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I am – Hercules!!

Screenwriter David Hayter (“X-Men”) reminds us that the wizard never gave nothin’ to the tin man that he didn’t already have! And wait till you find out how little Tobias Beecher and Vern Schillinger have to do in the pilot!

Our reviewer says “‘Lost In Oz’ may become the new ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer.’ Or even better.” Does a better compliment exist?

“Princess X” scrutinizes the pilot script:

LOST IN OZ /David Hayter/WB

LOST IN OZ – a WB take on the post-modern-girl-kicks-butt look at what happened to Oz after Dorothy Gale clicked her little red heels and headed back home to Kansas.

It promises to be good, right? Why shouldn’t it be? Dorothy Gale was one of the first celluloid female action heroes. It’s Dorothy who destroys evil personified with a bucket of water and asserts her (and her friends) rights against the chauvinistic Wizard of Oz, a schnook who fooled everyone in Oz but not our Dorothy. Then with a can-do attitude and zest for justice, Dorothy clicks her red heels and returns to Kansas with a better sense of what home and friendship mean.

It’s about time someone mined the riches of L. Frank Baum’s chronicles of Oz and kudos to David Hayter, who penned the pilot, for choosing that rich field. What better location to tackle the battle between modern good and evil than in Oz with it’s poppy fields of dysfunction: politicking good witches and bad, munchkins too perky before the age of Prozac, and flying monkeys rivaling, nowadays, the Taliban. In a world post-Lord Of The Rings and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I was geared up for more thrilling tongue-in-cheek action-adventure girl style.

Uh, that’s not exactly what’s in store with the pilot episode of Lost In Oz.

Dorothy Gale’s successor in this new WB series is TINA VITTORI, an every-girl who is attractive, popular and smart (ignore that Amanda George who plays Tina is a tad mature-looking for a high school senior). Tina’s boyfriend, AARON, wants to marry her and has proposed with a gorgeous ring. Oxford wants Tina and has offered her a full scholarship to study philosophy (drat, life can be so complicated). The only stain in Tina’s pristine life is her cynical best friend, BRIANNA, who doesn’t have much sympathy for Tina’s problem. That’s understandable; Tina doesn’t quite get how enviable it is to have a scholarship to the world’s top university and the unquestioning love of a hot guy. Nevertheless, something is missing for Tina. She doesn’t know what, which is fine and is sympathetic, because we’ve all experienced some kind of riches and not known what we had until it was no longer within our grasp.

Don’t mistake me – the show’s teaser is fun. Yes, the scene where Tina courageously tries to outrace a tornado in her tin can of a car is cool. Landing in Oz is pretty neat, too. The bodiless knights are menacing; lush foliage and emerald gadgetry are excellent. Not long after the teaser ends, I’m waiting for Tina to show some moxie, kick some butt, strike with searing wit – show us why the girls from Kansas are a threat. I was still waiting at the end.

There’s opportunity but if Tina doesn’t know what to do with it, neither does Lt. Colonel CALEB JANSEN, the other out-of-towner trapped in Oz. There’s potential between these two – is Caleb the requisite romantic interest or is he the wise-cracking sidekick a la Xander in “Buffy”? There’s no chemistry between Caleb and Tina so obviously the guy’s not putting any pressure on Tina to sort out her feelings for the fiancé back home, and Caleb’s one line wit barely cuts through the softest cream cheese (his army nickname is “Scarecrow”), so his role in these adventures can’t be the funny guy. In the pilot, Caleb’s main duties are 1) prevent a catfight between Tina and her other sidekick, NERISSA the Patchwork Girl and 2) resist temptation to use Tina’s one way out of Oz for personal gain.

The most interesting characters are the complex ones – BELLARIDERE, the Good Witch of the South who is teamed up with ALAKHAN, a giant talking tiger. What is curious is the lack of compelling reasons they use to get Tina to do their will (okay, if Tina doesn’t help then Alakhan will make her his dinner). Really, Tina has no choice if she wants to return to Kansas, she’s stuck in Oz and may as well help rid the land of LORIELLIDERE, an even more Wicked Witch of the West than the one Dorothy destroyed. It’s going to take more than a bucket of water to bring down Loriellidere, and Tina’s task is to free OZMA, the one woman brave enough to do it who is imprisoned in Loriellidere’s labyrinth. Personally, if I were Tina I’d be offended Alakhan saw me as little more than chopped liver (literally), that alone would galvanize me into action.

However, Tina just seems to drift, like the plot, through the desolate western fields until she, Caleb and the Patchwork Girl arrive at the labyrinth holding Ozma prisoner. Sure, they have to pass through the sphinx-like guards whose simple riddles seem like child’s play to Tina. Thank goodness, why else did she get a scholarship to Oxford? Too bad the challenges Tina faces fail to make a dent in her psyche about the turmoil she left in Kansas (“yes, I need to marry the man I love” or “No, I must go to Oxford”, even “Can’t I have both? I’m kicking butt already.”). I never doubted Tina and her gang would get out Loriellidere’s clutches, still I enjoyed the few moments of Loriellidere in action – she’s evil, making Tina more heroic for facing her.

I’d like to applaud one very cool, unexpected twist during the showdown between Loriellidere and Tina. Staring down the barrel of a gun at certain death, Loriellidere’s powers start to transfer to Tina, who on Loriellidere’s death will take her place. What’s worse than never leaving Oz? Becoming the next Wicked Witch of the West. That alone made me jump up and think, “Whoa, this show has potential!” Maybe it’s for that reason I found the rest of the episode lacking, there’s so much going on with this series that isn’t exploited in the pilot.

Don’t get me wrong; Lost In Oz is a fun romp. It’s very straight ahead and sadly lacks the ironic bite those familiar with Buffy The Vampire Slayer have come to expect. Still, as the series progresses and the characters find their footing in a new and strange land, Lost In Oz may become the new Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Or even better.

The Lost in Oz pilot is shooting in Australia, with Mick Garris directing.

Princess X

I am – Hercules!!

To order coffee mugs and boxer shorts adorned with the image of a green, handicapable “Buffy” fanatic, click here.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 16, 2002, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Holy shit does this sound stupid

    by Creamery Butter

    But I guess I don't fit their target audience of 12-year-old girls.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Tina gets made into someone's prag

    by magic_ninja

    after she takes angel dust and craps on Schillinger's face. then i'll watch it. maybe.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 1:36 a.m. CST

    No Mention Of Tim Burton?

    by One Punch Mickey

    I may be wrong (and I don't think that I am) but wasn't this a Tim Burton project? I remember reading about this some time right before or after the release of "Planet Of The Apes." Can anyone confirm this for me? Thanx.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Way too early for April Fool's jokes

    by Niaiserie

    but nice try anyways...

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 5:41 a.m. CST

    This has potential.

    by spiderblood1969

    This could be good if it doesn't try to be too hip and self aware and become almost like a parody of itself.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 6:21 a.m. CST

    Read 'Wicked'

    by Duke Lacrosse

    There's a killer book by a New York cat named Gregory Maguire called Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It does perfectly what this show will attempt -- to portray Oz as a real place populated by real people. It deals with history and political strife and focuses on the witch right from her birth through to the events of Dorothy's big adventure, only by that point the witch is our hero. It's brilliantly written and a hell of a story, and the last I heard Demi-fucking-Moore had purchased the rights and was talking about making a TV miniseries out of it, which won't be anything but godawful and a tragic mistake. Luh to ma biatches and all y'all what's been down since day one.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 9:40 a.m. CST

    The real bad guy in Wizard of Oz was Glinda the Good witch

    by holidill

    I watched The Wizard of OZ the other night and I noticed some interesting things. Glinda the Good Witch is actually attempting a coup of the land of OZ. The one line that made me thing was when Glinda tells the Wicked Witch of the West, right after Dorothey has met the munchkins, "Your Power does not work here!" Now if the Wicked Witch of the West's power does not work in Munchkinland, why was the Wicked Witch of the East there? I'm assuming we were in the North, because Glinda's powers were used in Munchkinland, and didn't she say something like these Munchkins are under my protection? Second, why doesn't Glinda tell Dorothey right away that she could go home by clicking her heels three times? Easy, since the witches probably don't have power in the other directions(North, East, etc.) Glinda could not go in and get rid of the Wicked Witch of the West herself. So she sends a dupe in. There is no mention in the film of the good witch of the south, so where is she? Glinda has all ready gotten rid of her. All that's left is to get rid of the Wicked Witch of the West. What about the great OZ? He's a figurehead, she knows if Dorothey succeeds, she will learn about the true face of OZ, and then he will decide to leave. Thereby Glinda consoidates her power. Another question, if water can kill the Wicked witch of the West, why is there a bucket full of it in her castle? You'd think if you knew water was the death of you, YOU WOULD HAVE NO WATER!!! Again, Glinda probably has spies in the witches castle who placed it there. Oh I have more theories, like the Munchkins are really a military group(The lollipop guild? The Lullabye League? sound military to me)The Wicked witch of the East was set up by the munchkins so that when Glinda comes to power, they will have there own country. THe Wicked Witch of the East was lured there by the possibility of some peace talks. THen WAM! Here comes the Dupe in Dorothey. There is more but now is not the time.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Lost in OZ?

    by Caine

    Wasn't that about a skinny, weak-willed 19year old that was sent to a certain correctional fascility, where he was insructed to dress like Dorothy - complete with pigtails? Oh sorry, mixing genres here... *** This sounds almost as God-Awful as "Arthur" and "Buffy" - which means it will be picked up and will become one of the staples of horny HS and college kids, and tween/teen girls everywhere, looking for a new role-model when a certain bubblegum popstar that cannot sing goes out of fashion...

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Holidill, you don't know how right you are.

    by Duke Lacrosse

    Read Wicked, I'm tellin' ya. Glinda was miss prim and proper who stole the only boyfriend Elphaba (the ww of the w) ever had, and duped the citizens into thinking she had their best interests at heart. Dorothy was a whiny little biatch who didn't have a clue what she was doing half the time. You learn the backstories of all the main characters. It's a lot like what you just wrote, only in the form of a great novel.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 1:17 p.m. CST

    More crap....

    by Sofa King

    Princess X seems to be nothing but trouble. So far, she has introduced three unimaginably lame series. It's really quite sad how the tv critics on this site eat this crap up, and then have the audacity to complain about the current state of American TV. I like mindless fun sometimes, and nothing I've ever seen on TV has ever actually CHALLENGED me, but there comes a point where I just can't swallow such blatant stupidity when it tries to be hip and smart. If you're going the route of stupidity, then go all the way and become a farce like The Three Stooges or Looney Toons. For the love of God, don't try to pretend like there is an ounce of intellegence behind what you're doing ala 'Buffy', that new 'Author' load, or this 'Oz' crap.An intellegent person can enjoy stupidity, but only a stupid person could mistake it for intellegence.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 1:42 p.m. CST

    i'm not one to slag something i haven't see...

    by arkhan77

    but if i hear one more synopsis with the words "butt" "girls" and "kick" in this or any other order, i'm quitting the human race. what's interesting about buffy ans sydney bristow (alias) is that these heroine are totally flawed. calling all political refugees from oz; do something about it, don't watch

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 2:05 p.m. CST

    David Hayter needs to stick to Metal Gear Solid!

    by Magus Darkstar

    "Eh? What was that noise?"

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 3:36 p.m. CST

    books about a "real" Oz

    by banjoguy

    Philip Jose Farmer wrote a book called "A Barnstormer in Oz", where Dorothy's son returns to Oz in the 1920's, flying his biplane through a mysterious green cloud as part of a military experiment. In the end, Glinda goes after President Taft to keep the US out of Oz. I always thought it would be a good movie, but then I liked "Return to Oz" better than the original.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Hey Banjoguy

    by Duke Lacrosse

    Thanks for the tip -- that sounds great. It's a whole novel, or is it just a story in a Farmer anthology? And while we're on the subject, Phillip Jose Farmer is a very familiar name, but I can't connect him to anything at the moment. What is he most famous for writing?

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 8:20 p.m. CST


    by The Alienist

    I recently attended a reading of a new musical based on the novel "Wicked". It starred Christine Chenelworth as Glinda and the original Maureen from "Rent" as Elphaba. The music is by Stephen "Godspell" Schwartz and the book by "My So Called Life" creator and "Once and Again" producer/scribe Winnie Holtzman. Holtzman writes so strongly for teenagers (which Glinda and El are for a good portion of the story) that the dialogue is stronger than most musicals. The music is ho hum and flat but some nice lyrical ideas. It condenses what was so cool about the novel: the "real" element, a land fraught with politics as well as magic. The coup of the Wizard, the rights of Animals (capital A) who can talk versus animals (small-case A) who cannot, Dorothy's arrival that changes the land like a nuclear bomb. The novel was a wonderful hybrid of the MGM 1939 musical and the 14 original Baum books. To get the full irony of the piece it would have to be done in the style and colors of the Judy Garland movie. The musical does not do this.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Phillip Jose Farmer

    by The Alienist

    He is best known for a series of sci-fi books about the "Riverworld", a world where all of earth's dead seem go. I think I read somewhere the first of that series is set for dramatization on the SciFi Channel.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 8:31 p.m. CST

    wrong actress

    by F-13

    Just a small correction - Melissa George is actually playing the part of Tina. Tim Burton was involved in a proposed "Lost in Oz" series in 2000, in which a group of teens find themselves in Oz, but Osma and the Wizard have mysteriously vanished. I'm not sure if the pilot was actually filmed or completed.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Charles Foster Kane did not die at the end of "Citizen Kane."

    by Uncapie

    That was his clone. Kane was cryogenically frozen and has recently been thawd out to continue his story. The sequel will focus on him as the owner of a recording company known as "CFK Enterprises" which produces gangsta rap. Joseph Cotton will portray his right hand man, "Fresh Jeb" and Everette Sloan as "MC Bernie Bernstein." Word to your mother.

  • Feb. 16, 2002, 10:36 p.m. CST

    When it was "Tim Burton's 'LOST IN OZ'"...

    by Mysterio_9999

    Here's my early review of the script for this project dating back to 11/1/99.

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 12:51 a.m. CST

    Princess X: You're my hero!

    by Kikstad

    Thanks for the great news and reviews. You rock! Can't wait to see some "real OZ" adventures instead of those pornographic prison tales appearing on HBO. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! :-)

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 2:37 a.m. CST

    I believed ya til ya said Mick Garris

    by Vern

    Look, I like munchkins and shit as much as the next guy but Mick Garris is one of the w

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 4:25 a.m. CST

    I Thought this article was referring to HBO's OZ, but I gues

    by plzabuzme

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 1:19 p.m. CST


    by 007-11

    This sounds very promising, provided the costumes, and sets all look damn good, and if they don't try to "modernize" everything. The possibilities are endless, they have multiple Oz books to get material from, not mention a few books written by others through the years, and their imagination. The Return to Oz movie was very good, though when I was little the witch without a head scared the shit out of me. That movie touches on what ZeroCorpse was rambling about, that Dorothy is just a nutcase who has these insane halucinations about Oz. I don't see why he felt he had to attack everyone's intelligence about it, the original stories were written as if Oz existed. Whether or not Dorothy is just insane is one of those things in literature that is up for debate. At any rate this should be a very interesting show provided they handle it right

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Mick Garris aint THAT bad

    by magic_ninja

    sure sleepwalkers sucked dick, but the tv version of the Shining was better than the garbage Stanley "overrated" Kubric made. See, for some reason I thought the main character in the Shining, Jack, was a guy struggling with alchoholism, not some weirdo that goes nuts in a hotel for no reason.

  • No more movies for Mick Garris until he's paid for his past crimes.

  • Feb. 17, 2002, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Quit knocking, Mick Garris, you Naysayers of Doom

    by Kikstad

    He directed The Stand, which in my opinion, was pretty darn good with some wonderful moments. Now bugger off and quit complaining about stuff you haven't even seen yet. :) Peace out.

  • Feb. 18, 2002, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Oz comic?

    by Ozgriff

    Hmmm...seems interestingly close to a comic book put out by Arrow Comics. And screenplay is by an person into the "comic" field. Hmmmm...wonder where the idea really came from???? The Oz comic book has been around since 1985. If you want to know more check out thier site. These guys have been trying to get thier ideas out there to other the old saying's who you know. At least they should have gotten a hold of these guys. I my humble opinion.

  • Feb. 18, 2002, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Farmer's Barnstormer in Oz

    by banjoguy

    Here's the Amazon listing: It's out of print, but there are several used copies listed. I got it from the public library, probably 15 years ago. There's one reader review on Amazon as well -- 2 stars out of 5. Philip Jose Farmer wrote the Riverworld series of novels which are going to be made into a series on SciFi I think. He also allegedly ghost-wrote "Venus on the Half Shell", as Kilgore Troute, as a favor to his friend Kurt Vonnegut. My favorite Farmer books are his other "updates" on famous characters -- Tarzan, Doc Savage, Phileas Fogg, etc. Check out for his official web site.

  • Feb. 18, 2002, 6:51 p.m. CST

    re: Philip Jose Farmer

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Any here read "Image of the Beast"? Good luck finding a copy, but that book is SICK. NOT very good, by any means, but lots of messed up imagery for sure. Can't wait to see this if it makes it to air. SCREW anyone who disses WB!! :^) Best wishes everyone!

  • Feb. 18, 2002, 7:38 p.m. CST

    The WB

    by Kikstad

    Smallville, Birds of Prey, Lost in Oz, The Lone Ranger -- The WB is turning into the type of network I dreamed of watching as a kid!

  • Feb. 18, 2002, 11:52 p.m. CST

    Lost in Oz / Oz comic book

    by VonStueben

    Check out a series of comics from Caliber Comics and later Arrow Comics. Two guys, a girl, and a dog from today get zapped back to Oz. Lots of action, lots of cool Oz secondary characters (Patchwork Girl, Hungry Tiger, Tik Tok, etc.) And the girl isn't sitting around waiting for the guys to rescue her either. Sounds like some similarities. I'm looking forward to the new show. Hope they do Baum justice!

  • Feb. 19, 2002, 12:24 p.m. CST

    no offense vern...

    by d8thstar

    but mick garris didn't direct michael jackson's ghost. THAT directorial abomination was handled by stan winston. and before jumping on garris for all his "bad" king collaborations, please note that the shining was actually pretty well received and he also adapted probably one of the trickiest books EVER to be adapted, the stand. he also brought to us what i consider the only true sequel to psycho in the form a prequel, psycho 4...

  • Feb. 19, 2002, 12:33 p.m. CST

    no offense vern...

    by d8thstar

    but mick garris didn't direct michael jackson's ghost. THAT directorial abomination was handled by stan winston. and before jumping on garris for all his "bad" king collaborations, please note that the shining was actually pretty well received and he also adapted probably one of the trickiest books EVER to be adapted, the stand. he also brought to us what i consider the only true sequel to psycho in the form a prequel, psycho 4...

  • May 6, 2002, 8:58 p.m. CST

    "Lost In OZ"

    by fosterwd

    I would like to thank you for the Information that you have, so far, supplied regarding the "possible" WB TV series, "Lost In OZ"! I hope that you can elicit even more interesting information as it becomes available in the very near future, I suspect that more information will be forthcoming after the 14th of May, when the TV Networks, including WB, are supposed to offer more information regarding what precisely will be available for the Fall Season(?)! However, it was this past weekend when I read a story in an English SF Magazine (Time to waste in a bookstore while at an Airport) that I discovered the "Lost In OZ" series was to be produced for the WB network this Fall. While I had read some time ago of the supposed Tim Burton project, I was unaware of anything else involving "OZ" had been underway, and the article was giving some interesting information and making some promising comments regarding the effort. Also, I had read in the article some more detailed information regarding the character of the updated "Scarecrow" in the "Lost In OZ" series. He was described, not as a WWII fighter pilot whose radio "Call Sign" was "Scarecrow", but, instead, this "Scarecrow" character was supposedly a WWI fighter pilot who just went by the famous "OZ" nickname of the "Scarecrow" (Nicknames were very common among fliers in the First World War, AKA: The "Red Barron"!). Consequently, when I read this particular detail, I too was reminded of the Jose Philip Farmer book, "Barnstormer In Oz", I had read the book several years ago during High School when I found an old copy in my local Library. Needless to say, it was this surprising discovery in this British SF Magizine which led me to find this exact listing of information regarding "Lost In OZ", which alternatively seems to indicate that the "Scarecrow" will be a WWII fighther pilot? However, in regards to why I feel the WWI biplane will be the likely "Vehicle" used in the plot or the "PILOT" , I know of the vulnerabilities of the flimsy fabric and wire construction we find in the bi-planes of the WWI vintage and immediate Post-War period. After the "Great War", new aircraft design and construction was almost still-born, and this was because of the glut of very cheap "Surplus" WWI aircraft available for sale. Also, another feature which seems to suggest the WWI biplane over the WWII aircraft involves the landing fields or facilities required for a such a biplane were not a critical factor, and the majority of biplanes could, in general, land on almost any rough unprepared field such as we would find in OZ which is suggested as being a Mythical or quasi-Medieval period. Furthermore, when compared to most WWII airplanes, which required a much more prepared landing strip to land on and take-off from, the WWI biplanes were veritable simplicity itself. Also, they could be kept flying very easily with very primative technologies, hence the ability of classic "Barnstormer" to keep his surplus "Jenny" flying with little expense and under the most primative of conditions, conditions we would be led to believe would only be available in the "OZ" of Myth. Also, the support and the technology to keep a WWII fighter flying would be a significant streach for our credulity for a society as primative as "Oz"? If you have read Mr. Farmer's book, "A Barnstormer In OZ", as well as Mr. Jose Philip Farmer's book about ERB's (Edgar Rice Burroughs) Tarzan, you will observe how Mr. Farmer attempts to scientifically, rationally, and logically explain how the "Fantasy" of Mr. Frank Lyman Baum actually could have operated. This was actually an interesting orientiation, especially in regards to how some people suggest "Fantastic Fiction" should be written! This leads me into a facet regarding what many writing coaches who suggest how to approach writing "Fantastic Fiction" in a story. It might seem totally "Illogical" that an attempt would be mounted which attempts to try to utilize any form of "Logic" involving the mere fact that "OZ" exists in a storyline. Some would simply say that this just streaches believability or credulity beyond any rational, reasonable, logical expectation! That is, unless one knows that it is frequently suggested to writers who deal with the "Fantastic" (Science Fiction and Fantasy) to avoid unduely relying upon or forcing the reader or the audience to operate in "Suspended Disbelief" mode on a continual basis? It is optimally suggested that one should set up the story in such a manner that everything "Normal" is, or should be, held constant, and that only when everything is rendered to be totally believable and everything is preceived to be "Normal" by the Reader/Audience,and only after this criteria has been met successfully should the element containing the "Fantastic" be added. However, even at this point, it is suggested that everything else in the story should be made as logical, consistent, reasonable, and as "Normal" as is possible. Therefore, "Fantastic Literature" is often held to a higher standard of "Believability" than most other forms of literature. This is needed because it is determined that a reader will be more willing to acquiesce to the presentation of the "Fantastic" and unbelievable elements if the people behave and the "Normal" technologies exist or respond within very believable parameters. This perceived reliance upon "Believability" when writing "Fantastic Literature" and the reluctance to force the audience/reader to utilize "Suspended Disbelief" is considered important because is is often assumed that there is only so much incredulity each reader can absorb in a single sitting. The laws of Physics or Chemistry can not nor should be canceled on a whim, unless the element of the "Fantastic" that is interjected into the "Normalicy" of the situation has that as a discoverable side effect of the "Fantastic" occurance! Furthermore, in regards to future potential story plot lines. Having a WWI Fighter as the plane used in the series flown by the "Scarecrow", as opposed to a WWII fighter would make the aircraft much slower, 100+ MPH, versus the 350-400 MPH for WWII fighters) more vulnerable, and consequently this vulnerability would potentially set-up future plausible "Dog Fights" in the air with "Witches" on brooms or the "Flying Monkeys"! It appears that neither of which flew any faster than 100 MPH, and if one interjects a WWII fighter into the equation, then it could cut through them like a proverbal buzz saw, and this would not lend itself to the drama and the potential excitement of a WWI "Dogfight"? So, I do see the connection between Mr. Farmer's "Barnstormer In OZ", via the WWI fighter pilot, to be a more viable plot alternative than the WWII fighter option because of several plot options it gives to the story, but of course I really know very little on this front, and have seen nothing difinitive except the British Science Fiction Magazine which stated the WWI fighter pilot alternative? One other factor, I will note that some people may be quizzical as to why Australia would produce a film about OZ? Mr. Baum's books were popular all over, and the 1939 classic was especially popular in Australia. I have even read reports that in 1939 as the Australian troops were marching to the ships to take them to war in WWII, they sang the songs from the Wizard of OZ, especially the song, "We're off to see the wizard"!