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Our Advance Review of the Syfy ‘Alice’ Two Night Event

Jessica Small Screen Scoop 11/18/09 10:03 AM

They're a good team: Matt Frewer as the White Knight, Caterina Scorsone as Alice Hamilton, Andrew Lee Potts as the Hatter | Syfy Photo: James Dittiger

Kathy Bates as the Queen of Hearts (I want that heart chair!)

As a special treat this December, Syfy will be airing their original movie Alice. It's a modern-day spin on the Lewis Carroll book's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There as well as the poem Jabberwocky. This re-imagination of Alice in Wonderland is set in our current day and explores how Wonderland might have changed in the past 143 years since we last saw it. I mean, we now have cell phones, microwaves and Twitter. Did we really expect Wonderland to stand still? The thing is - we did! It's a sacred childhood memory, and I've never given thought to how it would have changed.  Before watching, I wasn't so sure I'd ever want it to. When someone tackles sacred ground, the entire ensemble of people involved have to make the creation near faultless in order to be warmly welcomed. What we have in Syfy's Alice is something that comes close to that accomplishment.  Syfy's Alice is a champion of production that fuses modern invention and nostalgic resourcefulness.

Our Alice is played by Caterina Scorsone, an actress most recently seen in the TV shows Crash and Castle. The fact that Scorsone stays brunette for this role should give you a hint about how different this spin on the story behaves. Alice also stars Academy Award winner Kathy Bates (Queen of Hearts), Tim Curry (Dodo) Harry Dean Stanton who I recognized from Big Love (Caterpillar), Colm Meany (King of Hearts), the charismatic Andrew Lee Potts (Hatter), delightful Matt Frewer (the White Knight) and well-cast Philip Winchester (Jack Chase).

Caterina Scorsone as Alice

An unlikely added component to Alice is romance. While I am a devoted fan to the cause of love stories, I wasn't expecting so much of this story to include romance. Alice in Wonderland is one of the only Disney movies I never begrudged for its lack of an onscreen romantic relationship. However, because our new Alice is not a little girl (like the other Alice was) it makes sense to utilize  issues a modern woman faces in her life. Romance is actually the initial catalyst to get this story going. But as it progresses, there are cleverly-crafted layers of plot that weave along.

Matt Frewer as the White Knight

Aside from who I already mentioned, other familiar characters in Alice are the Carpenter, the Walrus, oysters, the Jabberwocky, the Doormouse, Tweedledum and Tweddledee,  Dinah the cat, flamingos, the Duchess, and the March Hare. There's also Borgroves, and you get major points if you know what those are without googling!

The writer/director of Alice is Nick Willing who directed the Emmy-winning (and justifiably so) miniseries Tin Man for Syfy in 2007. (If you haven't seen that yet - I actually think it's worth buying, but it's also on Netflix.) Alice lives up to its predecessor Tin Man objectivley well. As for which I prefer, I'll confess I liked Tin Man a bit more.  I understand there may be hestitations because of other Alice adaptations floating around (coughTimBurtoncough), but Alice is considerably worth a watch.

Alice will air on Sunday, December 6th at 9 pm et/pt and concludes on Monday December 7th at 9pm et/pt.

Have you read my posts on favorite sentimental objects of my 80's/90's youth?: post 1, post 2

The Syfy Alice trailer is after the jump.

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  • I saw a negative review of Alice (Slate, I believe) but I'm glad I did because I don't watch the SyFy channel much and my TiVo did not suggest it. I AM so familiar with the Alice stories that I totally know all of the words you mentioned and then some. I recorded part 1 last night and just watched the first hour. I'm very glad to have caught this as it is a delightful adaptation. I'm 72 and the only other one on TV that I really enjoyed was the version that had as its' stars many prominent TV personalities of the really early years (Sid and Imogene and many others). I'd also love to see that again, as it has been so long, but it would not mean as much to people today :-(

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