Emerald City Season 1 Review

The first season of NBC’s new show Emerald City was interesting, to say the least. The fantasy drama had the support and financial backing from the network to make a visually beautiful and stimulating show. Its biggest downfall, however, was the poor and uninspired story. And like all shows, the visuals mean nothing if a gripping story isn’t there to support them. The thing that interested me the most was even with its high production value, NBC didn’t seem to have much faith in it because they stuck it on Friday nights, a slot not known for successful ratings.

So, was Emerald City a good show? Did it deserve more attention? And, ultimately, does it deserve a second season?

Well, let me start by saying this. Emerald City was an ambitious show. It was fun to watch (at times) and it looked good. Its qualities, however, could never mask its inherent and gleaming flaws. The story got stale after a while and some of its characters we flat-out terrible. For example, Dorothy. If you followed my weekly reviews of the show, you know how much I hated the character of Dorothy. In fact, she might be the most underdeveloped and unfocused main character ever. Her intentions were never clear, she often treated people terribly (for no reason), and after the first or second episode, her motivation to get home was put aside and replaced with nothing. It’s never a good thing when you must ask yourself why you should be caring about a certain character.

Another major problem I had with the first season was its main antagonist, The Wizard. I enjoyed the backstory of how he became The Wizard and who he was before he got to Oz, but besides that, he was never very interesting. First off, I was never convinced he was capable of ruling Oz and second, why were people so scared of him, especially all the witches? It’s not like he had some secret power and he never convinced me he was the intimidating type. This wasn’t necessarily the fault of the actor as much as it was the writing and the development of the character. Like Dorothy, The Wizard was never convincing enough so I often found myself asking, why should I care?

There were a few characters who were a pleasure to follow, though. West, for example, was someone with true depth and emotion. Someone who you could see was going through real pain. Tip was also a fun character to follow because she went on a real journey and went through a real transformation. Real character development is a powerful thing for a show. These compelling characters, along with a few others, however, did not make up for the rest of the show’s shortcomings.

Overall, Emerald City was an average show. Yes, there were some glaring flaws and it got boring at times, but I loved the fact that NBC and the show’s creators took a chance on something new and different. The show looked great and I love the idea of bringing more from the fantasy genre to primetime television. But let’s be honest, Emerald City will never be half of what Game of Thrones is, the audience I’m sure they were aiming for.

So, will Emerald City be back for a second season? Who knows, but my guess is no. Should Emerald City be renewed for a second season? I’d be willing to give it another shot, but the story writing and character development need to improve greatly if it ever wants to become appointment television.

Score: 6/10

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