Emerald City” was plagued by production issues for the last two years, but NBC has finally brought the new take on the story of Oz to the small screen in a ten episode series. The series kicked off with “The Beast Forever” and “Prison of the Abject.”

This is not your grandmother’s Oz

Unlike the movie that’s become the most famous version of “The Wizard of Oz,” this version isn’t technicolor magic or singing and dancing characters. Here, Dorothy is from a Latino family in a small Kansas town.

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Her mother abandoned her to her aunt as an infant. There’s still a storm that whisks Dorothy away, and her companion isn’t the family dog, but a police officer’s canine companion.

Dorothy also doesn’t accidentally kill a wicked witch, but one of the supposedly most merciful. Everything you know about Oz is twisted and transformed into a new tale with plenty of threads from the originals, though they are much more adult. When the Wicked Witch of the West is now Mistress West and leading a brothel, you know the story is going to be mighty different.

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The visuals are stunning

If you’re at all familiar with Tarsem Singh’s work, that shouldn’t be surprising. The director is known for his use of rich and arresting imagery in his tales. He’s previously directed the likes of “The Cell,” “The Fall,” and “Mirror Mirror.” Singh directed all ten episodes of the series, so it’s sure to be a feast for the eyes all the way through.

How about those Oz Easter eggs

Oz aficionados will find as many references to the L. Frank Baum books and previous versions of the tale on screen as there are in the Broadway show “Wicked.” Dorothy doesn’t land on a witch with her house, for example, but hits them with the police car she tries to ride out a twister in.

Some of the other fun ones? Flying monkeys are drones. Though Dorothy doesn’t wear ruby slippers, there are plenty of nods to them in the show. From a patient at the hospital where she works favoring deep red nail polish to East wearing a long red dress, and magical jewelry containing red stones, the color red is used to make an impression. The Wizard doesn’t hide behind a curtain, but under a toupee.

The scarecrow

Not a man made of straw, but a man who was strung up in a field and has no memory of his former life, he joins Dorothy on her journey to the Emerald City.

Without a name, Dorothy calls him Lucas, after her hometown in Kansas. As we learn in episode two though, Lucas may have been a member of the Wizard’s guard before he was strung up. He must have been punished for something considering the land he was in was full of people tortured and burned by the Wizard’s soldiers. He also reveals himself to have a pretty dark streak, capable of doing more than just killing people.

Only a witch can kill a witch

As we’re reminded throughout the first hour of the series, a witch can only die by the hands of a witch, which seems to indicate both West and Glinda will have long lives - barring them killing one another.

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The fact that East survives being hit by a car seems to provide credence to the idea that, despite Dorothy’s mysterious past, she’s not a witch.

East turning a gun on herself because she doesn’t know what they are in Oz means that a witch does kill a witch since she kills herself, right? Or is Dorothy still in the running to be a witch since she instructs her? It’s an interesting line of thought to ponder until episode three.

Even more interesting is just how magic survives in this version of Oz as we see the apothecary has some magical abilities and West and Glinda have to ceremonially take their fallen sister's powers.

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The verdict

Like “Wizard of Oz,” “Game of Thrones,” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” were thrown into a magical blender, “Emerald City” takes some of the most interesting aspects of the genre stories to create something new and all around fascinating.

4 out of 5 stars.

What’s next

Dorothy and West will come face to face next week in “Mistress-New-Mistress.”

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