THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES Season One
released 6 June 2015-2016 | 15 | Blu-ray/dVd
Creators alfred Gough, Miles Millar Cast austin Butler, Poppy drayton, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett
What a pretty little show this is. Its makers obviously decided to make it look as attractive as they possibly can to enchant its young MTV audience, and so every member of the main cast is as cute as a button – their perfect hair, wide eyes and pouty lips are almost supernaturally gorgeous. The costumes are beautiful. And as for the scenery – well, there’s a reason this series is shot in New Zealand. Mountains, trees, rivers, more trees... Middle-earth was hardly ugly, and neither is this.
So, yes, The Shannara Chronicles is nice to look at. But is it any good? Nope.
Based (very) loosely on Terry Brooks’s saga The Elfstones Of Shannara, it rips off Tolkien to an almost embarrassing extent, only with a Californian surfer dude as its hero instead of a Hobbit. Austin Butler’s half-elf Will becomes embroiled in a quest to save the Earth, alongside the neverknowingly uncorseted elf Amberle (Poppy Drayton) and “bad girl with a heart of gold” human Eretria (Ivana Baquero). This quest involves human/elf fighting, elf/elf fighting, gnome/elf fighting, trolls fighting anyone, and a horde of demons who didn’t make the cut for Peter Jackson’s films.
Not only have you seen all this before, you can practically talk along with it. The only twist is that Shannara is a post-apocalyptic world, so there are glimpses of things such as the Golden Gate Bridge to liven things up.
However, despite all the downsides, if you want nothing more from your TV-viewing than eye candy, familiarity and the odd amusing quip, chances are you’ll love it. It is pretty, after all.
Extras None. Jayne Nelson
In the worst/best moment, some human farmers screen Star Trek: The Motion Picture and boo Spock’s elf-like ears.
The threesome was going all sorts of wrong.