The Shannara Chronicles: Chosen   Books Included 
January 6, 2016 6:40 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Thousands of years after the fall of Humankind as we know it the Four Lands is in grave danger. The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of an unlikely trio: an Elvin Princess, a Human Rover & a Half-Elf.
posted by fimbulvetr (23 comments total)
I was on board, shitty MTVness, until it turned out Shea was a drunken wastrel after 'Sword' (which may or may not have happened).
Yeah, fuck this show.
posted by Mezentian at 7:24 AM on January 6, 2016

Is this the 'books included' thread we can rant in? If so, can we ask a mod to add the flag?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:50 AM on January 6, 2016

Speaking as someone who loved Elfstones as a young reader, and still has fond memories, is this show worth my time/interest/energy?
posted by nubs at 8:16 AM on January 6, 2016

I've only seen the first half of the episode so far and it didn't seem too bad. Even though the result of the blindfold-run-trial was obvious I thought they did a good job of filling that scene with tension.

Her accent threw me a little bit, but I'm glad to see Ofelia from Pan's Labyrinth in a prominent role.
posted by GrapeApiary at 9:05 AM on January 6, 2016

So was it as white as the trailers made it seem to be?
posted by happyroach at 9:25 AM on January 6, 2016

I liked it for what it was. IIRC the Shannara books are pretty formulaic, and the show is as well.

It is quite "white", though there is one high level elf-lady who appeared to be a POC. The show seemed to hint that she would have more prominence later on, but she only had a short bit in the season premier.

I found the scenery and sets beautiful, and I'm happy to watch the show just for that.

Personally, I'm in for at least a few more episodes. I'm a sucker for fantasy, even (as in this case) when the story and characters don't seem to deviate from the standard high-fantasy boiler-plate.
posted by forforf at 11:06 AM on January 6, 2016

hello i am here for manu bennett
posted by poffin boffin at 11:18 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm deeply conflicted about this. Loved the Shannara books when I was a young teen; this show seems aimed squarely to that demographic - shades of Maze Runner/Hunger Games.

The books were a lot more subtle about the post modern-civilization/post-apocalypse Shannara setting, but the show gives it completely away in the opening sequence. I adore the setting, but I prefer it a bit more subtle.

The CG and the costumes are gorgeous, but yeah, like I aged out of the Shannara books, I think I've aged out of the show.
posted by porpoise at 11:19 AM on January 6, 2016

Huh. So this is a thing that is happening?
posted by Justinian at 11:28 AM on January 6, 2016

The books were a lot more subtle about the post modern-civilization/post-apocalypse Shannara setting, but the show gives it completely away in the opening sequence. I adore the setting, but I prefer it a bit more subtle.

Came in here to ask about this. I don't remember there being, like, ruins of the Bay Bridge just sitting around everywhere all the time like the commercials seem to suggest. I think they come across the ruined substructure of a skyscraper one time in the original trilogy? And I guess there was that old city with the giant concrete worm. Shit got weird in the latter entries.
posted by invitapriore at 12:45 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think they come across the ruined substructure of a skyscraper one time in the original trilogy?

There's a scene, if I recall, with the gnomes and the giant mechanical spider in the Dragon's Teeth mountains Swords which is pretty obviously hinting at the nuclear apocalypse, but nothing as terrible as trolls in gasmasks and downed helicopters.

I understand the reasoning for showing so much, but, yeah.... they're a bit heavy handed.

Wil, while charisma-challenged, worked well enough, but I don't think he can carry the show. Also he seems to think he is half-elven, which is silly. He's a quarter-elf at best.

The CG and the costumes are gorgeous, but yeah, like I aged out of the Shannara books, I think I've aged out of the show.

I read 'Sword' in my teens, a few years before I overcame Tom Bombadill was finished LOTR, so these books are pretty important to me in a comfort reading/summer blockbuster kind of way, and I'm still picking them up as he writes them with varying degrees of interest, but this show worked way better than I would have expected given the horrible credits and the casting from Teen Central (so many topless extras if felt like a scene from what I imagine Twilight looks like).

But, we've got elves (with ridiculous ears) on the TV, and Manu Bennet has enough charisma for everyone - my main complaint is about the treatment of Shea, so I'm going to stick it out.
posted by Mezentian at 3:12 PM on January 6, 2016

Mod note: Folks, this thread is not at this time "Books Included" - if the OP wants it to be so, please contact us and let us know, but in the meantime, please do *not* discuss the books in show threads that aren't so marked. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:33 PM on January 6, 2016

I'm totally with all of you guys, and gotta say, watching this is giving me pre-teen flashbacks.

After we finished the premiere, my husband looked at me and said, "yeah, I guess this is your Star Wars..." (He means I know that it's derivative and not particularly strong fantasy, and he's right -- but dammit, 12-year-old me was no literary critic!)

Manu Bennett: YES, PLEASE.

The whole point of Shannara, to me, is that it's a huge pile of fantasy tropes stacked all the way to the sky, and I think the show's giving us that without having to struggle with all the extra letters in people's names.

I'm kinda meh about the wardrobe choices, tbh; they look "cheap" to me, but if others are OK with them, great.

The scenery is just, I mean, it's amazing. I nearly cried when they showed the Dagda Mor. Tween me had vivid nightmares and daydreams about great plains filled with roiling black bodies, demons darkening land until it hits the horizon. I'm showing my Dark Side here (yeah, that's a Star Wars reference) but the Shannara demons > Tolkein's Orcs. There, I said it.

Yeah, it wasn't nearly as heavy-handed in the books with "oh hai, we're totes in the Pacific Northwest! Landmarks ahoy!" but I'll tolerate all of that because ELLCRYS.

restless_nomad, I don't think I've included any book spoilers in my comment, but since there's another FanFare thread labeled SHOW ONLY, I for sure thought this was about to be tagged BOOKS INCLUDED -- if not, I've saved a copy of this comment and will amend accordingly if you decide to delete it. I have many feels, and one of them is "don't be a dick and spoil things for others." :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:39 PM on January 6, 2016

Sorry if I jumped the gun by posting the 'show only' thread - it seemed like most of the comments so far were making book comparisons, but I didn't realize only fimbulvetr could give the OK for this thread to get the 'books included' spoiler condition added until after I used the contact form.

(sigh. all I want is to whine about book stuff somewhere.)
posted by oh yeah! at 6:17 PM on January 6, 2016

For the first three quarters of an hour it looked for all the world like some kind of Fantasy Gossip Girl with a super-high percentage of pretty people with dubious acting ability. And then Hell literally opened up and many of them died grotesquely - so it has that going for it.

It's purest cheese, but it could be a palate-cleansing cheese after too much 'The Expanse' (I know my partner enjoyed it for precisely this reason). Manu Bennet and his trained haircut are both enjoyable, and the scenery is almost as pretty as the cast. The special effects vary, but the creature design is rockin'. It's very much the kind of thing that Game of Thrones was a reaction against, but if you feel the need for a bit of Hawkwind in an age of Televisual MotorHead, you could do worse.
posted by Sparx at 8:02 PM on January 6, 2016

I requested a books included tag for this thread.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:36 AM on January 7, 2016

Mod note: "Books Included" included! Carry on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2016

I have very hazy memories of the books (1st 3 only - I noped out of the 4th when it took the entire book length to accomplish what was only the first step of the formula in the other 3, that of Alanon showing up and getting the group enroute to the new mission). I loved them back when they came out, but haven't reread them in the decades since, not sure how they'll hold up.

But, I'm sure I remember Amberle being a redhead - why on earth did they cast two near-identical women as the leads? It's like when that post was going around of the head shots of the American Horror Story S5 cast of a slew of look-alike brown-haired white guys and tumblr was all "I guess we know what Ryan Murphy's type is". Maybe taking the Elcrys seed into the magic fire will turn her into a redhead?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:29 AM on January 7, 2016

So was it as white as the trailers made it seem to be?

I have been calling it The Mayonesa Chronicles
posted by poffin boffin at 11:57 AM on January 7, 2016

I have never before felt so old, nor gloried in that feeling, as much as when I was watching this pilot. A sizable fat, tired, aging part of my psyche is now actively rooting for the demons.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:52 PM on January 7, 2016

Oh, now I get it: the show is really a drinking game.
posted by homunculus at 10:22 AM on January 8, 2016

That Onion article... I can't take it seriously.

Wil doesn't have "a destiny as a royal heir" in any conventional sense...

but then, this:

It all circles back to what’s clearly the real starting point for the action, and much of how the show develops its identity beyond the long shadow of its betters will hinge on the season’s second act.

Shannara never escapes from the shadows, ever. Yes, it ties in the real world and air ships and mad computers eventually, and it's fun, it never, ever rises to great.
posted by Mezentian at 2:46 AM on January 9, 2016

OK, I am about to give in at the 4 minute mark when Catania says to Amberle " I'm definitely sensing a lot of sweaty elf boy hate". Really?

Should I continue?
posted by futz at 10:39 PM on January 23, 2016

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