tek's rating: ½

Alice, on Syfy
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Caution: spoilers.

First I should mention that this 2009 miniseries has drawn some early comparisons to a Sci-Fi Channel miniseries from a couple years, ago, Tin Man, which was a reimagining of "The Wizard of Oz." This, of course, is a reimagining of "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." I don't think I like it as much as Tin Man, but it's still fairly interesting, I guess. I should also mention that... well, of course there have been lots of adaptations of Lewis Carroll's Alice stories, over the years, and currently there's a feature film in the works, set to come out in 2010, which should be pretty weird. I look forward to that. I suppose this miniseries isn't exactly competition, or anything. Still, it's interesting to have two such projects happening around the same time.

Anyway, the miniseries starts normally enough, with a young woman named Alice Hamilton, teaching like a karate class or whatever. We soon learn that one of her students, Jack Chase, is also her boyfriend. After a dinner where Jack meets Alice's mother, Jack gives Alice a ring. This kind of freaks her out, and she wants to slow things down. But later she goes out looking for him, and sees him being kidnapped. Then a strange man shows up, takes the ring's case away from Alice, and she chases him. He ends up jumping through a mirror, which Alice then falls into...

...And finds herself in Wonderland. For awhile I wondered if this would be the kind of thing where she lived in a world that didn't have the Alice stories, but after awhile we find that it does. So, she just thought they were children's stories, but... she was wrong. When she tells anyone here that her name is Alice, they wonder if she's the Alice of legend, though of course all that happened 150 years ago. Anyway, she soon meets a man called the Hatter, who runs a tea shop. Though "tea" is actually these different sorts of elixirs, which have been drained from "oysters," which means people from Alice's world who have been kidnapped and brought to Wonderland. The elixirs provide different emotions, which are like drugs to people in Wonderland, I guess. Anyway, the oysters are kept as mindless slaves in the Hearts Casino, so Alice wants to go there to look for Jack.

Well, there are all sorts of things to try to figure out and keep track of. Like an organization called "White Rabbit," the people who kidnapped Jack, as they are the ones who obtain oysters from our world. They work for the Casino, which is run by the Suits, who work for the Queen of Hearts, who came to power years ago, after defeating the Kingdom of Knights. Anyway, Hatter takes Alice to meet some people in the resistance, though the Dodo, leader of its local branch, realizes Alice is wearing a ring which is known as the Stone of Wonderland, which controls the Looking Glass, and the Dodo wants it. But she refuses to give it up. So she and Hatter have to run away from these would-be allies. Meanwhile, the Queen of Hearts, finding the ring case empty after the White Rabbit guy gave it to her, sends out her top assassin, Mad March. Of course, he'd been dead, but the Carpenter (who's in charge of draining emotions from oysters) had been working on restoring him. He didn't have time to do a proper job of it, though....

Anyway, Alice and Hatter have to try to evade Mad March and his posse, and end up running into a Jabberwock (it was neat to see that instead of just hearing about it in a poem). Soon after that, they meet the White Knight (played by the always entertaining Matt Frewer). He's the last of the knights who had been wiped out years ago, but he seems kind of crazy. He could be helpful, though. But she wants to negotiate with the Queen, for the release of Jack. Hatter says that's impossible, he'd rather try negotiating with White Rabbit. So Alice goes off on her own, but ends up learning some surprising things about Jack.... Also, something which surprises her about her father, who had disappeared when she was 10. But something fairly predictable to pretty much anyone watching the movie: her father was in Wonderland. But before she can find him, she's sort of psychologically tortured by Dr. Dee and Dr. Dum....

Well, that pretty much brings us up through the first half of the miniseries, and I don't want to say much about the second half. Except that Alice meets the Caterpillar, the top leader of the resistance, who takes her to her father. But of course, he doesn't remember her. And um... I dunno, stuff happens. You know how it goes, things get bad for the good guys, but they win in the end. Beyond that, I don't want to spoil any details. It's all kinda weird, but maybe not as weird as it could have been. Unfortunately. Still, it was reasonably entertaining, I guess. There were things that didn't make sense to me, like how the Looking Glass portal between worlds operated without the ring, if the ring was so important to it. And in the end, how... meh, but nevermind that. Not spoiling. Whatever, it was fun, and stuff. Sort of. I did feel like we could have used some more in depth background on some characters, like was there a history between Hatter and March, for example? And the relationship between the King and Queen could have been explored more. But... I'm rambling now. Nevermind. Oh, but I definitely wish we would have learned more about the previous Alice who visited Wonderland, and how exactly her visit affected that world....

miniseries index
Syfy December Miniseries Events

movies and shows inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

movies: Alice in Wonderland (1951) * Alice in Wonderland (2010)
TV movies & miniseries: Alice in Wonderland (1985) * Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998) * Alice in Wonderland (1999) * Alice (2009)
TV shows: Adventures in Wonderland * Once Upon a Time in Wonderland