When I heard that the Chronicles of Shannara was being produced, I contained my excitement. It's a new dawn for fantasy, or at least, it is compared to what I grew up with. Given the success of Game of Thrones, it was no wonder really that classic fantasy was sought after to produce. In fact, a television friend of mine even asked me for some recommendations. That was back before I left the center of the universe, NYC.
When I saw that it was MTV that decided to produce it, unlike some fans, I wasn't perturbed. I liked "The 100." Now that I'm officially old, seeing teen melodrama doesn't irritate me, it amuses me, and I admit a certain enjoyment of the eroticism in shows filmed to titillate the chattering class. I'd been meaning to review the Sword of Shannara for eons, and I am now doing a reread. However, the Chronicles begin at the second book. There is an interesting history to that second book, given briefly by Wikipedia.
Hunger Games competition to become Chosen to the Ellcrys. The whole thing is filmed to maximize on a teen audience, from broad declarations of love and loyalty, to sex scenes that never occurred and gratuitous kissing/flesh, etc. None of this bothered me, and since I have not read The Elfstones of Shannara in twenty years I cannot yet comment on accuracy. Though, it seems pretty obviously NOT accurate. Again, I don't care so much. I care for the lingering success of my genre, for its mainstream appeal, and for what I believe to be the ultimate benefit: chiefly, the liberalizing of America.
|The Space Needle in Seattle|
|Poppy Drayton. Just gorgeous.|
|Austin Butler, I'll "spare" you the images without shirt|
|Ivana Baquero, naked, in a bath, with Poppy Drayton|
|Manu Bennett as Alannon|
I think perhaps that one of the Chronicles Season One's failings is that while it discusses the history and frequently alludes to events that have occurred, it skips the prosaic matters that make fantasy worlds real. Traders on the road, the petty local politics of tyrants, the class struggles hidden, yet glorified by false visions of feudalism. The world of the Chronicles is shown to be a dystopian vision of isolated communities and roving bands of killers. While the Sword of Shannara actually makes a point of literally telling you that this decentralized version of the land is political choice (something in my reread I find unpleasant) it is ultimately lying about this because there are local politics and trade: decentralized political systems are a red herring. Gough's vision of the land of Shannara could take place on the same set as The Walking Dead. But it's just not true. The Apocalypse happened two to four thousand years prior, and world wars, which the land has experience many, are not apocalypses--just terrible.
second season of the show. And I'm glad. There was a time, perhaps when I was both jealous of a younger generation taking fantasy on, and grateful that my preferred medium was successful. But I am jealous no longer. With a daughter of my own, I am thrilled to see fantasy living and expanding past what my generation had done for it.