July 31, 2019

The Shannara Chronicles

A couple of years ago, I watched the first season of The Shannara Chronicles, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I told several of my friends to watch it. At the time, I would have said it was one of my favorite shows. I waited eagerly for the second season. There was a slight delay between seasons 1 and 2 due to the series moving networks (from MTV to Spike). When I finally watched the second season, I was pretty disappointed. Let’s get into it (some light spoilers ahead).

The Main Characters (Season 1)

  • Amberle – The princess of the elves. She is one of the Chosen, a group that is tasked with protecting the Ellcrys tree.
  • Wil – A young man with Shannara blood. He is the last of the bloodline. He is given three Elfstones, which allow him to use magic. Wil is half-human and half-elf, which he tries to cover up.
  • Eretria – A human woman who was raised by a group of traveling thieves called Rovers. She becomes an ally to Wil and Amberle.
  • Allanon – The last remaining Druid. He has been in a Druid Sleep for a very long time, which has allowed him to remain alive for more than 300 years, even though he is a human. He wakes from his sleep and helps the main characters on their journey to save the Ellcrys.
  • Dagda Mor – The “big bad” of the season. He had once been an Elven druid that was corrupted and turned into a demon. The Dagda Mor and his demons were sealed away when the Ellcrys was created. He gains strength as the Ellcrys dies.
  • Bandon – A young elf seer. Allanon begins to train him to use his powers for good, but the Dagda Mor tries to turn him to the dark side. Allanon wants him to become the next druid.
  • Ander – Amberle’s uncle. After the death of his father and brother, he becomes king of the elves. He doesn’t want to be king at first but ends up determined to fight for his people.

Season 1 Plot

The show takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that has been divided up into the “Four Lands”. The Four Lands consist of a variety of races, including humans, elves, gnomes, trolls, and dwarves. A good portion of the story takes place in the elven kingdom. The elves created the Ellcrys tree to seal the Dagda Mor and other demons in another dimension. As the Ellcrys loses strength, demons begin to cross back over into the world. Amberle, Wil, and Eretria team up and must go on a journey to try to save the Ellcrys from dying and unleashing evil on their world.

My Thoughts on The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first season of The Shannara Chronicles. The scenery was one of my favorite parts of the show. It was filmed in New Zealand, and some of the views we were shown were absolutely stunning. I thought the show did a pretty good job of setting up the story and introducing us to the characters. I will admit, however, that I never really got super attached to any of the characters. Sometimes the young adult relationship drama got to be a little much, but it wasn’t a major focus of all of the episodes. The main story was what I enjoyed the most. I like fantasy, and this show had a lot of it. This show has magic, elves, druids, gnomes, trolls, demons, and an important quest. The Shannara Chronicles gives us some good battles, and it also doesn’t shy away from killing off characters. The show is based in a future version of our world, and there are some neat little things that pop up every now and then once the characters get further on their journey. One of my favorite nods to our world is when some characters find an old video of Star Trek and are fascinated by it. However, the “real-world” stuff definitely takes a backseat to the “fantasy” stuff, so the “real-world” stuff is more of a treat when it comes up. Overall, if you are into fantasy stories, I think you should check out the first season of the Shannara Chronicles. I think the story concludes on a satisfying enough note that you could watch the first season and skip the second if you really wanted.

Season 2 Plot

Season 2 takes place a year after the events of the first season. Wil is working as a healer, and Eretria is living with a group of humans led by a friend of her mother. Eretria has been living happily with her girlfriend, Lyria, but she thinks of Wil and Amberle often. An extremist group called The Crimson has formed, killing anyone who uses magic. Bandon’s goal is to resurrect the Warlock Lord, another evil druid. He finds out that he needs Wil to complete the ritual. Wil teams up with a young woman named Mareth, who is looking for Allanon. Wil, Mareth, Eretria, and Allanon must try to prevent Bandon from summoning the Warlock Lord and also try to stop The Crimson’s reign of terror.

My Thoughts on The Shannara Chronicles Season 2

Season 2 of The Shannara Chronicles didn’t seem thought out as well as the first. I think the creators tried to fit too much plot into too few episodes. For example, there are simply too many “bad guys” this season to share just 10 episodes. There are some character reveals that seemed forced due to no buildup or poor explanation. This season seems more “tropy” than the first. Also, the beautiful scenery I mentioned in the first season? It doesn’t seem to make as much of an appearance this time, unfortunately. The episodes weren’t as exciting this season. I wasn’t really interested in this season until the final few episodes. The very last scene was irritating to me, and I thought it would have been better without it. Overall, season 2 of The Shannara Chronicles was disappointing considering how good the first season was. The show was canceled after the second season. I feel like moving networks between season 1 and 2 probably had something to do with why the second season was so much worse than the first. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.

The Source Material

The Shannara Chronicles is based on the second book (The Elfstones of Shannara) in The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks. I haven’t read any of the books in the series, but I might pick them up one day. If you are interested, there is a recommended reading order for all of the Shannara books on Terry Brook’s website. If you have read the books, let me know your thoughts. Did you like the show? Does it do the books justice? Which do you think is better? Let me know!

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