When I first stumbled upon the trailer for MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles on YouTube, I couldn’t believe my own eyes: never would I have guessed that the channel formerly dedicated to playing music videos 24/7 could develop a fantasy series of such epic proportions. Or that Gimli the dwarf would become king of the elves…
The Shannara Chronicles (2016): Created by Jon Favreau; 10 episodes à 42mins.; starring Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries), Poppy Drayton, Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth), Manu Bennett (The Hobbit), James Remar (Jericho), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), Marcus Vanco, Brooke Williams.
For fans of: Lord of the Rings, Avatar, YA trilogies, fantasy, kickass girls who can hold their own in a fight.
Alas, MTV has proven me wrong: its new show The Shannara Chronicles is as flawless as they come. Here are the top five reasons you should stream the first two episodes this weekend:
1. It is visually stunning
Like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit films, The Shannara Chronicles was shot on location in New Zealand: sublime mountain ranges, desolate stone deserts, and endless beaches are just some impressions of the show’s stunning vistas.
2. It’s got a high-stakes premise
An elven princess (Poppy Drayton), an amateur healer (Austin Butler), and a renegade human (Ivana Baquero) must set aside their personal differences and romantic tensions to save the world from a great evil.
3. It’s got all the best elements of The Lord of the Rings
A fellowship on a life-or-death quest, mythical creatures speaking in mythical tongues, a handsome blonde elven boy and magic. Moreover, we got female Aragorn (Eretria), baby Legolas (Wil), sexy Gandalf (Allanon) and actual GIMLI (Jonathan Rhys Davies who played the dward in Peter Jackson’s trilogy plays the elven king on Shannara).
4. And they throw in the tree deity from Pandora for fun!
If you were one of those people who secretly wanted to paint themselves blue all over after watching Avatar and hum prayers to a sacred tree, the Ellcrys will probably sell you on The Shannara Chronicles. In the tradition of Eywa, the tree God protecting the Naví against all those horrible, greedy human colonizers, and grandmother willow, the tree God giving Pocahontas advice on how to get a guy, the Ellcrys becomes something of a spiritual mentor to Amberle after she joins the Chosen. But unlike grandmother willow, who helps Pocahontas figure out where her heart lies by singing a song and explaining to her how a compass works, the Ellcrys teaches Amberle a lesson by making her hallucinate a confrontation between her and Will which ends in her stabbing him to death, telling Amberle not to let her feelings for him distract her from her quest. Thanks a lot tree!
5. Game of Thrones-like levels of gore
The first four episodes alone feature a close up of mauled animals, a close up of slaughtered humans strung up in their own garden, a close up of a troll getting its head smashed in, a close up of a demon getting its head chopped off, and shots of a kind old lady being picked apart by a flying demon with claws. Do yourself a favour and refrain from watching this show while eating.
To binge or not to binge? Let’s be real: if you’re gonna watch a show about a magical land populated by mythical creatures that pray to a big old tree, you might as well delve in properly – binge of course!
Where can I watch? Amazon.