I was admittedly wary of MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles when news of the adaptation first hit, and let my screeners get buried under a pile of winter premieres. I had reviewed MTV original series before and not found a lot to love, although being a sucker for high fantasy as I am, Shannara made its way onto my DVR anyway. The show has been a surprise in many ways, not just in the fact that it looks gorgeous (MTV has clearly poured a lot of money into the production), but that even though it’s kind of a checklist of fantasy tropes, it’s a fun and engaging series with a surprising depth to its world-building.
Shannara has also found the right balance between action (and some somewhat shocking violence) and its love stories, and it never lets itself turn into simply a “demon of the week” story (so far). When Adam Chitwood reviewed it for us, he noted that it ultimately amounted to a kind of Game of Thrones Lite — a show that delivered twists and adventures and mythos, but laid off of the gratuitous sexual assault and forever-grim outcomes. Shannara’s dialogue can be clunky, and some of its acting is occasionally cringe-worthy (even though most of the cast is young, and they are charming), but its delivery of fun escapism is enough to overlook some of its larger missteps.
Shannara Chronicles’ first season will consist of 10 episodes, and a new trailer gives a glimpse of what the next few chapters will hold:
(By the way, I am not a book reader so I can’t speak to what any of this actually means, only speculation! And if you are a reader, please don’t spoil anything in the comments). It looks like there are a lot of demons suiting up to bring some intense violence and darkness to the Four Lands. But, on the plus side, we’ll be seeing more of Amberle’s hot uncle, and some party time with the humans (where, it seems, Amberle and Eretria acknowledge their mutual appreciation of Wil and his abs). And speaking of Game of Thrones earlier, not only is winter coming, but there are some distinctly Frey-like shenanigans happening when guest rights are unceremoniously forfeited. Plus, that damn changeling is still causing trouble in the castle, and everyone still really hates elves. Hold onto your elf stones (and ears!)
The Shannara Chronicles, starring Poppy Drayton, Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies, airs Tuesday nights on MTV, and can also be watched online via MTV.com or their app.