BDC is a writer for Jackeduptales.com
When I was in college in a land far away in a time that seems so long ago, I roomed with a man with the last name of Brooks. He swore to me at that time that he was kin to a fledgling author of the time, one Terry Brooks. Now, I didn't care if this was true. But I was impressed with the covers of the books his supposed kinfolk. For Terry Brooks produced one of the hottest new fantasy titles of the later seventies and on into the eighties; The Shannara Chronicles. I say covers because I never got to read any of them. But it was obvious to me that the series was quite popular because I saw them everywhere!
Let's move ahead to the present.
MTV, known back in the day as a music video channel, has been of late venturing out into all sorts of entertainment for the younger demographic. They spent the last couple of decades venturing mostly into 'reality tv' and the occasional cool Spider-man animation. So, when I saw on the internet that they had produced a live action show based on the 'Shannara Chronicles', I was already all in!
From the trailers, I had become engrossed in the amazing, geographical backdrops already. The scenery, to say the least, is stunning. What really peaked my attention was their presentation of the 'GREEN PUNK' style that surely was being true to the books. Green Punk (a style I've grown increasingly interested in) is simply a type of scifi akin to Steam Punk; only in this instance it shows a world that has survived us and has forsaken its technololgy for simpler living. In Shannara, we see a world that has 'evolved' into something Middle Earth-like. For now, instead of just humans, we get the tried and true races of fantasy; Elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes, Trolls, etc. Although, to be honest, the only 'Troll' we've seen so far is more like a post apocalyptic mutant wasteland roamer than the Trolls of D&D and the sort. The Elves are shown in the first few episodes in all of their regal glory. There is also a half-elf main character and a human druid.
The main characters are all young and vibrant which I am sure will please the MTV viewers. It focuses on the new generation trying to save their world while also reminding us of the ancient history these people have. The centuries old druid character is our anchor into that history. But even he, after a long 'Druid Sleep' is still not so old. However, against the other heroes, he may seem quite ancient at times. The appeal of this new series is the vast history that we have just scratched the surface of. As I said, this is a post apocalyptic world that has blossomed into something quite beautiful. However, something dark from their past returns to threaten them all. Unfortunately, most of the young in this story have become cynical and scoff at the mere mention of magic and demons.
“After the War of the Races, I believed that Magic had disappeared along with you and the Warlock Lord!” -Elven King, Eventine Elessedil
“Well, you tell that to your people when the 'fairy tales' are ripping out their throats!” -Druid, Allanon
The actors are engaging and, as I said earlier, are young and vibrant. The oldest and most accomplished actor is Gimli himself, John Rhys-Davies. He adds a bit of depth to the cast and seems at home in the fantasy genre. Austin Butler (Wil Ohmsford), who got his start with guest spots on Hanna Montana, plays an excellent naive half elf. Poppy Drayton ( Amberle Elessedil) is a relative new comer, but Ivana Baque, who plays the rover Eretria, can be remembered as the main character of the modern day fairy tale, Pan's Labyrnth. Manu Bennett who plays the Druid Allanon has been around a bit longer than the three young stars. He goes back to a one shot playing Marc Anthony on Zena, Warrior Princess. All in all, they are a rounded out cast and give us many looks at the characters and the world of the Shannara Chronicles.
The story is fast paced and doesn't take much of a breather anywhere which appealed to me and I think will appeal to the MTV crowd. It's different than anything I've seen in a while. The painstaking detail on the sets and the cinematic landscapes really make this story come alive. But the story itself if fully fleshed out with lots of twists and turns that you will probably not see coming. The visual graphics and realistic creatures add a dimension that really fills out the story and makes it come alive. An example is the blue fire on the torches during what looks like old school dungeon delving. If you like Tolkien or sword and sorcery fantasy of any sort, you really need to start watching this one! I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and believe that neither you, nor I will be disappointed.