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The show sputters along, never quite finding its footing between the stakes of a collapsing fantasy universe and a soapy teen drama.
The fact that the mostly inert The Shannara Chronicles is utterly familiar on both levels is a reminder that a truly vibrant fantasy story requires some sort of invention.
It doesn't help that the characters seem to be allowed to switch from talking dour fantasy-novel heroes to bored millennials whenever the mood strikes them - perhaps something that might have to do with this being MTV.
Fantasy stories tend to risk the ridiculous to achieve the sublime. But The Shannara Chronicles almost always lands on the wrong side of that divide.
The world-building is imaginative and impressive, but the mythology is exhausting to keep up with, especially when the reward is basically a romance-novel version of The Lord of the Rings, complete with courtly hand-kissing and sexy elfin bubble baths.
The truth is, genre-loving families and fantasy fans who want to travel to another world but don't want to fork over the admission to a multiplex (or a premium channel) could do worse than this.
The world is rich and mesmerizing, the characters are instantly compelling, and enough mystery is set up from the beginning that you'll want to stick around to see your questions answered.
It's not easy to make a show that appeals to fans and non-fans alike when you're talking about a world as fleshed out as Shannara -- but I think this show has it's heart in the right place.
The show is pretty good and despite the fact that it's intended audience is probably significantly younger than me... I enjoy the drama that unfolds in each episode.
Whatever visual beauty this pretender to Game of Thrones' high fantasy throne does possess is undone by wooden performances, formulaic execution and dialogue so howlingly bad it resembles subpar fan fiction.
The Shannara Chronicles can't help but show off how cool its various magical storylines are, and in doing so it shows off its shortcomings. Its characters are fairly weak, with the exception of Manu Bennet's Allanon, though its setting is gorgeous.
Audience Reviews for The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1
May 22, 2020Season 1 - First, I had never read the books, but was really enjoying the first season, until it was revealed that Amberle, one of two of my favorite characters, had to become the Ellcrys. Then I lost interest. I eventually managed to finish it, because I want to continue onward to season 2. I can forgive a lot, the fact that it is supposed to be set centuries after the fall of modern civilization and that things like weapons are still around. I can't forgive turning Amberle, into a tree. Other things that annoyed me and dropped the rate from a 4 to a 2 is the ending battle. The demons don't seem to be that formidable and the elf lack of tactics is dumbfounding. They exist the things call WALL that helped an army defend.
Feb 21, 2020They changed basically everything that happened in the books other than the characters names and invented others. It felt way to long and drawn out as well, even if it would have been something new for the shannara series idk if i could watch it.
Jan 24, 2020Excellent start to the series. Very engaging. Compelling characters. The remnance of human civilization doesn't make a lot of sense with how long it's supposedly been, how much some things have changed but others are preserved so well. I also fear they'll never explain many things but still a very enjoyable show.
Jan 18, 2020Forget the Game of Thrones stuff, this is more Tolkien. Never read the books but really enjoyed it. The only issue is it's a bit too teen soap with all the brooding and the soppy music. The story is the thing here and if you concentrate on that, then this ain't bad at all
Dec 21, 2019Fresh, exciting, bold, dreamy, adventurous. I just fell in love with it after a few minutes and I don't think there's saving me. The Shannara Chronicles, despite its being canceled is a show I always love coming back to and rewatching it.
Sep 09, 2019A decent adaptation of the renown fantasy novel. Several scenes are obviously too low budget to be taken entirely serious (or maybe its the MTV "tweens" influence, idk) but other senes look incredible. I'd say its a good watch for those looking for a lesser Game of Thrones.
Jul 26, 2019Good idea but sadly underdeveloped and plagued by poor writing and editing decisions. Such a rich world is sloppily treated and the moments of "tension" do not feel like there is any risk to the characters and the villains are so powerful but ignore their powers that should have made them win easily within one or two episodes. It's still an OK story if you can avoid getting frustrated by the general incompetence of the characters.
May 27, 2019I loved it! It was great and fun to watch.I loved the fantasy in it.
Apr 23, 2019It's perfectly watchable with a well-chosen cast (for an MTV show - whose actors do very well with what they're given to work with) and can be taken as the light and fluffy fantasy series it is.
Jan 30, 2019A near success. A fascinating world and good visual effects however it kills off all main charachters before reaching popularity, making it difficult to become attached to the show.