After months of waiting, MTV aired the two-hour season premiere of the highly anticipated series The Shannara Chronicles, based on the Shannara book series by Terry Brooks. Firstly, yes Shannara is quite complicated and thrusts a lot of plot the viewers way, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. I was rightfully confused and attempting to process every bit of information provided about the world in Shannara, but despite those factors I highly enjoyed The Shannara Chronicles – and this is coming from someone who normally stays far away from fantasy shows and films. The lead characters are one of many pro’s to MTV’s latest series. While Shannara does confuse, it also heavily charms the audience. That charm easily overshadows my puzzlement. Hell, the visuals alone make Shannara a series worth watching.
We are introduced to Elvin Princess Amberle Elessedil, one of the show’s protagonist, right off the bat and it’s quite easy to tell she’s a character meant to defy traditional gender roles. She partakes in an intense “competition” known as The Gauntlet and manages to make it through despite all the obstacles she has to face during the run. Passing the trials of the Gauntlet makes Amberle one of the “chosen ones,” not only does she have to keep up with her royal duties, but now she’s one of the protectors of the Ellcrys aka the big, red tree shown in all the clips and trailers. Each leaf represents a caged demon – the Ellcrys is simply a barrier trapping the demon army. Magic is also believed to have died along with the druids.
Amberle places her hand on the Ellcrys and promptly has a vision of death and destruction. This action also awakens Allanon, who cryptically proclaims, “it has begun.” We’re then introduced to Will – a young man with a larger than life destiny. Will’s mom passes away within minutes of his introduction, but not before giving him his deceased father’s magic elf stones – its sounds a tad bit ridiculous and it kind of is, but at least the stones look cool. Will leaves to become a healer, starting his own adventure when he encounters the sneaky rover Eretria (basically she’s a theif); a complete badass who saves Will’s life from a troll. After insulting Will and his half elf status, Eretria takes Will to her home. Meanwhile, Amberle becomes increasingly terrified by the visions she’s having. She decides enough is enough when she foresees herself killing her boyfriend Lorin; after promptly knocking him out, Amberle begins her own journey.
Allanon, who we learn is the last druid, pays Amberle’s father a visit and he brings them troubling news – the Ellcrys is dying and its downfall will begin the resurgence of demon kind. Sure enough, with the fall of a leaf, a demon arises and with him he starts to plan the destruction of Ellcrys and the chosen one. Eretria sedates Will and takes his elf stones along with her. Allanon is quick to find Will and burst huge bouts of information on him and the viewers; we find out Will is the last Shannara – magic flows through his veins just like it did with his father. Allanon curses his luck (Will is quite dopey) whereas Will hesitantly agrees to accompany Allanon in order to unlock and use his magic and reach his full potential.
Amberle meets Eretria and the two proceed to insult each other after Eretria fails to rob Amberle. I’m looking forward to more interactions between the two because honestly, I laughed the entire way through this sass infested scene. Eretria has met her match and can’t fully retaliate due to Amberle hastily fleeing after having a brief vision. Will continues to remain skeptical of Allanon and his words but is quick to change his tune when he finally see’s Allanon perform an act of magic, but his act of magic comes with a warning, “magic always comes with a price.” Then the awoken demon, from before, pays Allanon a visit (in the form of a vision) and laughs at Allanon’s attempts to stop him. One druid will not be able to stop an entire demon army. Allanon and Will head off to Westland in order to warn them of the demon headed their way, but arrive too late. All of the chosen have been killed other than Amberle. Lorin met his demise as well – Amberle’s vision came to fruition as he’s stabbed by a shape shifting demon taking on Amberle’s form.
The plot then further complicates itself with the introduction of Dagda Mor – the show’s antagonist by the sounds of it. Allanon describes Dagda Mor as an evil druid harboring dark magic. While complications arise on the demon front, family drama with the Elessedil family presents itself as well. Allanon asks Will to search through Amberle’s room; Amberle, meanwhile, is reunited with her aunt. We then meet Eretria’s cruel “father,” who is willing to sell her to another man in a heartbeat due to her inability to “scavenge” properly; he changes his mind when she presents him with the rare elf stones. Seeing his behavior towards Eretria doesn’t exactly justify her actions thus far, but it doesn’t provide viewers with an insight to her daily life and perhaps as to why she is the way she is.
Will discovers Amberle’s location via letter’s she wrote to her aunt – we also learn the Amberle’s aunt was in love with Allanon which led to her and Eventine’s falling out. Allanon and Will venture off to find Amberle and Eretria decides to find Will after her father states he won’t marry her off if she brings him Will. Eretria counters by saying she wants her freedom, to which he seemingly agrees – not verbally of course; he is likely to double cross Eretria even if she brings him Will.
Allanon and Will reach their desired location; Will meets Amberle and Allanon stays behind to apologize to her aunt – he admits he’s always loved her and can’t apologize enough for leaving her behind all those years ago. “Being a druid is not a choice, it’s a calling,” it’s a powerful statement that becomes tragic minutes after its uttered. A demon, which arose due to another fallen leaf, brutally attacks her while Allanon is rendered completely helpless. The demon spots Will and Amberle and swiftly approaches the terrified pair. The jam-packed, two-hour premiere ends with Will screaming, “stay back!,” thus ending on a well-placed cliff-hanger.
The Shannara Chronicles will definitely work better as a one hour series only because this two-hour premiere presented me with information overload. That being said, I apologize for anything I left out because quite frankly – a lot of shit went down. Other than that, I’m surprised to say I actually really liked the series. I was never a huge fan of elves and trolls, but The Shannara Chronicles manages to peak my interest with its stunning New Zealand backdrop, fitting musical score, impressive sets and a group of likeable characters. Speaking of characters, I found myself liking all the key players introduced; the trio are definitely my favorite thus far. By the looks of it, a love triangle may be implemented (NOOOOOOO!) along with a hell of a lot of action.
Shannara, in just a span of two-hours, has become a must-watch. It has comedy, action, adventure and I’m sure, romance will make a cameo sooner or later.
What did you think of MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles? Let us know in the comments down below!