The Shannara Chronicles: When Elves March To War

A great, magical and mysterious tree is dying. This great construct is known throughout the Four Lands as the Ellcrys and it’s the only piece of magic that protects their from the Demon World. Princess Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton) is the only one who can save the tree and the world with it. She has to unlock ancient magic that her race haven’t used in thousands of years. With the help of resident pretty boy Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler), she travels to find the lost magic. This won’t be an easy mission because there will plenty of obstacles standing in her way. I watched the first four episodes of The Shannara Chronicles, and then immediately after, I wanted the rest. It was addictive and I needed another show like Merlin. Life hasn’t been the same since Merlin left our screens.The Shannara Chronicles is basically budget Lord Of The Rings with the mystery of Merlin. It even has a political storyline which can be a little similar to Game Of Thrones. Shannara Chronicles is CGI’d to the max but it makes enjoyable and entertaining television.

We follow Wil, this naive country boy who leaves his home in hope of adventure or to experience some of the world but also because he hears what happened to his father who died in a war. This is a father who he barely knew. Then we have the young Princess Amberle who was orphaned and told by everyone she is destined for greatness. She also faces a mystical trial at the end of the season. If she loses, she embraces her fear. If she wins, she accepts who she is. Star Wars much? Wil is essentially playing Luke and Amberle is playing Leia with parts of Luke with supernatural trial (Degobah?). I also thought of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and BBC’s Merlin when watching this. Elves, magic, druids, kings, castles, battles. It has the components of what could be a great fantasy series.

Princess Amerle (Poppy Drayton) and Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) (MTV's The Shannara Chronicles)

Princess Amerle (Poppy Drayton) and Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler)
(MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles)

It’s your textbook fantasy with some added twists. We have dead parents, flawed heroes, questionable morals, our turncloaks and characters who unlock their own potential through their experiences on a quest. Their experiences being when their loyalties and friendships are put to the test to save one another from predictable mortal danger. Let’s not forget to add the stereotypical lives already being dictated. Characters not having any choice in the matter. This is your destiny and you must fulfill it. The Shannara Chronicles could be something big. It has the potential to be as popular as The Hunger Games. It’s based on a 1982 novel and aimed at young adults who would be accustomed with dystopian series like Divergent, The Hunger Games or even James Dashner’s Maze Runner. Finally, there’s looming apocalypse that they’ll avoid in the nick of time because you know?

The thing about this show is that you’ll either love it or hate it. There is no middle ground. Especially with the scenes when Butler’s pouty eyed Wil seems to find himself naked with different characters on a number of occasions. For people who like fantasy, I couldn’t guess whether you’ll love it or hate it. If you can get past the cringey romance between Wil and Amberle than you could probably watch this show with some enjoyment. The romance and cringe-worthy characters in Shannara Chronicles aren’t as bad as that on the CW. I suppose its overshadowed with CGI’d demons as well as the presence of Jonathan Rhys-Davies (Lord Of The Rings) as well as Manu Bennett (The Hobbit). Shows of this nature tend to have one or two big stars to act as an appeal to watch the show, and that’s what drew me to watch this show. Not surprisingly, Bennett steals the show but the it is good in its own right, in a weird sort of way. As long as you don’t expect too much from it, you might even like it.

Allannon (Bennett) and King Eventine (Rhys-Davies)

Allannon (Bennett) and King Eventine (Rhys-Davies) (MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles)

Bennett plays this druid who has lived for centuries and to be honest, he’s a bit of a badass. He reminds me of McCoy’s Radagast The Brown in The Hobbit Trilogy as he’s one with nature. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea but he does what he does for the good of the realm. The performances from the cast are nothing more than average and the sets are CGI heavy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it looks pretty good. Everything about this series is either good or mediocre but it somehow got me hooked enough to watch all ten episodes. We are also witness to some great fight scenes and I really liked the final battle yet the final episode felt rushed.

This show full of mystery, mysticism and magic. I enjoyed it and took it for it was. I tried not to compare it to, too many of my other fantasy fandoms because I know it doesn’t match up. Everything about it is good and only good, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch. The cast is okay and I look forward to the next season.