I have to admit that MTV has had some surprisingly good shows in the past few years, especially Teen Wolf which has become one of my favorites. Now the network is going even further to pull in teens and young adults with its The Shannara Chronicles show that’s based off the books written by Terry Brooks in the late 70’s. The Shannara Chronicles: Season One Blu-ray set collects all ten episodes of the first season which turns out to be a short but sweet series that will appeal to young adults and fans of fantasy.
The setting takes place quite a few years into the future where mankind has destroyed the world as we know it with war. But instead of a typical post-apocalyptic world, a fantasy-like one has risen from its ashes in the form of The Four Lands. These places all have their highs and lows, but their main focus is to make sure that evil demons are kept away from ever returning the world to the way it used to be, all with the help of a magic tree called Ellcrys. Of course the head of these monsters named Dagda Mor isn’t going to just sit back and let his followers stay locked away, so he does whatever he can to destroy Ellcrys and The Four Lands. This is where our reluctant heroes come in with a princess named Amberle (Poppy Drayton) who works with the elves to protect Ellcrys, a farm worker named Wil (Austin Butler), the cliched but fun rebel fighter named Eretria (Ivana Baquero), and the older but powerful last of the druids named Allanon (Manu Bennett). Like any good fantasy group, they’ll have to put aside their differences and come together on an epic journey to stop Dagda Mor and his demon army or fall trying.
With Alfred Gough and Miles Millar of Smallville fame along with Jon Favreau in tow, I’ve should’ve already known this was going to be one heck of a ride. While it isn’t perfect by any means, for this to be a sort of light version of Game of Thrones, it’s actually pretty good. The special effects aren’t bad by TV standards, and the cast isn’t as bland as I thought they’d be, especially when they have a few heavy hitters in the mix such as John Rhys-Davies and James Remar. As with MTV’s Teen Wolf, you can expect plenty of action and drama with a touch of comedy and romance thrown in as well. With this being shot and presented in high definition, the series looks and sounds amazing. Though this comes as no surprise seeing that it’s filmed in New Zealand, so yeah there’s plenty of beautiful skies and lush forests about while bass-filled booms from the sounds of battles rock your sound system.
As far as extras go, I’m glad there’s a small booklet included that gives some info on the characters and what they’re about, along with some history of The Four Lands so you can go into the show having some knowledge of what’s going on. “The Shannara Chronicles: Behind The Scenes” goes into the stage design and scenery along with some cast and crew interviews as they share their experiences on the show. “The Making of Dagda Mor” shows how this rough and ugly demon lord and his demon army came to be through interviews with the crew behind them. “Exploring New Zealand” shows off some of the beautiful locales of New Zealand where the show was filmed, and “Interview with Terry Brooks” has a short interview with the famed author on his take of the series based on his books.
If you love fantasy shows and movies like I do, you’ll want to give The Shannara Chronicles: Season One a well deserved look. It features a good cast, solid special effects for a TV series, and some nice extras included in the home release that will leave you hanging on for season two.