Chronicles of Shannara Review: Episode One

Originally posted 2016-01-07 17:00:27.

MTV aired it’s first episode of The Chronicles of Shannara last night and for the most part I am impressed. I didn’t go into it thinking MTV would stick totally to the book because it’s “based on” the books and it would take forever to stick to the story completely. I was curious that they didn’t start with the first book in the series The Sword of Shannara. Anyone who is a fan of the books knows the controversy surrounding them. There are many who think Brooks stole his ideas from Tolkien’s Lord the the Rings series and didn’t do them justice with his writing. Let’s face it. Every book, movie or game with an elf, troll or dwarf has taken some of Tolkien’s ideas. That’s supposed to happen to subject matter that people love. I’m a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and you could say the same for Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer and even the CW Network. They have used Stoker’s ideas and created a world of their own which include vampires. This is a good thing.

Let’s start with the cast of Shannara. At first I was a bit put off by how young everyone was. Young and very sexy. To sexy ? The style is very 80’s. I don’t know. I’m still unsure if I like how the elves are portrayed. I do like the actors chosen for the parts. Poppy Drayton was wonderful in her role as Amberle the elf princess. I completely enjoyed her character. King Eventine Elessedil played by Gimli ! Actually his name is John Rhys-Davies and he was really good as well. I’m sure many of us recognized him from The Lord of the Rings. Then there is Austin Butler who plays Will. Again I thought the actor did a great job. Last but definitely not least there is Allanon. This is where I “fangirled” out. Manu Bennett ! I doubt many people would recognize him from The Lord of the Rings where he was cast as Azog the Defiler (due to makeup and all), he was also Crixus in the Starz television series Spartacus. I’m a huge fan of the Spartacus series and so I was glad to see him again. It’s funny,when we read a book we get a picture of what the characters look like in our minds. We become familiar with our idea of that character and of course that’s one of the reasons reading is so fantastic ! I never pictured Allanon looking like Crixus but more of a Aragorn looking fella. Nevertheless I am thrilled to see Manu Bennett in this role and he did an awesome job !

The show moved along very well and the scenery was pretty spectacular. The series was filmed in New Zealand as I think every fantasy movie has been. The rolling green hills and seaside views are perfect for a fantasy land ! Then there is The Ellcrys. The magical tree that keeps the demons at bay. How beautiful ! In an interview Poppy Drayton said the first time she saw it she cried. I can understand why. It’s very majestic ! A couple things that bothered me about the scenery is Paranor should have been more like a castle surrounded by thorns. It was mor elike a garden with a few solid rooms. Also the way they hinted to the fact that this world is actually 2000 after our world. The shows starts out with an elven gauntlet and a young man living in a small hovel with his mum and uncle. Very fantasy genre-ish. A few scenes later you have a weirdo in a gas mask shoved directly into your face. Although the story takes place in our future after a nuclear war…you don’t really get that feeling. My husband who hasn’t read any of the books was confused when he saw the gas masks. I had to explain the setting. I wish they would have helped viewers along with the timeline a bit more.

All in all it was a good start to a greatly anticipated series. I’m excited to see how it plays out. MTV has posted the next two episodes on their webpage for anyone who wants to watch ahead. I think I might just keep to the Tuesday schedule as I’m currently in a “showhole” now that The Walking Dead is done for the season ! Here is the link for the website if you’d like to check out the show or even watch ahead. Go here to watch. Also if you aren’t familiar with the series and want to know more about the characters there is a handy wiki with all of those details here.