the chest because it hit his son's toy horse.
  • Power of Love: Sisterly love is what allows the princesses to draw on their light magic.
  • Precision F-Strike: A rather magnificent one, combined with Mythology Gag.
    Azkadellia: My Gods. The little bitch has gone to see the wizard.
  • Properly Paranoid: Cain turns out to be completely right to not trust Toto.
  • Primal Fear: Being trapped in a marble coffin.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A slight Western example. As kids, DG was your typical, kinda impulsive child, while Azkadellia was a more mature voice of reason. They even wore red and blue dresses, respectively.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: DG discovers that her own death was faked after her sister tried to murder her.
  • Reverse Polarity: "Commence the reverse pulsing!"
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Cain's weapon of choice, even with the magitek used by Longcoats as an option.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: General Lonot betrayed the queen in the backstory and is killed by Azkadellia in the beginning.
  • Science Fantasy: The series has a lot of cyber punk elements blended with actual magic. The idea is that the land of Oz evolved from the straight-up fantasy land Dorothy arrived in - to a modern blend of magic and technology.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: DG's dad is named Ahamo. The original Wizard was from Omaha.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Witch of the Dark, an ancient evil crone sealed away by ancient forces of good.
  • Spy Speak/Trust Password: Used by Cain with other Resistance members.
  • The Stoic: Cain.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Azkadellia keeps her mother imprisoned on a tiny sandbar island on a river bed ... inside a snow globe. This also makes her Sealed Good in a Can.
  • Techno Babble: Glitch, if he can remember.
  • Tin Man: Cain again, of course.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: A rare double eclipse (both suns behind the moon at once) is soon to happen in-story. Yep, it is very important — Azkadellia wants to make it permanent.
  • Tracking Device: As The Mole, Toto drops small magic discs along their path of travel that act as cameras for Azkadellia's viewing tank.
  • Tragic Monster: Played with. After the reveal, you'll feel really sorry for Azkadellia; and hate the witch that much more.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The Munchkins' entire bald heads are painted in bright colors.
  • The Un-Favorite: Avoided. It's the Demonic Possession of the original Wicked Witch that made Azkadellia feel neglected and hate DG. So much so that she had her mother imprisoned, her father made a hunted man, and DG's robot parents reprogrammed to love her instead.
  • Unobtainium: Or to be more specific, Moritanium (big M, little t, number 216 on the OZian periodic table), which besides its strength can be used to conduct magical energy.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Toto goes from terrier to large man and back at will.
  • Worth Living For: Cain, guarding DG.
  • You Have Failed Me: And so you will get the life sucked out of you.