Warner Horizon is working on a dark serialized adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
Red Brick Road is a story of politics and intrigue set in the fantasy world created by Frank L. Baum for his Oz series of books – all of his books, and thus the setting itself, are in the public domain, so there is no conflict with Disney or any others who have made Oz stories in the past – think of it like Game of Thrones: Oz Edition.
At least that’s how it’s being hyped by Warner Horizon, the television studio, under Warner Bros. which creates television content for non-Warner Bros. networks. The studio is hoping to sell the show to one of the non-regulated premium cable networks, like HBO, Starz, or Cinemax.
The show was created by concept artist Rob Prior, based on a series of illustrations he’s done, depicting the Wizard of Oz characters as a darker version of themselves. The two illustrations released publically are a ‘Witch Assassin’ and a ‘Tin Man’, which seem sort of technopunk in style, giving us an idea of his vision for the show.
Not much is known about the plot, except that it is set sometime after the events of the first book. And will involve politics and intrigue. Also it will be “dark” and “edgy”, which I’m not sure actually means anything anymore. The title could be some hint, but I doubt it. In the original stories, the four countries of Oz each had a main road that wound through their lands toward the capitol city, where they intersected.
Each road was a different color, to aid travelers who were headed out to a specific country from Emerald City. The road through Gillikin Country is purple, through Munchin Country is blue, through Winkie Country is yellow, and through Quadling Country is red – thus, if the original film was following the source material properly, the road Dorothy followed from Munchkinland to the capitol would have been blue, not yellow, but I guess that wouldn’t have made for a good song.
As I said though, I doubt that means that the story will focus on events in Quadling Country. More likely it’s just a play on the Yellow Brick Road image, which is so strongly associated with the stories – as red is a more malevolent color compared to yellow. The title might not even remain through development.
A few names are already associated with the project beyond Prior. Mark Wolper, Roy Lee, and Adrian Askarieh have already signed on as exec. producers and John Middelston and Jeff Krelitz will co-exec. produce.
Warner Horizon’s current projects include Pretty Little Liars, Rizzoli & Isles, and Dallas.
Red Brick Road has no announced premiere date, but I wouldn’t expect a pilot until Fall 2014 at the earliest, if it even gets picked up.