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The Shannara Chronicles

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Comic Con Panel discussion.

The bad news? As far as I can tell this is the only real copy of this panel out there and in 2+ weeks only a few thousand people bothered to watch it. Compare to other panels for other shows that have gotten hundreds of thousands of views.

Panel Part I:

Panel Part II:

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Maybe a ton of people aren't even aware of this show yet?  I don't know that I've even seen commercials for it yet on TV...

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Maybe a ton of people aren't even aware of this show yet?  I don't know that I've even seen commercials for it yet on TV...

They need magazine covers and stuff like that. Early showings to test audiences that go out and get talked about virally. Merch. Talk show tours.  Etc.

 

They need SOMETHING. January isn't that far away, as major projects like this go.  I mean look at the overwhelming press Supergirl is getting now.  Shannara needs at least a quarter of that.

 

It's not like MTV is some dinky reject channel either. In fact, the MTV branding should allow the show to air worldwide, since they have versions in literally dozens of international markets.

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Yeah, I agree!  I'm so excited for this show, so I really hope they up the press for it and get other people excited too!  I'd hate for it to get canceled because it wasn't advertised well and no one knew about it.

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They need magazine covers and stuff like that. Early showings to test audiences that go out and get talked about virally. Merch. Talk show tours.  Etc.

 

They need SOMETHING. January isn't that far away, as major projects like this go.  I mean look at the overwhelming press Supergirl is getting now.  Shannara needs at least a quarter of that.

 

It's not like MTV is some dinky reject channel either. In fact, the MTV branding should allow the show to air worldwide, since they have versions in literally dozens of international markets.

They should have done something.

I found out about this by accident because I was idly going through IMDB to see what so-and-so from such-and-such was up to these days. As turns out, this.

If they're not going to bother to promote the product, why bother making it.

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They should have done something.

I found out about this by accident because I was idly going through IMDB to see what so-and-so from such-and-such was up to these days. As turns out, this.

If they're not going to bother to promote the product, why bother making it.

It's damn puzzling. It's EXPENSIVE.  What kind of nutty shit is it to make something this expensive and barely let people know it's coming?  It's mega-wacky shit.

 

I did see there was some new production documentary out there (I saw it online last week but can't find it now), but I don't thing even THAT got promoted (so people would watch and then get hyped for the actual show). 

 

There are also from a month ago apparently some (online only I guess) character sketch pieces: 

 

CHARACTER PIECES:

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet Allanon (Manu Bennett)

 

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet Wil (Austin Butler)

 

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet Amberle (Poppy Drayton)

 

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet Eretria (Ivana Baquero)

 

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet King Eventine (John Rhys-Davies) & His Sons

 

 

COMMERCIALS: And I guess on MTV itself they may be starting some commercials JUST in the last few days. But you need press, billboards, talk shows, etc. too.

 

 

 

 

 

And finally here are the Opening Credits.

 

I actually think the credits are pretty interesting in that they boil down a few things I had trouble comprehending at first even way back when I read the first few books.

Edited by Kromm

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I read the Shannara books over the years. I cannot imagine making these into a tv series, but I will be watching.

It looks like they took a good stab at it, and I believe Terry Brooks is tightly involved (George RR Martin style).  And just watch the clips, trailers,etc. If nothing else this shit is EXPENSIVE looking. Major dollahs got put here.

 

GoT was the proving ground for this kind of show. Except err... I still think MTV totally tanking on the promotion of the show may be already tossing the dirt on the show's grave, even before a single ep. has aired and no matter how good it is. I mean you gotta get big viewership to justify the amount of money they clearly put into this. And I really don't know anyone who knows this show exists other than the few people who have posted in this topic and some folks who commented on YouTube clips.  I suppose if we check Shannara theme hashtags maybe we'll find more.  But grr. The premiere is literally 10 days away. This is when people should be in frenzy about a show.

 

If you do a Google News search for "Shannara Chronicles" you get a smattering of little mentions, when most shows have that little thing you have to press that says something like "Explore in depth (1200 more articles). This has no "more articles" tag because there just aren't enough articles I guess.

 

Getting back to why this might creatively work (rather than why it might commercially fail), I think it's because they focused very tightly on The Elfstones of Shannara. This damn series is all over Brooks' history, but there's no way a show that has to resonate with actual real viewers could be (because you have to follow a discrete group of characters), so they just choose Elfstones and did it there. It's been SO long since I read it I barely recall how closely the immediate sequels followed on the timeline, but I think the next book after (Wishsong of Shannara) was the kids of the cast of this book... so really they're just stuck having to follow one book and expand on it with Brooks input I guess (I also recall that Elfstones was set nowhere near it's predecessor, Sword of Shannara either). 

 

I do recall liking Elfstones a lot (maybe more than Sword), but since I developed a real distaste for Fantasy series that overstay their welcome I don't think I read more than another 2 or 3 books beyond that. I bet most people have read more of them than me, I guess, but I did like those first three.

Edited by Kromm

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I still fear this is going to commercially tank, but at least a few reviews have trickled in.  But er... the operative word is "few". Maybe "a couple" would be more accurate.

 

Forbes (who liked it): http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillbarr/2015/12/28/the-shannara-chronicles-game-of-thrones-star-wars-mtv/

 

io9 (who had real mixed feelings): http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-shannara-chronicles-is-the-epic-fantasy-that-only-m-1749605284

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CHARACTER PIECES:

 

The Shannara Chronicles | Meet Allanon (Manu Bennett)

 

Unfortunate name for a character, but I suppose it was set in (elf)stone, so they weren't going to change it.

Not that I made the Al-Anon connection when I read the books decades ago.

I think I saw a fallen over Space Needle in one of the videos. I suppose it's a call out to the author, who lives in Seattle (at least, I think he does). Nice change of pace from the typical NY/DC ruins.

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 sneak peak - this looks very, very good.

Well it's nice to see the show is being promoted well in Oz, even if not in the US.

BTW: I don't think it's spoilery to say

"that doesn't happen in the books!" 

.  But I'll use a tag anyway.

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I only just heard about this too. I read some of the books as a teen. I recall liking Wishsong and Elfstones the best. I liked the guy with the one arm. I'll check it out. I'm basically unspoiled on everything except Manu Bennett. I haven't read my latest Entertainment Weekly, so I don't know if there's a review in there. 

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I thought it was pretty good; the scenery and special effects are impressive. The inclusion of the Old World in the landscape was a neat touch. Wil was a lot like how I pictured him (as was Allanon, in a way), but I don't recall the dialog being quite so contemporary.

Edited by jcin617
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I thought it was pretty good. I grew up with these stories, but I actually don't want them translated "faithfully" to the screen, I'd rather have effective serialized television than the straight filming of a 35 year old fantasy novel. The prominence of the ruins of the contemporary world in the scenery is great, and I like the cast, especially Manu Bennett, who isn't at all how I imagined Allanon but is great here.

 

After watching the lavish, massive-budget affair that is Game of Thrones, however, it was disappointing that they decided to set almost the whole thing in the wilderness rather than construct urban sets. So, Flick is living in a hut in the middle of nowhere and the town of Shady Vale and it's signature Inn are nowhere to be seen. There's a palace at Arborlon but no city, and Wil sets off for the town of Storlock but never gets there. Paranor is underwhelming to say the least. The wilderness is pretty, but this is a huge deviation from the mostly urban society described in the novels - where most people live in walled towns and cities because travel across the post-apocalyptic landscape always seems to be extremely dangerous, with threats emerging that have nothing to do with the Big Bad. Like I said, I'm not into faithfulness for the sake of faithfulness - but if they're trying to save the world, it would be nice to see the world to give us some stakes. 

 

Maybe this will change in upcoming episodes.

 

For now, I like the cast, and I like how the pilot starts the story earlier than the book on which it's based - on paper, the death of Wil's mother and the decision to go to Storlock, and Amberle's selection as Chosen and her subsequent flight from Arborlon, are canon backstory, but the novel starts with these events months in the past and they are fed to us as exposition. It works better to show these events on screen to let us get to know the characters firsthand.

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It's not surprising that a 1st episode would contain a lot of exposition, especially in a book adaptation. That gets a pass from me. 

Edited by ganesh
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Halfway through the first episode; Enjoyable so far except for that lame-ass song at the party. I feel like the books have way more depth (which is obvious) and the characters probably not described in certain ways the show portrays them to be, but still, curious to see where that could go.

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Not bad. I know nothing about the books so I'm basing my thoughts purely on the series.  At times it felt like the younger characters were on the verge of going Twilight or Hunger Games, thankfully Allanon and ironically the Head Demon provide a lot of adult drama and ground the show . (Never thought Id say the demon is the one grounding a show) They're the ones provinding the weight and heft to events.

 

The main problems the two parter face are the ones all pilots face. A bunch of people we dont care about doing stuff we dont know about. Fortunately it moved fast enough that we  got to the goods parts quickly.

 

Also. Apparently Alanon owns a teleporter giving how fast he was moving from location to location. 

Edited by The Kings Foot
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I started watching this last night.  I really like it so far!  I don't think I've fully finished the first episode yet - I just got to the part where Allanon meets Wil.  Love all the scenery and CGI!

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Also. Apparently Alanon owns a teleporter giving how fast he was moving from location to location.

I know, right? I like that they started with the backstory, but a problem this creates is that the events in the first two episodes took place over a period of months in the novel. On the show, it seems like it's all the same day. If so, Allanon 's appearing everywhere doesn't make that much sense. I've always imagined the 4 lands to be smallish, with Eldwist being the ruins of Seattle and the ruined city in the Lower Anar being Portland. So it's not the whole country, it's actually just coastal Washington and Oregon. But still, Arborlon's near the coast (which has moved, sea level is lower), and Wil is seen riding a horse along the ruins of I-5. Allanon gets to Wil in one cut - how?

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Also. Apparently Alanon owns a teleporter giving how fast he was moving from location to location. 

Hey, I thought it was good to see Littlefinger's magic horse landing a new role.

Edited by Which Tyler
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Well, the quality is rising. The actors are good actually but I'm still having a hard time getting past all their "Apollons and Aphrodites" looks and vibes... too much is too much sometimes, which is sad, cause although way too "basically handsome and sexy", the actors are really not bad. I'm really starting to appreciate the acting of the lead one (Wil).

 

Anyway, I had the same problem with The 100 at first and get beyond it, so hopefully the same effect will happen here.

Edited by Triskan
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I can't hear Allanon without thinking Al-Anon, as in Alcoholics Anonymous. And there's a town near me called Amberly, so there's that.

Wil is a little too Dude, Where's My Elfstone, but I suppose he's there for comic relief or something.

A little tired of the "teenager saving the world" trope, but I guess that's the market they're playing to. I'll give it one or two more episodes.

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I watched and am pretty much done. It just wasn't entertaining for me. Also, I was struck by the lack of diversity in the main cast. I don't get how MTV or any network expect to widen its young audience with this kind of casting given this country's changing demographic.

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I saw one darker hued Elf.  There's that.

 

 

Wil is a little too Dude, Where's My Elfstone, but I suppose he's there for comic relief or something.

 

Exactly. Hopefully Surfer Elf will smarten up and at least keep his mouth closed when not speaking. 

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I'm not a fan of Will, but that could be residual dislike for the character that Austin Butler played on Arrow. Also not a fan of the love triangle that they seem to be developing between Will, Amberly and Eritrea. I don't see much romantic and/or sexual chemistry in that triangle. Actually, the only chemistry that I see is between Amberly and her blonde friend/servant whose name I forgot.

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Finally finished watching this two-parter last night.  I like it!  I thought I'd be annoyed by their modern way of speaking, but it doesn't bug me.  And I always love seeing Manu Bennett in anything, so him along would get me into this series.  The landscape and CGI look good.  I'm not going to lie though, when they were showing that beach where the demon attacks them, I was all "I've seen that beach on Xena before!"  I apparently have watched too many shows filmed in New Zealand because I'm starting to recognize the landscape!

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Exactly. Hopefully Surfer Elf will smarten up and at least keep his mouth closed when not speaking.

 

I agree he needs to smarten up as the series progresses, but right now I'm even enjoying his surfer elf character. Probably because the actor plays it in quite an honest and endearing way.

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Holy shit this was as bad as the books. Please, be canceled soon and free Manu Bennett for better stuff.

 

It probably could have worked on TV, like, 30 years ago. Maybe even 20. But now? Played so straight, with such a generic script and so many generic characters, and the horrible dialogue? Yeah, no. George Martin gained prominence exactly because his books deconstructed fare such  as this.

Edited by FurryFury

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Well, I hadn't heard about this at all until I saw the forum.  I'll have to see if MTV repeats the first 2 episodes, I hope so.  Frankly, it never would have occurred to me that MTV would have such a show.

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Well, I hadn't heard about this at all until I saw the forum. I'll have to see if MTV repeats the first 2 episodes, I hope so.  Frankly, it never would have occurred to me that MTV would have such a show.

 

Episodes 1-4 are also available on demand for me and online at MTV, but you need to have an account with a TV provider to view them.

Edited by lordonia

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Holy shit this was as bad as the books. Please, be canceled soon and free Manu Bennett for better stuff.

It probably could have worked on TV, like, 30 years ago. Maybe even 20. But now? Played so straight, with such a generic script and so many generic characters, and the horrible dialogue? Yeah, no. George Martin gained prominence exactly because his books deconstructed fare such as this.

I agree it's dreadful, the dialogue and acting are especially overwrought, but the actors are pretty. I'm watching for nostalgia, having read the books a gazillion years ago. Edited by Haleth
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Most actors are pretty. It's nothing special. Amberle was serviceable though, unlike the other two (also, for some reason, the guy reminded me of Miley Cyrus, look-wise).

 

I've also read one of the books ages ago but I don't remember anything about it except that it was awful. Seriously, with so many good or great fantasy out there MTV picks Shannara? What the hell were they thinking?

 

I can only assume that you're not 14. If you're closer to 40, then you're not the target audience.

 

I'm 29. I watch a lot of different TV and some of my favorite TV shows ever (Buffy, Veronica Mars) are "young adult". Hell, I've lasted through 3 seasons of The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf! So I'm pretty sure I am target audience.

Edited by FurryFury

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It has been years since I read this series- but it was one of the first fantasy epics I really dived into so I was very excited (and nervous) but I am really enjoying it so far.

 

It is absolutely beautiful to look at and I really like the score.  Allanon, Wil, and the Elf King are all fantastically cast...I am still waiting out the rest of them.

 

As far as a pilot goes- it was brilliant.

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I also read the series years ago- it is one of the first fantasy series I really got into and I enjoyed it immensely.  

 

I just finished  the episodes and I really liked it.  I am far more into the S&S Epic fantasy than the political fantasy that is GoT (never liked that series- tried it multiple times, his writing just is not my cuppa).

 

I think think there is more that enough room for both and this series is just as grand as Got (there is something like 33 books).

 

The ending certainly has me wanting to see next week so for a pilot- good on them.

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Well, I hadn't heard about this at all until I saw the forum.  I'll have to see if MTV repeats the first 2 episodes, I hope so.  Frankly, it never would have occurred to me that MTV would have such a show.

Well it apparently never occurred to MTV either, since they spent millions per episode making it, then like zero dollars advertising it.

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So I actually do think that Eritrea and Will have decent chemistry and they seem to be less twu luv than Will and Amberly would be so I would be happy if they just stuck with Will Eritrea and keep it moving.  However, shows are addicted to triangles for some reason so I'm preemptively annoyed by the back and forth with this triangle.

 

The scenery is gorgeous.  The acting is pretty decent.

 

I'm interested if the changeling will stay around the palace now that Amberle has gone to start the quest.   

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Do we know who the changeling is? It took Wil's form at some point that I'm unclear about -- doesn't killing FakeWil mean the changeling is now dead?

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Eritrea has lots of chemistry with Amberly. I mean, they've spent pretty much the entire show so far way inside each others space, usually with knives, or saving each others lives. It's like the show wants to set up a cliched enemies to lovers arc.

Which means they should focus the love triangle on her. Or, you know, have an actually triangular love triangle. Shocking concept, right?

Re: the changeling.. The druid broke the changelings neck. It turns out this is just not a fatal wound for someone who can rearrange their entire physical structure more or less at will. Which he obviously suspected, given the instructions to burn the corpse and seal the remains in a jar - the problem was that some idiot decided that carrying out said disposal was a one elf job. Which is just. Noooo.... Shapeshifter protocol: NOONE IS EVER TO BE ALONE.

Edited by Izeinwinter
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I can't hear Allanon without thinking Al-Anon, as in Alcoholics Anonymous. And there's a town near me called Amberly, so there's that.

Wil is a little too Dude, Where's My Elfstone, but I suppose he's there for comic relief or something.

A little tired of the "teenager saving the world" trope, but I guess that's the market they're playing to. I'll give it one or two more episodes.

To be fair, the books had teenagers saving the world so they didn't change it for a young TV audience

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Al-Anon killed a demon and temporarily killed the changeling. The Dagda Mor wants, or should want, nothing more than to kill Princess Ambien before the Ellcrys's seed is fertilized or planted or whatever. Princess Ambien and Eritrea have largely done jack, Will didn't really understand what he was doing when he elfstoned a demon into obliviion, and he's a bit of a dope too boot. I'm thinking it's not such a good idea to leave Al-Anon behind.

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Quality of series is rising.

Surfer Elf is serviceable, though I'm having a hard time seeing him as attracting both Princess Elf and Gypsy Girl despite his bodacious bod. He's at his best when he's playing sidekick to Tall, Dark and Grim.

Gypsy Girl is really good as an actress but she's not really being given much character to work with.

I'm still withholding judgment on Princess Elf. Her best chemistry is with her blonde friend and her best acting is when she's monologing. . I'm wondering if she and Surfer' Elf's actor simply dont click.

MVP are still the older actors. ---Manu Bennet, James Remar and Rhys-Davis. I'm wary whats going to happen when the three teenagers go off on thier own.

Also props to who ever was playing the Changeling as a guard. There's just something fluid about the way the actor actress moves as if they're not quite bound by physics.

P.S. Eritrea is a like a foot shorter than Amberle. I dont think that switcheroo fooled anyone.

Edited by The Kings Foot
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