Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: The Shannara Chronicles

Terry Brooks is my all-time favorite writer, and the Elfstones of Shannara is my all-time favorite book.  I'd go as far to say that it is the best book ever written, and the book that cemented me as a life-long Brooks fan.  There have been several times in the past when the rights to turn the story into a movie have been bought, but nothing ever came from such projects.  Until now.

MTV has debuted The Shannara Chronicles, which is currently airing every Tuesday and will consist of 10 episodes, adapting the Elfstones and, hopefully, setting up further seasons adapting other books.  So, now I can review the first 2 episodes and give my thoughts about the show.

First, the good: The visuals are stunning! They have gone to a great length giving this world a unique fantasy feel.  It has a great mix of classic fantasy and post-apocalyptic background.  This really expresses the magic of Brook's world, and separates it from other fantasy stories.
Also, the acting is super!  The characters really come to life, at least so far.  The actors have the look and feel of the book characters, as far as I'm concerned.  With the exception of Amberle not having the bright red hair I picture her with.
Finally, the show is full of action and suspense.  The villains are deadly and scary and there is danger around every corner!  You get the feel that the good guys don't have a chance!

Now the bad:  Apparently the original story is too full of drama and characterization, so the writers of the TV series decided to change it.  The plot is totally different, with the plot and settings changed a lot. It's still a good, dramatic story. But it isn't (so far) as exciting or interesting as the book.  It begs the question: when you're working with the greatest book ever written, why would you change so much?  It seems to me it would be smarter to change as little as possible.  Apparently, Brooks is okay with the changes.  But still, to me this is allowing inferior writers to mess with perfection.  Bah! I say!

Oh, well.  I'm still enjoying things.  Just not as much as I could.  Hopefully this show encourages a new generation to pick up some Shannara books, so they can see why they are so great!

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