The Shannara Chronicles – Review

 

Terry Brooks’ book The Elfstones of Shannara (Book 2 of the Shannara Trilogy) has recently been adapted for television by MTV
Here’s what we thought of it…

There will be spoilers.

Ellcrys

The premise is this.

Set on Earth in a distant future where man has all but destroyed themselves and evolution has progressed into four lands each home to different creatures (Elves, Humans, Dwarfs, Trolls, Gnomes, Druids and Demons) For centuries the demons have been imprisoned within the Ellcrys (the red tree pictured above)
But now the Ellcrys is dying, with every leaf that falls within the elven kingdom another demon is released from a prison realm.
The fate of the world lies upon the shoulders of Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton) who is the last of the Chosen. She along with Will Ohmsford (Austin Butler) must travel to Safe Hold a fabled land where she will discover her destiny.
Soon enough they collide with Eretria (Ivana Baquero) a Human Rover (a thief), who ends up being integral to the mission.

The Main Three.
So that’s the premise and now here is what we think…
The menage a trois

HIM: The Shannara Chronicles was long waited for and when it started it didn’t disappoint, good visuals, lots of drama right from the start and although there was CGI it didn’t take over the scenery. The dynamic of the three main characters was a good development, but the best thing were the pretty people, Poppy Drayton is very pretty and Ivana Bequero isn’t painful to look at either, also Catania (and she does look better blonde than naturally black haired) .
I did wish that they just got over the idea that Will loved both of them and let the menage a trois happen – not saying we needed to see a threesome, but to just let them all be with each other, this is supposed to be a futuristic land, surely they would have gotten past the monogamy or die idea.
SHE did mention early on that Amberle kept getting them into trouble and then saying “But I’m a Princess”. As if that made it alright.
MAJOR PLOT SPOILER – The biggest flaw to the entire story was that they travel all the way to Safe Hold, through deadly encounters, thieves, dangerous lands and devious double crossers  plenty, to finally make it to the stained glass window and Eretira sacrifices herself to open the Blood Fire so Amberle could step inside to learn her fate.
And what did fate tell her? That she was already the seed and she didn’t need to leave the Ellcrys at all, so the journey was completly pointless. So they rush back to the Elven land in half an episode when it took ten episodes to get there. Also they bring Eretira back to life using Will’s Stones (which he had never managed to do properly before), only to leave her in the tunnel to fight a army of Trolls. So what did they achieve by leaving, nothing except to allow the demons time to prepare and start the war and them to get back and save the lands, just in time.

8/10
Oh look Will took his shirt off!

HER:  Ok where to start?
All in all I liked this show, so don’t take the negatives as a ‘I don’t like it’ but rather there were some bits and pieces that just kind of irritated me.
Firstly the location was gorgeous! It kind of added to the whole Lord of the Ringsy vibe that I was getting, obviously some of the actors did as well (John Rhys-Davies and Manu Bennett)
I haven’t read the books (yet) so I cant say how accurate this was in comparison but if this was anything to go by I would be interested in reading them.

The show as a whole was good, I found myself more interested in the minor characters though, rather than the main three.
I think maybe if instead of every episode Will, Amberle and Eretira got into a new mess or problem there was some more focus on what was happening in the Elven Kingdom or more depth to the characters as a whole.
I found Will to be one of the most annoying characters which really didn’t help, Can he not keep a top on for fuck sake?!?! I think the longest he kept his top on was for 22 minutes of a 40 minute show. I mean apart from that I just found him greedy and misogynistic, from the very first episode where he slept with Eretira he spent the rest of the season ping-ponging back and forth between the two women. However when Eretira tried to come on to Amberle she was painted in a slutty way? I don’t know, I don’t see how or why he should have been a likable person.
The only main character that seemed to have a purpose and grow throughout the season was Eretira, who from the begging started in a comfortable position but risked and lost pretty much everything she had and was. Amberle I found a bit wishy washy and a pampered princess which was not the way she painted to begin with.

As for the plot, it could have been a lot more epic and oomphy, if only they had focused more on the Elvens and especially on Allanon or Bandon, then we would have had more substance. It’s like watching Lord of the Ring but only focussing on Frodo. We never learnt anything about the demons, why they had been imprisoned in the first place, who they were before being captured, etc. Also more back story of the King and the Princes would have been interesting. When it started there were glimpses of these stories, that never were explored.

But for all these negative I still looked forward each week to the next episode and I hope that there will be a second season, I just hope it manages to focus more on others rather than all on Will’s abs!

7/10
Bandon dreaming of a large glass of wine!
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