Alice On SyFy

December 6th and 7th at 9/8c, SyFy has a special treat in store for you. Alice, the reimagining of Alice in Wonderland is a new adventure filled with stars from director Nick Willing who brought you the Zooey Deschanel vehicle Tin Man.

Our Alice (Caterina Scorsone) this time around is a martial arts instructor without much luck when it comes to men. This is probably because she’s also still dealing with the fact that her father disappeared when she was ten. She’s found herself a new guy, Jack, and she’s made it to the stage where she’s interested in having him meet her mother. This is the death knell according to mom, because that’s when Alice starts finding excuses to get rid of men.

This time, something really is a bit odd about Jack, and when he tries to give her a very expensive-looking ring, she gets jittery and asks him to leave. Moving into the realm of curiouser and curiouser, it turns out Jack slipped the ring in her pocket. Alice goes after him just in time to find that Jack has been abducted. Following him, she finds her way down the rabbit hole.

What follows is a strange and fun tale which puts an almost steampunk, surreal spin on the story and characters we all know. If you know and enjoyed Tin Man, you will immediately see that this is simply the next story in a continuation of retellings. If you haven’t caught that one, you’re in for a wild ride that is rather akin to falling into the rabbit hole yourself.

Soon after finding herself in this strange world, Alice meets Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts) who sells “teas” for the Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates). These teas are pure emotion potions which deliver the feelings you want when you want them. They are created by extracting the emotions from people from our world, who are kept in a semi-catatonic state in a casino of delights.

Alice is out to rescue Jack, but things are never what they seem in Wonderland, and the Queen needs the ring Jack gave Alice in order to power the looking glass so she can kidnap more humans, and keep the economy of controlling her subjects running smoothly.

As Alice learns more about everything that’s going on in Wonderland, her journey of escape and rescue finds her meeting Dodo (Tim Curry), the White Knight (Matt Frewer), Caterpillar (Harry Dean Stanton), and many more. From flying flamingos to the Jabberwocks, and everything in between, the imagination behind the show is wonderful.

Like the already-mentioned, Emmy-winning Tin Man, Alice manages most of its appeal in sheer daring. The newly-imagined world and its sights bring something of the wild, outrageous wonder of the original to our age, connecting the theory of “bizarrely fun adventure” to today’s sensibilities.

There are those out there who don’t need to be swayed toward the idea of a truly fantastic (in the fantasy sense) reworking that fuses sci-fi into a classic story. On the other hand, there are a great many out there who would never consider giving this one a chance, and for the same reason. But, I think there’s quite a chance that this might surprise those who are quick to dismiss anything that looks too sci-fi.

Alice also stars one of the most underrated actors around, Colm Meaney, as the King of Hearts.

Well worth checking out, you’ll want to tune in to this special event… better yet, set your Tivo to record Alice right now.

SyFy has took to the streets of New York today to start some buzz for the show in a way that plays rather well with controlled lunacy found in both the original work and this retelling.

50 White Rabbits Hunt for Alice and the Hatter Aboard New York City Buses, Subways and Commuter Rail Lines on Friday, December 4

New York, NY – December 4, 2009 – On Friday, December 4, if you’re riding the New York City subways, buses or commuter rail lines  — or near historic landmarks such as the Empire State Building — you just might meet a White Rabbit in business attire. Please don’t panic. You haven’t fallen down the rabbit hole!

Instead, you have entered Syfy’s Wonderland of innovative multi-media marketing behind the four-hour movie event Alice, premiering Sunday, December 6, at 9PM (ET/PT) and starring Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates (Misery) as the Queen of Hearts and Caterina Scorsone (Crash television series) as Alice.

During the morning commute in New York, on Friday, December 4, 50 White Rabbits hunt across the city for Alice and the Hatter, handing out Alice playing cards displaying their faces containing the text, “Have you seen this pair?” At 12:30PM, all 50 White Rabbits converge on Union Square, where they hope to finally meet Alice and the Hatter – along with performing a choreographed “step” dance routine.Said Blake Callaway, Vice President, Brand Marketing, Syfy: “Classic tales retold with a twist are uniquely Syfy.  We want to create a new memory of Alice in Wonderland just as we did so successfully with Tin Man and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  By tapping into pop music, literature and even a white rabbit on the run to make the connections to our Alice, the marketing campaign for Alice highlights the familiar icons associated with Wonderland and gives them a contemporary spin. This major television event provides a fitting conclusion to what has been an extraordinary year.”

I do have to take issue with this whole promotion though, because the truth is that 50 March Hares took to the streets (or at best 50 Mad Marches), because The White Rabbit is an entirely different character. But, it’s a crazy bit of fun nonetheless.

 

Are You Screening?

Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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