Forget vampires, dragons, or, yes, even mermaids: the trendiest fantasy property right now might just be The Wizard of Oz.
Hot on the heels of Disney's spring moneymaker Oz the Great and Powerful comes news that there are at least three television projects in development based on L. Frank Baum's classic series. Deadline's Nellie Andreeva reports today that NBC has bought an "Oz-themed" drama called Emerald City written by Matthew Arnold and described as Game of Thrones-esque. Earlier this month we learned that CBS is developing Dorothy, which Andreeva describes as "a medical soap based in New York City inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard of Oz." Syfy, meanwhile, is working on a miniseries called Warriors of Oz, which involves a warrior from Earth in the present who gets sent to a dystopian Oz and must fight the Wizard aongside the warriors named "Heartless, Brainless, and Coward." There may even be yet another project in the works from some of the people behind Heroes, Andreeva explains.
That Oz would become a hot property makes some sense. For one thing, Oz the Great and Powerful, despite the fact that it starred James Franco, has, to date, made over $200 million domestically. We're also nearing the 75th anniversary of the Judy Garland movie, which was originally released in August 1939. (Warner Bros. plans to re-release the film in 3D in September, a dreadful sounding proposition.) In fact, Baum's books provide plenty of material from which various adaptations can and have been drawn. Still, it's hard to see a network television future littered with iterations of Oz because, though Hollywood writers and producers keep trying to perpetuate spin-offs, the Victor Fleming film version remains the most indelible. Remember the pilot Tim Burton conceived in 2000 called Lost in Oz? Or the other Lost in Oz pilot from 2002? Yeah, we didn't either.