Nearly from the first glimpse, DG, a woman-child with pigtails and a soul-squelching job as a waitress in a rural nowhere, seems like someone who would be happier almost anywhere else. She has a sketch pad and some vague artistic ambition, slouchy trousers and a voice so flat you could lay a lounge chair on it. "This town, that job, taking other people's orders," DG tells her parents like an emo-style Stella Dallas, "that's just passing time."
DG occupies the psychic center of the mini-series "Tin Man," the Sci Fi Channel's splashy, high-tech refashioning of "The Wizard of Oz," which begins on Sunday. She is played by Zooey Deschanel, an actress whose expressions so vividly convey someone peculiarly out of sync with her surroundings that those words almost seem redundant.
Ms. Deschanel is a pleasure whenever she pops up; her brief tenure on "Weeds," as an accidental kidnapper and keeper of spirit pets, only created a hunger for more of her. She has made a mark portraying young women whose oddness the world cannot quite accommodate, and "Tin Man" would be a lot less - or perhaps, more accurately, way too much - were it not for the presence of her disillusioned placidity.
A big, sonorous dungeons-and-dragons affair that seems at every moment to call attention to its epicness, "Tin Man" would have benefited above all from more minimizing. It runs over three nights and is too long by a few hours. The appearance of digitized monkey bats and an evil queen, Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), a corseted sourpuss from whose chest the winged creatures emerge, made me long for the relative economies of "Xena: Warrior Princess." But while "Tin Man" lacks the plain-spoken restraint of L. Frank Baum's "Wonderful Wizard of Oz," it feels, as the novel does, distinctly like an artifact of its time.
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