Alice (TV miniseries): Wikis

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Alice

Alice's intertitle.
Approx. run time 180 minutes
Genre Miniseries
Sci-Fi
Fantasy
Creator Nick Willing
Written by Nick Willing
Directed by Nick Willing
Produced by Michael O'Connor
Starring Caterina Scorsone
Kathy Bates
Harry Dean Stanton
Tim Curry
Matt Frewer
Colm Meaney
Andrew-Lee Potts
Philip Winchester
Editing by Peter Forslund
Allan Lee
Music by Ben Mink
Country Canada
United Kingdom
Language English
Original channel Syfy
Original run December 6, 2009 (2009-12-06) – December 7, 2009 (2009-12-07)
No. of episodes 2

Alice is a 2009 television mini-series being broadcast on American cable television channel Syfy. The miniseries is a reimagining of the classic Lewis Carroll stories Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, taking place about 150 years later with science fiction and additional fantasy elements added.[1][2] The miniseries was produced by RHI Entertainment, the company that produced Tin Man, the highly successful 2007 adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The series is three hours long, split into two parts, which premiered on Sunday, December 6, 2009 and Monday, December 7, 2009 respectively.[3] Writer and director Nick Willing previously directed a 1999 adaptation of the books which followed the story more closely; however, Alice is intended to be a modern interpretation, imagining how Wonderland might have evolved over the last 143 years.[4][5]

Contents

Plot

The story takes place in Wonderland 150 years after the original "Alice's" visit, and is an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of the Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates). The White Rabbit is a secret organization that works for the Queen of Hearts and abducts people from the real world (referred to as "Oysters"), so they can gamble in the Queen's casino. Once people are kidnapped, they are sedated and forced to play in the casino so their emotions can be drained by the Queen. These drained emotions have a drug-like effect on the people of Wonderland. The Queen keeps people under control by sedating them with elixirs that provide an instant fix of emotions as a way to pacify them when they become too unruly.[5]

Alice Hamilton (Caterina Scorsone), a judo sensei in her twenties who lives with her mother Carol (Teryl Rothery), finds herself in Wonderland after Jack Chase, a man she has recently begun dating, is kidnapped by the White Rabbit after trying to give her an old-looking ring. The ring is actually the Stone of Wonderland, which the Queen of Hearts needs to re-open the Looking Glass, the gateway between the Oysters' world and Wonderland. In the course of her adventure, Alice enlists the help of an array of characters including the resistance fighter Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts), resistance leader Dodo (Tim Curry), and Charlie, the White Knight (Matt Frewer). Unlike the Alice in Carroll's original stories, the new Alice is not a child but a modern, assertive woman and a judo instructor.[5]

Shortly after landing in Wonderland, Alice is trapped on a White Rabbit ship that will take her to the casino to be sedated and used. Using a hairpin, she escapes the trap and meets an old man who takes her to the Hatter. The Hatter takes her to the leaders of the Resistance, but they are forced to fight and flee after the leader attempts to steal the stone by force.

The Queen of Hearts sends out Mad March to find and capture Alice and Hatter. They escape into a forested area, where they meet Charlie, the White Knight, who guides them into a secret area to rest. Alice wakes up early the next day and allows herself to be captured by Mad March, hoping to negotiate to secure the release of her friend Jack. However, she learns that Jack is the Queen of Heart's son and that he is already engaged to Duchess. The Queen of Hearts then enlists Doctors Dee and Dum to torture her to find the location of the ring. The Hatter and the White Knight, who followed her and managed to get inside the casino, rescue her in time, and escape. The Queen of Hearts also orders the Duchess to find out why Jack enlisted Alice to come to Wonderland. Jack feigns being poisoned, knocks out a guard, ties the Duchess up, and escapes the casino.

Hatter, Alice, and Charlie escape on flamingos, but are shot down by pursuing security guards and wash up on shore. Jack meets up with Alice and convinces her to come along with him to meet Caterpillar, the leader of the resistance. Jack explains that they want to send all the Oysters back to the real world and that Alice's father is the key to breaking the spell the Queen put on them. However, when Alice meets her father, he does not recognize her, and Mad March soon captures both Jack and Alice. The Hatter attempts to free her, but Charlie, who was supposed to rush in and rescue Alice, instead flees into the countryside.

Jack convinces the Queen of Hearts to not execute Alice, and so she sends her away. However, upon seeing that the Queen's men are capturing young children as oysters, Alice breaks free and subdues the guards. Hatter beats Mad March during a torturing session. Charlie comes back, setting up a fake army outside the casino, and the Queen sends all of her security guards to defeat the army. Alice and Hatter meet up. They lock the casino doors and implore the Oysters to wake up. In the TV monitors, Alice's father also wakes up and goes out to meet Alice. Alice starts crying after realizing that her father remembers her. When security finally breaks through the casino doors, one of them fires a shot. Alice's dad turns to take the shot and dies shortly afterward.

The casino then becomes unstable and begins to crumble, the King of Hearts (Colm Meaney) dying due to remaining behind. Outside, the Queen of Hearts orders Alice captured, but with the Oysters freed, her security guards turn against her and the battle is over. Jack invites Alice to put the Stone of Wonderland back into the looking glass to reconnect the worlds together. Alice then enters the looking glass and is hospitalized for a few days following her adventure, having been found by a construction worker. When she comes to, her mother invites her to see the worker who found her, who she discovers is the Hatter. The two hug each other and kiss, and the mini-series concludes.

Cast and characters

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Character interpretations

The mini-series is set in the continuity of the books, and a large amount of characters and features of the books are used. The characters appear as human with features resembling their usual forms. The original Alice is mentioned several times, and multiple characters mistake Alice Hamilton for the same character. The Hatter is shown to be a suave character who owns a business that sells the human emotions like drugs, with the Dormouse in his services. The Ratcatcher character appears to be based on the Mouse from the first book. The Dodo is head of the resistance against the Queen, and is flanked by the gun-wielding Duck and Eaglet. The Caterpillar is the leader of the resistance, and appears as an aging spectacled man. A fusion of the present-day Alice's pet cat Dinah, and the Cheshire Cat appears in a dream Alice has.

The Queen of Hearts appears to be a lot more merciful and calm than the book's version. The White Rabbit is used as the name for the Queen's organization, but also the character himself appears as a white-haired man named "Agent White". The March Hare appears as an assassin called Mad March, who speaks in a Brooklyn accent and has a computerized rabbit ornament for a head. The Carpenter is a human in this adaptation, whilst he is a Wonderland resident in the books, alongside The Walrus who is also in a human version. Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear as disturbed psychiatrist-like doctors in the Queen's serive. A computer-generated Jabberwock appears in one scene.

Reception

Alice was the most watched original mini-series on Syfy since Tin Man in 2007 (which rated the highest in their history). Part One jumped 143% in Adults 18-49, 91% among Adults 25-54 and 89% in total viewers versus the 2009 Sunday 9-11PM (ET/PT) time period average, propelling Syfy to #1 in prime among Men 18-49. Part Two rose +223% in Adults 18-49, +159% among Adults 25-54 and +176% in total viewers versus the 2009 Monday 9-11PM (ET/PT) time period average.

Overall, Alice delivered 1.3 million Adults 18-49, 1.2 million Adults 25-54 and 2.3 million total viewers along with a 1.7 HH rating. Alice boosted Syfy into the #3 cable entertainment network for both Adults18-49 and Adults 25-54 in its Sunday and Monday 9-11PM (ET/PT) time period.

Reviews of Alice varied greatly, with ratings averaging around a 54, or average, on Metacritic.[6] Paige Wiser of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the show three of five stars, saying that it was "charming, but not perfect."[7] Randee Dawn from The Hollywood Reporter also gave the program a mediocre review,[8] and Nancy deWolf Smith of The Wall Street Journal said that "despite...diversions and whiz-bang special effects, [Alice] drags at times."[9]

Mark A. Perigard of the Boston Herald called Alice "fresh and original," lauding the acting and story.[10] TV.com also praised the show, calling it "a champion of production that fuses modern invention and nostalgic resourcefulness",[11] and David Hinckley of New York Daily News called it "just plain wonderful," saying that it was "a vehicle to engage the imagination while it amuses and entertains."[12]

Steven James Snyder of Techland.com said: "There's no denying that Alice has put it all on the line. And even when it comes to those who may not think that the whole thing gels perfectly, Alice's unhinged creativity is bound to at least earn their respect." [13] Rick Bentley at The Fresno Bee said: "The result will have you smiling like a Cheshire Cat. Willing creates a world that's Minority Report meets Austin Powers. The real fun is seeing how cleverly Willing has updated the familiar story to make it different from past TV and film versions." [14]

However, Tom Shales from the Washington Post gave the program a very negative review, saying that Tin Man was far superior,[15] while IGN said that Alice was "long-winded, uninspiring, and...hardly [did] the original material justice."[16] Robert Bianco from USA Today also gave the show a poor review, calling it "unappetizing gruel" and saying the plot was "superimposed...with its shifting motives and dreary lectures" and giving it two and a half stars out of four.[17]

References

  1. ^ Sassone, Bob (November 4, 2009). "Sneak Peek: Syfy's Alice". TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/2009/11/04/sneak-peek-syfys-alice/. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Wagner, Curt (October 29, 2009). "Sneak peeks: Syfy's 'Alice,' 'Ghost Hunters Live,' 'Scare Tactics'". ChicagoNow.com. http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/show-patrol/2009/10/sneak-peeks-syfys-alice-ghost-hunters-live-scare-tactics.html. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ Bernardin, Marc (August 26, 2009). "Syfy's 'Alice' miniseries: Is the trailer full of hearts or clubs?". Entertainment Weekly. http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/08/26/syfys-alice-miniseries-is-the-trailer-full-of-hearts-or-clubsor/. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ Topel, Fred (August 5, 2009). "How Syfy's Alice brings the classic into the modern world". Sci Fi Wire. http://scifiwire.com/2009/08/how-syfys-alice-brings-th.php. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Moody, Mike (November 20, 2009). "Going through the looking glass with Syfy's Alice". TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/2009/11/20/going-down-the-rabbit-hole-with-syfys-alice/. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Alice reviews at Metacritic". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/tv/shows/alice. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  7. ^ Wiser, Paige. (December 5, 2009). "TV Review: SyFy's "Alice" update". Chicago Sun-Times. http://blogs.suntimes.com/tv/2009/12/tv_review_syfys_alice_update.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  8. ^ Dawn, Randee (December 3, 2009). "Alice -- TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/tv-reviews/alice-tv-review-1004050787.story. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  9. ^ Smith, Nancy deWolf (December 4, 2009). "TNT's Men of a Certain Age and Syfy's Alice". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704007804574573770499791830.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  10. ^ Perigard, Mark A. (December 3, 2009). "'Alice' unchained". Boston Herald. http://news.bostonherald.com/entertainment/television/reviews/view/20091203alice_unchained_syfys_peek_into_the_looking_glass_is_fresh_and_original/srvc=edge&position=also. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  11. ^ Jessica (November 18, 2009). "Our Advance Review of the Syfy ‘Alice’ Two Night Event". TV.com. http://www.tv.com/our-advance-review-of-the-syfy-%E2%80%98alice%E2%80%99-two-night-event/webnews/7541.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  12. ^ Hinckley, David (December 4, 2009). "SyFy's 'Alice in Wonderland' is just plain wonderful". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2009/12/04/2009-12-04_what_a_wonderful_world.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  13. ^ Snyder, Steven James (December 4, 2009). "Syfy's Alice: Shooting Up Wonderland". Techland. http://techland.com/2009/12/04/syfys-alice-shooting-up-wonderland/. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  14. ^ Bentley, Rick (December 2, 2009). "Review: 'Alice' a wonder to behold". The Fresno Bee. http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/tv-radio/story/1733103.html. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  15. ^ Shales, Tom (December 5, 2009). "'Alice's' looking glass: Warped in Syfy movie". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/04/AR2009120404295.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  16. ^ Isler, Ramsey (December 5, 2009). "Alice: Miniseries Review". IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/105/1052668p1.html. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 
  17. ^ Bianco, Robert (December 4, 2009). "Syfy's 'Alice': Through a looking glass, only very darkly". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/reviews/2009-12-04-alice04_ST_N.htm. Retrieved December 15, 2009. 

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