The Shannara Chronicles is a fantasy tv series featuring humans, elves, gnomes, trolls and demons. Aimed at young teens, the show is produced by MTV and has been airing since January 2016 – I managed to catch up and coming in without expectations I find The Shannar Chronicles to be interesting enough to keep watching, but also very cliched and unoriginal. 

the shannara chronicles tv show screenshot with fury demon

Based on one book from the very popular and successful book series written by Terry Brooks, The Shannara Chronicles follows Amberle an elven princess, Wil a half elf, half human and  Eretria a human as they try to save the Ellcrys tree which is dying with the guidance of Allonon who is the last druid. The Ellcrys tree is the only thing stopping the “four lands” from falling into the hands of the demons.

The film boasts what I can only presume to be a limitless special effects budget, with our heroes traversing though epic landscapes and fighting demons in all their cgi glory. Luckily, there is also a good mix of actual costumes and make-up used for important characters, and I find the gnome race to be very well crafted in this area. The show also aims to gain popularity by almost exclusively using ridiculously beautiful people.

There are many scenes of topless hunks sporting underwear-model fit abs, and a few teasing glimpses of the female actresses getting nude. With the sex box ticked, the show also delivers on blood and guts, with decapitated head on sticks as well as some horror-movie level monster scenes. Violence wise, the combat is fairly average, with no fight scenes sticking out.

The script feels forced, and I can’t decide if the cast are great actors trying their best with a terrible script, or if the cast are average actors giving wooden performances of a barely passable script. Despite having such huge, creative source material, the script is dumbed down heavily, almost as if trying to apologise to normal viewers that they are watching a series set in the fantasy genre.

Despite all these shortcomings, I still find myself coming back to watch the next episode. The show certainly picks up after a while, and if you can accept the teenage love triangle cliches, the story is solid for fantasy lovers. The show has also received high praise from other reviewers and is even nominated for awards. I hope that it is able to get a good rating because I think it will be in later seasons that it will blossom into it’s own, once the fantasy world and setting has been set.

  • NeilW

    I caught 10 minutes of an episode of this last night. Terry Brooks was always on my list to read, but other things always got ahead of him in the queue. I’m not sure how representative of his writing the
    TV series is.

    So, on the basis of 10 minutes, I noted a number of things.

    It looks terrific – production value is high, with sets, costumes, makeup, locations (both real and CGI) and effects all showing a lot of money spent on them;

    With the exception of John Rhys Davies (Gimli in Lord Of The Rings) I didn’t recognise anyone
    except one fellow who might have been in the Spartacus TV series. Davies, who must have appeared in about 95% of all fantasy movie/TV series ever made, is sporting such gleaming white gnashers that I wanted to move to Shannara immediately in order to take advantage of their superior dentistry:

    About every 30 seconds someone came out with a name which, unless you’d been watching it from
    the start, you didn’t know, and this made it impossible to follow. Most of the names seemed to be consonant A consonant A consonant A – Rabada,Tagara, Famasa – an easy formula to work to, but
    an impossibility for the casual viewer;

    The action was OK, but the script was poor – Lord Of The Rings-lite, formulaic sword and sorcery tosh.

    I should love this stuff, but my 10 minute toe-dip isn’t exactly calling me back. I think Harriet’s comments are on the money, but perhaps you need to do a box-set binge in order to get up to speed.

  • NeilW

    I caught 10 minutes of an episode of this last night. Terry Brooks was always on my list to read, but other things always got ahead of him in the queue. I’m not sure how representative of his writing the
    TV series is.

    So, on the basis of 10 minutes, I noted a number of things.

    It looks terrific – production value is high, with sets, costumes, makeup, locations (both real and CGI) and effects all showing a lot of money spent on them;

    With the exception of John Rhys Davies (Gimli in Lord Of The Rings) I didn’t recognise anyone
    except one fellow who might have been in the Spartacus TV series. Davies, who must have appeared in about 95% of all fantasy movie/TV series ever made, is sporting such gleaming white gnashers that I wanted to move to Shannara immediately in order to take advantage of their superior dentistry:

    About every 30 seconds someone came out with a name which, unless you’d been watching it from
    the start, you didn’t know, and this made it impossible to follow. Most of the names seemed to be consonant A consonant A consonant A – Rabada,Tagara, Famasa – an easy formula to work to, but
    an impossibility for the casual viewer;

    The action was OK, but the script was poor – Lord Of The Rings-lite, formulaic sword and sorcery tosh.

    I should love this stuff, but my 10 minute toe-dip isn’t exactly calling me back. I think Harriet’s comments are on the money, but perhaps you need to do a box-set binge in order to get up to speed.