November 28, 2009

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Ancient prophecy did foretell a time when genre fiction would no longer be a string of cheesy low budget camp fests. The prophets speak of an age when studios will spend time, money, and talent courting the geek demographic and pimply nerds will emerge as sought after tastemakers. Brothers and sisters of geekdom, the time the prophets foresaw has come! We are living in the Promised Land!

But one made poet philosopher also foresaw the coming of a clever, well made, stylish weekly fantasy TV show.  Could The Legend of the Seeker be the show he scryed is his crystal ball? Hitest thou the jump, and discover!

The Legend of the Seeker image (3).jpgThe Legend of the Seeker is the story of young woodsman Richard Cipher (Craig Horner), who is good hearted and nice and also the prophesied savior of a mythical land. Along with his eye candy friend Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) and the obligatory wizard Zed (Bruce Spence) they fight against the evil ruler Darken Rahl (Craig Parker).

I had caught a minute or two of TLOTS a few times while flipping channels, and found myself guardedly excited to catch up with it once it was on DVD. The show had high quality visuals and the studio had apparently thrown just enough money at the show to raise it slightly above it’s straight to syndication brethren.

As much as I personally loved shows like The Highlander, Hercules, and Xena, we are now living in an age where special effects can look great AND not break the bank. Plus, the makers of Genre TV shows have learned a lot about how to make ongoing storylines cogent and addictive. We’ve come a loooong from endless villain of the week shows, which essentially have the same plot every time.

So I was really hoping TLOTS would be a step up, especially with seasoned producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi with their hands in the pie.

Unfortunately, LOTS falls far short of any hopes I had for it. While it’s far from the worst show on television, it commits the worst sin of all, and is completely forgettable and unremarkable. The acting is not bad. The effects are pretty good. The story is… okay. The story is where the show really falls flat on its face. Every single genre trick is pulled, in the least imaginative ways possible. The magic is centered around silly words and vague references to “spirits,” the evil overlord isn’t evil enough to be despicable and not human enough to be interesting, and the hero seems like a nice boy, but you don’t really care whether or not he finds his destiny.

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Most fantasy fans have probably created more fleshed out characters for their latest World of Warcraft campaigns. To be fair, the story is based on a series of successful fantasy novels, and the original writer (Terry Goodkind) was highly involved in the show. Whatever it is that makes his books work* is absent here.

The Legend of the Seeker image.jpgI’ll admit right now I couldn’t bring myself to watch every episode of the season. I slogged through the first disc, the last disc, and the special features. Maybe there are some amazing episodes in the middle but somehow I doubt it.

There are commentaries on several episodes, as well as a making of, and an extended interview with Goodkind. Maybe he isn’t as big an ass as he seemed. Maybe I was just angry and bored.

I’ll still probably catch a couple of episodes of season 2 (which starts soon so check local listings) just out of curiosity, but I’m not expecting much. Then I’m writing this series off as a waste of time.

C (and that’s me being very kind)

* I’ve personally never read his books, but could not find a single one of my dorky fantasy obsessed friends who liked his stuff. But he keeps getting paid to write them, so they may have some redeeming qualities.

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