Last night was the first episode of The Shannara Chronicles on MTV. When I heard that MTV was making a show based on the Terry Brooks novels, I was a little annoyed. I figured it would be quite terrible and probably not even worth checking out. Then I saw a few previews and read some reviews and it sounded like the show was actually pretty good. I decided to check it out.
The first episode was definitely pretty good. Instead of going with the first novel, The Sword of Shannara, the story is following the second, The Elfstones of Shannara. This is probably a wise move, since the first book was basically a carbon copy of Lord of the Rings, in just a condensed manner. Elfstones was a good bit different, I mean, you still have some basic plot stuff, it is a hero quest type story, but there are definitely aspects of that book that set it apart.
One of those was always the way Wil Ohmsford comes off. Unlike his grandfather, Shea, who was a reluctant hero placed in a situation much bigger than him. Wil was almost prepared for it, but only because of his desire to want to become a great healer. He had studied with the Gnomes and seemed quite worldly and prepared for just about anything. It’s been so long since I read it that it is hard to remember.
Anyways, back to the show. Here are my stray observations…
-You can tell that it is an MTV show geared towards youngsters. The books may have dealt with characters having feelings for each other, but there was not a whole lot of making out or anything. Not complaining, just something you have to expect when the show is aimed at teens with raging hormones.
-The dialogue and acting can be a bit clunky at times. There were definitely a few of those moments where a character would say something and I would think, wow, put some emotion into it. Or, wow, what emotion is that guy going for here? Eventine’s sons come to mind. I could not tell if the next in line prince was angry or happy or sad. You almost expect that from a pilot though, so I will be lenient (remember how stiff the acting was on the pilot of House?).
-The Four Lands look amazing. There were plenty of shots of the entire land that looked great. It was a little odd that they chose to show the Space Needle during the opening montage. Same with the rusty helicopter. It was always cool in the books when they would describe stuff and the reader had to try and guess what it could be from our time. Especially when you did not know that the books were set in our future. I guess a television show cannot do that.
-Demons! For a show with probably minimal budget, the demons looked great. The Dagda Mor and Changeling were creepy and not at all ridiculous looking.
-Allanon. Manu Bennett has been fantastic in everything I have seen. And he is just as great in this. What I love is that this was not how I picture Allanon at all and yet I love it. I guess in the first book, I just assumed he was an old Gandalf-esque wizardy guy. He is a Druid, he wears long robes and does magic. Instead, the show went with Bennett, who is intimidating and mysterious, but also looks completely badass. I mean, I can actually picture him fighting some demons during the War of the Forbidding.
Hopefully I can continue to keep watching this, since we do not have DVR and I am not sure MTV shows are on Hulu, it could be difficult.