I caught the pilot of The Shannara Chronicles this week and I was blown away.
It is based on Terry Brooks’ Elfstones of Shannara, which in my humble opinion, was the best novel in his original Shannara trilogy.
When I was young, I started reading fantasy and sci-fi like most boys and one of the first I read was the Hobbit, which was fantastic. Thinking Lord of the Rings would be similarly amazing, I started reading that trilogy. I struggled to get through Fellowship, and started Two Towers but wasn’t able to finish as I felt they were simply too boring! Keep in mind, I was a young kid and had the attention span of a gnat.
Then someone gave me a copy of Elfstones of Shannara for Christmas. I blew through the novel in two days, spending nearly ever waking moment pouring over the book. I honestly can’t remember what other stuff I got for Christmas that year, but Elfstones stuck with me and lead me to read his entire Shannara trilogy (back then, there was only one). Sword of Shannara was okay, but really reminded me of LOTR, while Wishsong of Shannara had similar elements to Elfstones and was a compelling read as well.
As for LOTR, I was able to read (and finish) the entire series years later, but it still didn’t seem as memorable as Brooks’ works had been.
Anyways, back to The Shannara Chronicles.
If I had to summarize it, I’d say it was great!
Sure, some things didn’t look similar to the artwork in the novel – Allanon for instance in the novel has long flowing jet black hair and wears a full length robe, while the demons were closer to dark, shadow-like beings. Wil Ohmsford was also already a Healer Wing Hove isn’t mentioned until near the end of the novel.
Overall though, it was pretty faithful to the source material without ruining it.
One of the biggest criticisms of the show is that everyone is a pretty looking 20-something, like many shows geared towards a younger audience.
However, in the novel, almost everyone – including all of the main characters – are teenagers or 20-somethings and described as stunningly beautiful/handsome, so the youth and good looks should be expected.
If you’re looking for some fun fantasy viewing, The Shannara Chronicles delivers.
Five out of five stars.