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#1 Jan 06 2016 at 6:16 PM Rating: Good
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First two episodes premiered last night on MTV. Two more episodes available now on MTV's app. I haven't watched those yet. Not sure if I want to wait. The series is based on book 2 of the first trilogy.

The actor who played Slade/Deathstroke and Crixus now plays the last Druid, Allanon. I guess the look kind of fits what a lot of the artwork of the character looks like. I had always imagined him a slightly smaller physique. Manu Bennett is a pretty beefy guy.

The show itself is pretty generic fantasy, but so was the books. I did like the opening theme having visuals showing a blood line traveling from a human skeleton and branching out to Gnomes, Dwarves and Trolls.

The usual stuff has been done. Characters eliminated or combined, events sped up, bypassed, or combined, etc. That's all to be expected with TV adaptations of books. It was different than what I remember, but a brief refresher of the book and I realized it wasn't completely different. I think Terry Brooks said in an interview that the show captured the "heart" of the story. Probably a nice way of saying they changed a lot of stuff but kept the basic story elements there.

The one thing that really stood out to me, and I wasn't very happy about, was what they made Paranor look like. Allanon and Wil quickly (very quickly, like... screen wipe and they are there) travel to Paranor in search of clues to the location of an important place. When they first arrive it's just basically a big rock. At first I thought they were going to have the Druids' Keep being surrounded by a magical spell to cloak its existence, much like they did in the later books with Walker Boh (if memory serves). But then Allanon and Wil enter the Keep, and the keep remains the dull rock looking structure, no sudden dispelling of a cloaking spell or anything.

It seems they've done a lot in the name of making things less costly (Fast travel, character elimination/combination, etc). A couple name drops around Wil's father, Shae which you wouldn't know about unless you had read the books, and the show moves too fast to expand upon. And of course everyone is pretty teens, a side effect of being on MTV I imagine.

I'm still a bit hopeful. I am waiting to see if the show will have some good battles between some Demons and the good guys. Some nice visuals involving some unleashing of the Elfstones would go a ways to make up for some of the changes. Though, what they did to Paranor still kind of sucks in my book. I'm not one to nitpick over TV Book adaptations, but that change just really seemed to diminish the Druids in general. Now we are just left with Manu Bennett walking around covered in Glyphs of some sort, and an old cave with very little awe factor where he found a single book.
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#2 Jan 06 2016 at 11:32 PM Rating: Decent
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I completely agree about Paranor being just a rock surrounded by some desert. The edition of the book that I have has a few illustrations in it, and one of them is a fairly accurate one of what Paranor should look like, a massive castle on a plateau surrounded by forest. Since the the whole thing was a pretty blatant computer generated image, they could have kept it original with no more effort. It was an unnecessary change that diminished my overall enjoyment of the show. There were a few things that really bothered me too. The first was that Wil never made it to Storlok to learn how to be a healer. That's actually a pretty important part of his backstory that comes up in several important scenes in the book, so I'm not sure how they're going to handle that. The second being the Chosen having some sort of ridiculous race to become one. They're called the Chosen because the tree literally chooses them to serve. I think they really just wanted to open the show with a bit of action.

I was initially worried about the actor they cast for Allanon, he's supposed to almost seven feet tall and fairly imposing. This fellow clearly isn't that large, but of all the actors they chose, I think he's the most appropriate to the role. Since it's an MTV show, I knew they were going to go with a fairly young cast, but some of these kids look like they should still be in high school.

I realize that some minor things and characters will need to be changed for the sake of the medium, but some of these changes really didn't need to be made and in some cases don't really make much sense. I'm going to give it another couple episodes, but I'm not sure about this one.

Edited, Jan 7th 2016 12:35am by Turin
#3 Jan 08 2016 at 6:23 PM Rating: Good
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Personally I think Paranor was the worst thing they did to the show. It truly does diminish the status of the Druids. Currently you have very little impression that they are anything special, and you've already seen the greatest piece of Druid history in existence. Now they have to work pretty hard to impress upon the viewers how great the Druids were in the past, if they ever want to. Because with Paranor being what it is, it will never be able to be anything different.

Most everything else can be forgiven as an inevitable result of the adaptation process. Even the Chosen "race" could be played off as the tree choosing who made it through. Blind folded, arms bound, running thru a magicked forest. Seems entirely possible that the tree could guide the ones it wanted through the forest. The event was clearly there just for the action, and an easy way for them to make the "but you're a GIRL!" angle.
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#4 Jan 13 2016 at 4:44 PM Rating: Good
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First use of the Elfstones was a bit unimpressive. I haven't downloaded their "MTV App" so I am just watching them as they air.
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#5 Jan 18 2016 at 11:48 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm pretty underwhelmed so far. I'm goning to keep watching it, but my level of enthusiasm has been seriously lowered.
#6 Jan 20 2016 at 5:10 PM Rating: Good
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I'll continue watching it. But I guess I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't already interested in it.
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#7 Feb 11 2016 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
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I'm a bit rusty on the details of the book. But I do not recall the surviving ruins of modern day being so prevalent in the story. They were walking around in an abandoned underground high school, and finding old maps of the area. Filled with prom or homecoming decorations.

It is entirely possible that these things were described in the books, but I do no remember them.
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#8 Feb 13 2016 at 11:10 PM Rating: Decent
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They were not. The book takes place roughly four thousand years after the nuclear apocalypse. Very little of the old world survived. I actually stopped watching the show. The cheap effects I could handle. I even started to get used to the annoyingly young cast, but they changed so much of the base story that I was really getting annoyed. They aren't even good changes, they don't make the story better, they really only seem to be there so that they can end each episode on a cheap cliffhanger. I might watch it once it's finished, but for now I've given up on it.
#9 Feb 14 2016 at 5:40 AM Rating: Good
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Cars sitting around outside. An old satellite dish inexplicably being filled with flowing fresh water from a hole in the top of it, just so characters can stop and drink from it. A glass ceiling of an old high school being buried by inches of leaves, first time anyone walked across it in a few thousand years and fell through. The insides preserved because they had been "sealed" the whole time. A small patch of land covered with old 50 gallon steel drums of random toxic substance, what ever it is apparently melts peoples' faces if breathed in.

They find a newspaper clipping that shows in image of what she saw in her visions, along side a map of the area (Which is apparently San Francisco). The princess also finds three, blue, ten sided dies in the school, and keeps them because they remind her of Wil... (cause this love triangle has to keep going. And ten sided dies are nerdy.)

I understand inevitable changes to books when being made into TV/Film. But this one definitely isn't what someone looking for a Shannara story told would be looking for. Surprisingly to me, review sites are showing it has around a 75-80% positive rating from viewers. I would think it'd be much less. I would not think that the generic nature of the fantasy story would be likable to new comers, and that the inexplicable changes would push more fans of Brooks work away. Maybe the young and pretty cast works well for the TV audience?
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#10 Apr 18 2016 at 5:31 PM Rating: Good
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I forced myself to finish watching the last three episodes.

I did not like it. I guess the overall story ended the same (Amberle , but the use of the old "modern" stuff was just not what I was looking for. A group of humans who wanted to bring humans back to their glory days of old, were using a movie projector and treating a film of one of the Star Trek movies or episodes as evidence of humans past glory. And they boo'd Spock cause they thought he was an elf with those pointy ears.

That was just... No.


An added character or two, a removed character or two, merged, added events. All to be expected. But it definitely feels like they were trying to make themselves different from Tolkien movies by focusing so much on the remains of modern day. Going out of their way to show us that "Hey, look, this is the world you currently live in". Just ruined the feel of the story.

I cannot imagine them doing any better in potential future adaptations based on this one. They ruined the Druids so they can't cover the best storylines without ignoring this one.
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#11 Apr 20 2016 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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TirithRR wrote:
I cannot imagine them doing any better in potential future adaptations based on this one.
You won't have to imagine for long. MTV renewed for a second season.
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#12 Apr 20 2016 at 6:41 PM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
I cannot imagine them doing any better in potential future adaptations based on this one.
You won't have to imagine for long. MTV renewed for a second season.
I did a quick search, and nothing said about the second season gives me any hope of it being any good.

Unfortunately for me I will probably still check it out just to see what they do. Part of me just can't let it go.
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