Content is king.
When distribution platforms like HBO, Amazon & Netflix began producing original content, these corporations were merely heeding this truth of that saying. The success of these ventures have now even persuaded MTV to take the plunge after years of reality TV programming.
The Shannara Chronicles is the result – an adaptation of author Terry Brooks’s high fantasy Shannara series which thus far consists of 10 novels. The Shannara series is set in a post-apocalyptic world called the Four Lands, populated by humans, elves, demons, trolls, dwarves and gnomes.
The pilot episode sets up the premise of the series viz. when the Ellcrys, a magical tree located in the Elven city begins to die, it signals the return of the demons to the Four Lands. The Ellcrys has kept the demons imprisoned for 3 decades after the War of the Races. Into this crisis, a young halfling (elf-human) holds the key to save the Four Lands from the demons.
Yes it sounds like a template to a million fantasy stories, including the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars itself. That is not a flaw but the rules of the genre. The only question here is the quality of the execution.
In that respect, the series does a decent job. Sure, the main cast is filled with pretty faces with minimal acting skills but there are some familiar ones (John Rhys-Davies, Manu Bennett and John Remar) that help to carry the story along somewhat. The special effects work well in the context as well. Certainly recommended to high fantasy fans!