A fantasy TV series on MTV? Based on a semi-popular young teens’ novels? There is no way this could turn out to be any good. Guess what folks? The Shannara Chronicles is actually a surprisingly, wondrously great tale steeped in its magical lore of elvish fantasy. Created by Terry Brooks as a young readers fantasy series, the novels have been brought to life on the small screen.
A tale of a defiant, but strong-willed, elvish princess Amberle (Poppy Drayton) who defies traditions to become a scout warrior to her father’s kingdom. Much to the dismay of many of the male elves that tried to stop her, she persevered with her undying strength of heart to prove she, too, is a worthy elf.
But there is an evil darkness that grows restless and is becoming more bold in their efforts to regain strength in the Four Lands. This is when the epic action of the story takes place as armies must face armies to vanquish any and all evil that threatens the 4 lands. The Elvish tree, known as the Ellcrys, is dying and Amberle is called upon to unlock magic that the Elves haven’t used in thousands of years. With the help of Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler), she travels to find the that lost magic.
The cast is top-notch with some well-known actors mixed in, along with a crop of upcoming young talent. CGI effects used, looks like they cost tons of money, with top production given to gorgeously done cinematic scenes of this exquisite new world. What the show was lacking in the more practical effects of creatures, make-up, and sets in the first half of the season, look to have gotten much better for the second half. Sets and costume designs are not spared any expense either, which does give the show plenty of depth. Having a good fan following will pull more production money in future seasons, hopefully, since the second half of the series is looking to be much larger and more explosive with action. Yes, I do feel The Shannara Chronicles will do very well with teens, especially fans who stick around and gave this show a chance. You will be in for some fantastic television as the newest official MTV trailer (bottom) shows.
It may not be as hard-core fantasy as say Lord of the Rings, but Shannara seems to come very close and hold its own. What does help the most is having heavyweight dramatic actors – Manu Bennett (Spartacus) and John Rhys-Davies, who played the troll Gimli in the original LOTR movies. The younger cast really ‘bring it’ to a fantasy set, which can be ridiculously hard to do, but the professional veterans help keep everyone focused.
I like what I’ve seen so far out of the first half season of episodes and I was truly shocked this was better than other shows like Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, who are not using as much production value for a massive following. At first I was saying I would only watch as long as Manu keeps showing his greatness as a warrior actor, but I do admit, this show is not too bad and the second half looks even more amazing. I love that the lead heroine, princess Amberle Elessedil, is a fiercely strong role, which is very intriguing to me to see how she continues to grow. The fight between armies of darkness is looking grand and the magic we are seeing, with special effects that rival a motion picture, keep it very ‘cool’. I do call this a hit TV show that you should not be missing.
Rating: 4 out of 5