Rarely have I been able to recommend a show as whole heartedly as Legend of the Seeker. It is a gripping tale of courage, love and honour that includes all the best elements of fantasy fiction including epic romance, kickass fight scenes and stunning scenery. Here’s why you should catch up on the show now…
Legend of the Seeker (2008): Produced by Sam Raimi and 2 Seasons à 22 episodes à 45mins.; starring Craig Horner (Hindsight), Bridget Regan (Jane the Virgin), Bruce Spence, Tabrett Bethnell (Mistresses), Craig Parker (Reign).
For Fans of: Merlin, The Shannara Chronicles, Sinbad, The Musketeers.
Where can I watch? The pilot of Legend of the Seeker, as well as some of the other episodes are available on YouTube. You can also catch it on Amazon.
To binge or not to binge? Once you’ve joined Richard and his band of warriors on their quest, you will not want to return to the real world. Definitely binge!
Based on the book series by Terry Goodkind, Legend of the Seeker is the story of Richard Cypher (Craig Horner), a woodsman who discovers that he is prophesised to defeat the ruthless despot Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). With the help of the wizard Zedd (Bruce Spence) and Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan), a young woman sworn to protect the “Seeker” and aid him in his quest, Richard sets out to fulfill his destiny and, in the process, learns who he really is.
And while the story sounds familiar, it is told so excellently, you won’t even care. Here are five reasons why you should catch up on this show 10 years after it originally aired…
1. It’s a great fantasy tale
Legend of the Seeker is a gripping tale that combines all your favourite fantasy elements such as
- a prophesy: The key ingredient of any great fantasy story. It can be found in Harry Potter, Shadowhunters and Merlin. The trope works best if the prophesy predicts something that seems entirely out of the question – because now you’re going to want to know how it comes to pass
- magical creatures: who wouldn’t want to be friends with a Night Wisp, the sentient firefly that guides and protects Kahlan on her journey to find the Seeker?
- An old wizard: Zedd may not have the gravitas of a Gandalf, or a Dumbledore, but he is as witty as he is wise and not above solving his companions’ relationship problems
- enchanted objects: How do you communicate efficiently in a world without mobile phones? You get everyone you want to stay in touch with a journey book and write to each other in your own blood. The message appears magically in the other books as you are writing it down in your own – super neat!
- fantasy lingo: You don’t have to pull a Tolkien and invent a whole new language system to strengthen the grip of your fictional world. It suffices to sprinkle fancy or emotive terminology over your story, like “The Gates of Misery”, “The Stone of Tears”, or city names like Palmora, or Aydindril
- An impossible romance: Clary and Jace find out that they are siblings, Luce and Daniel can’t consummate their love because of a curse that the devil has put on them and Richard and Kahlan’s love is doomed because if she gives in to her emotions she might lose control of her powers and destroy Richard’s soul. Think about that the next time you complain about your “long distance relationship” with a partner who lives two hours away…
2. It effortlessly balances character and plot
Too often fantasy series fail because they don’t flesh out its characters. Teen Wolf for instance can get so caught up in its many plot twists and turns that it doesn’t have time to pause and let its characters grow organically from within the story.
By contrast, Legend of the Seeker effortlessly balances character development and plot dynamic. Therefore, the audience becomes invested in the story chiefly by way of its characters, especially the female characters.
3. Badass females
Every once in a while a series will come along that is ahead of its time. I’m sure that if Legend of the Seeker premiered today, it would be lauded and hailed for its female characters and the storylines it has given them.
There’s Kahlan, whose kind heart and courage prove to be as great an asset as her Confessor power and mad fighting skills. There’s Cara, a bisexual mercenary dominatrix-warrior who has one of the most beautiful redemption arcs in modern television – gradual, painful, and unembellished.
Saving Richard’s ass is a full-time job for badass warriors Kahlan (Bridget Regan, left) and Cara (Tabrett Brethell)
There’s Nicci, a spellbinding boho-chic nun who serves the Keeper of the Underworld. And there’s a whole list of recurring and guest characters (Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights, Buffy‘s Charisma Carpenter, iZombie Rose McIver, to name a few) who are complex and flawed and strong as hell, each in their own way.
3. Fun fight scenes
Sword wielding, knife throwing, hand-to-hand combat, archery and spell casting are among the many different ways in which conflict is resolved on Legend of the Seeker. Big battle scenes are scarce, but always beautifully shot and elegantly choreographed. One that stands out in particular is at the end of “Perdition” when Richard and his fellowship face off against the Sisters of the Dark: their bright red robes create a stark contrast to the desert surroundings and envelop each of their movements like flowing water – a stunning sight!
4. Scenery Porn
Like all the most gorgeous fantasy sagas, Legend of the Seeker was filmed in New Zealand (at this point, are we sure that it isn’t a magical other realm?) So feast your eyes on crystal blue lakes, sublime mountain ranges, fields and woods that stretch for miles as Richard travels through the Midlands in search of his destiny and himself.
5. It’s not afraid to tackle sensitive issues
Over its 44 episode run, the series finds clever ways to comment on important social issues like consent (“Touched”), female emancipation (“Princess”) the long-term effects of emotional abuse (“Broken”) and rape (“Bound”).
What’s interesting is that in dealing with these topics, it never feels like the show is trying to preach. Arguably this is due to its overall light-hearted tone. No matter how dark the episode gets, there’s always a little light in its humour.