Friday, February 23, 2018

TV Review: 'The Shannara Chronicles' Season 2

Title:  The Shannara Chronicles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, IMDB, Wikipedia)

Season two of The Shannara Chronicles follows the continuing adventures of Wil Ohmsford, Eretria, and the Druid Allanon as they must confront a new and returning evil to the Four Lands.  The seer Bandon has been seduced by an evil thought dead and works to resurrect the Warlock Lord to bring darkness and pain to all across the world.

The first season of The Shannara Chronicles was loosely based on The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  While the book's sequel The Wishsong of Shannara takes place some three decades later and focuses on the adventures of Wil and Eretria's children, the show's second season completely deviates from the source material.  Bringing in elements from Wishsong, The Sword of Shannara, and The First King of Shannara, the series created a new adventure bringing back the excellent cast from season one.  As with the first season, the story, world building, and characters were all highlights making for 10 very enjoyable episodes in a world that begs to be explored.  That's what works so well in The Shannara Chronicles.

What doesn't work is the deviation from the source material, the changes of how far into the future this world exists (this was setup in season one), and the very modern dialogue that can take you out of the environment of the story.  Adaptations don't need to exactly follow their source material, but it helps especially when said material is so rich.  I completely understand not wanting to ditch this cast for an all-new one in season two but in not following the source material the show runners cherry picked elements from other books and mashed them together to varying degrees of success.  Now to be fair, I went into this series knowing and loving the world that Brooks had created so I have no idea how this season played out to those unfamiliar with the story as it was written.  Also to be fair, I'm picking at nits.  Overall this has been a great show, one that I hope will continue into season three but it looks like it probably won't.

As a fan of the world of Shannara, I hope that this series shows producers in Hollywood that these books are ripe for the picking to make lush and epic fantasy adventures for the big or small screens.  If not, we've always got the books, which reminds me I need to get back to re-reading them. 

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