The Shannara Chronicles gives us a group of teenagers, each one more implausibly attractive than the next, scrambling through the woods in search of salvation for themselves, their community, and the world at large.
A few years ago, no one would have thought that the world was ready for a new fantasy series, particularly not one that promises to tackle the sprawling world of Terry Brook’s much-loved novel series, Shannara. But if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that sword-and-sorcery epics need not only be the domain of pure-bred ‘fantasy fans’, as long as it’s done well.
The series follows a princess of the elves, a half-human/half-elf, and a human in an epic quest: to protect and ancient and magical tree, the Ellcrys, the last barrier between the people of the Four Lands and the return of a horde of banished demons, none of whom seem to be hankering for a happy reunion. It’s a big concept, and one that takes itself very seriously, despite the relative youth of its main cast members. Reassuringly, however, the series seems determined to make the most of its budget, the trailer alone introducing a beautifully complex world – both visually and in terms of narrative – that, if done right, promises to be immersive rather than distracting. All the same, it’s still a lot to pull off, and the show will be heavily reliant on the quality of the performances from its principal actors. Only time will tell if The Shannara Chronicles will be able to walk the fine line between satisfying die-hard fans of the novels and newcomers to the TV show.