SyFy’s new version of ALICE really was such a radical reinterpretation that it shares nothing more than some character names with the works of Lewis Carroll. Okay, and a similarly wonky worldview.
The-powers-that-be really did just use the names and vague characteristics as a jumping-off point for something completely different. One could look at it as exploiting the name recognition to sell an unrelated product. Unlike the already-classic reimagining of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA — which was another interpretation of the same material — Alice is a completely new and unrelated story that just happens to have co-opted some familiar trappings.
However, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. While great swathes of it were too derivative to be interesting, and aped other, better work. Something about how it all clung together was charming. Okay, so the army of the Suits looked way too much like Agents from the Matrix flicks (and shared a similar distinct lack of personality). But they were just inconsequential canon fodder. And the new story had aspirations. It wanted to be a comment on the cult of instant gratification we all live in nowadays. But the message was buried under a bit too much artifice — one might say it was almost distorted in a funhouse mirror. The miniseries itself packed four episodes into two nights; can one image a show about instant gratification expecting viewers to return over the course of four weeks to receive its wisdom?
Of course, the hokey cliches were impossible to dodge. Another world with an underground “resistance” battling despotic, corporate rulers? ALICE might have tried to be bold and tell an allegory about terrorism (like BSG so bravely did with its “New Caprica” storyline), but that probably would have run counter to the idea of instant gratification, as it would have required lots of thinking to properly enjoy.