There are few TV programs that I watch alone. Anything kid-friendly I watch with SuperSam and most of the rest with the MIGHTY Rosie. The MIGHTY Rosie is fairly geek-friendly. I often refer to her as being geek-adjacent. There are a few things that turns her cold, one is horror and the other is high-fantasy. When we tried the first episode of this a couple of years ago, my wife wasn’t particularly enthused, so we moved on and found something else. On a night where I couldn’t sleep, I gave the series a second go. Damn I enjoyed it second time round.
Most high fantasy (elves, trolls, magic and stuff) is either set in an age undreamed of, or a parallel world of some kind, Shannarah Chronicles is set somewhere else, the future. Here the elves, gnomes and trolls are off-shoots of humanity who arose after some sort of ill-defined cataclysm. Throughout the series we often see pieces of architecture and machinery of the old world and it’s not really looked at, becoming more of a backdrop, than a plot point. The world ended, we don’t know how, but that’s not what the story is about and that’s fascinating to me.
The story is about a half elf/half human called Will Ohlmsford who is training to be a healer, just not far enough along to save his mother. He was raised in a human settlement called Shady Vale and leaves, after his mother’s funeral and being given his father’s elf-stones and heads off to make his way in the world. Across the country in the elven city of Arborlon the princess Amberle is trying to be the first girl to join the Chosen, a sect of her people who preserve the mystical tree the Elcrys. The first time the princess touches it, it shows her in visions that demons are trying to return to the Earth. Add in a human thief and the last of the mystical druids and we have ourselves a quest as the disparate players are brought together as war and destiny give them no choice.
It’s not a perfect show, there is a massive lean towards teen melodrama and fan service, but there’s not much like this on TV. The cast is a nice mix of newcomers and a few familiar faces such as Arrow’s Manu Bennett as the druid Allanon and John Rhys Davies as King Evantine who are old hands at making this bizarreness sound plausible. The action sequences are decent enough in a CW kind of way, there are serious stakes and no one in the show is particularly safe. The 2 seasons I did get to see each had their own distinct story, that still fed one into the other and it was particularly sad that this series isn’t getting a 3rd try.
I quite liked the series for what it was, a bit of weekend fluff and am glad I could find it on Netflix.
Ttfn internet people, work beckons.