The Shannara Chronicles - Premiere Review

MTV has premiered its latest series, "The Shannara Chronicles", adapted from the famed Shannara series by Terry Brooks and within the first ten minutes, we were hooked. Amberle, the Princess of the Elven Kingdom, competes in a competitive run called the Gauntlet that has always been home to male participants. She defies the nay-sayers and the male competitors that fight dirty to try to beat her down and is able to become one of seven elite servants of the Ellcrys - a great tree that protects the kingdom from an ancient army of demons. Despite what the posters would tell us, our first introduction is to a heroine. The visuals, costumes, and sets all hold their own in the fantasy genre. It's understandable given that the series was shot and worked on by many of the same crew that worked on the groundbreaking Lord of the Rings series. Additionally, John-Rhys Davies acts in this show as the Elven King, Eventine Elessedil, who is also Amberle's grandfather.

When Amberle touches the tree, she has visions of bloodshed and her people being slaughtered, and so the conflict of the series begins. This vision also triggers or coincides with the wakening of Allanon, a wise druid portrayed by Manu Bennett. Naturally, we're assuming that Bennett's extensive fighting skills he has used in other roles will be utilised in this new world too. We also meet a man named Wil Ohmsford, whose mother dies after giving him the Elfstones, an importance magical relic that had belonged to his father. He decides to bring them to Storlock so as to learn the healing arts against the advice of his uncle.

Amberle is further alarmed when the Ellcrys continues to call her and she has another vision, this time of killing her boyfriend. Feeling overwhelmed, she decides to run away due to regret from running the Gauntlet. Meanwhile, Will is saved in a troll attack by a Rover girl named Eretria. She takes him back to her place and drugs him before stealing the Elfstones. It's also worth noting that Wil is revealed to be half-Elf.

Allanon meets with Eventine, as the two are old friends. He bears a warning that the the Ellcrys is dying. He goes in search of Wil and finds him still at Eretrea's house. There's also an imposing demon named Dagda Mor that escapes from the Forbidding due to the Ellcrys increasingly weakening.  Dagda Mor also unleashes the Changeling and commands it to dispatch of the Chosen in Arborlon. Allanon tells Wil that he descends from magic and royalty and he has a great destiny due to his Shannara blood. He promises to show Wil how to unlock the magic inside of himself.

Still on the run, Amberle has an encounter with Eretria and decides to steal her food and horse, leaving behind a cuff so as to give her something she could trade. She is heading to Wing Hove to meet Eventine's sister Pyria. However, she continues to be haunted by visions.

Allanon has taken Wil to the Druid Keep at Paranor in search of the hidden secret to restoring the dying Ellcrys. Wil wants to walk away from his destiny but when Allanon displays his magical abilities, Wil is convinced to stay the course. Allanon is working to uncover a codex and is later attacked by the Dagda Mor within his own mind. He is able to fend off the attack, and brings Wil with him back to inform Eventine of Dagda Mor's plan, having learned that the chosen are the key to restoring the Ellcrys. Unfortunately, the Changling has already done away with all of the Chosen, except for Amberle who is still on the run.

Allanon and Wil are able to track down Amberle at Wing Hove but end up being attacked by a Fury summoned from the Forbidding. Pyria ends up killed and then the Fury turns its attentions to Wil and Amberle.

The Shannara Chronicles has phenomenal visuals one would expect on premium cable shows or big-budget films. Poppy Drayton is the break-out star from this episode, though the other young talents on the show have showed promise as well to be particularly compelling throughout the series. This is a series entirely worth watching, and with just ten episodes comprising the first season, we're doubtful there will be any filler.

The Shannara Chronicles airs on Tuesdays on MTV at 10PM.


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