The big question: can MTV handle Terry Brooks’ work and do it justice?
The answer: we’re still trying to decide. There are a lot of divided opinions out there about The Shannara Chronicles, largely centered around how faithful it was to the books. And while it’s sometimes hard to get past that compare-and-contrast mentality, take a moment to consider the show on its own strengths and failings.
Because it’s for a young adult audience, you might find that it’s a little romance-heavy and too focused on pretty people. It’s also a little cheesy. But it’s got good CGI, costuming, visual settings, and makeup, which, if nothing else, makes for a very pretty show. If it seems too-pretty, dumbed down, and not gritty enough, well, take it as such. It’s not exactly high-brow art, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, fun flick to watch after a long day at work or school.
The story follows Wil Ohmsford, a half-elf, half-human who just wants to settle down and study healing. Instead, he gets reluctantly swept up on an adventure to save the dying tree, Ellycrys, which protects the Four Lands (present-day Seattle, far in the future) from demon invasion. Human thief Eretria, druid Allanon, and elven princess Amberle (the only one who can communicate with Ellycrys) are Wil’s companions on this quest, and none of them want much to do with this mission, either. It’s very much a tale of reluctant, foot-dragging protagonists, each a little jaded and disbelieving of the heroism and magic of the previous generation of heroes (one of whom happens to be Wil’s grandfather, another of which was Allanon himself).
Cue a set of grumpy young people shepherded and scolded by a grouchy druid embarking on a quest across a post-apocalyptic Washington state in search of a magical tree and in possession of a handful of magical pebbles.
If you’re looking for an accurate retelling of Terry Brooks’ work, then you’re probably going to be disappointed in this show. If, however, you’re looking for a fun time, pretty imagery, a fantasy kick, or an easy form of entertainment (and hey, no shame there!), The Shannara Chronicles is one to watch.