Television Review: The Shannara Chronicles, Season 2

Shannara Chronicles 2

Synopsis: A heart-broken Wil attempts to move on with his life as he trains to become a healer while Eretria has found a new family and a love of her own.

A new threat arises though: the Crimson, determined to eradicate magic from the Four Lands through whatever means necessary. King Ander seeks an alliance with humans, hoping to put aside old differences.

Bandon is set on raising the Warlock Lord and Allanon must do whatever is in his power to stop him. Even if that means risking Wil and Mareth – Allanon’s new-found daughter with powerful magic of her own.

Programme: The Shannara Chronicles, Series 1

Company: Farah Films

Date: 2017

I didn’t overly enjoy the first series of The Shannara Chronicles. But morbid curiosity made me watch the second: I wanted to see how (and if) they followed the books. I knew where I wanted the story to go…and watched the show in disbelief as it arched in completely different directions.

When an adaptation ends up so different, can it still claim the same title? As apart from a few character names (stand by for my rant on characterisation!), there was nothing that mildly related to the books. It’s frustrating because anyone who happens to see the show first wouldn’t be driven to read the books – which are thoroughly enjoyable reads for any high fantasy fan.

Onto the actual review then…

I understand that any adaption needs to put its own spin on things, so the new characters included each played their part in order to move the plot on and to help the original characters grow in themselves.

But what I do mind is when the few characters that remain true to the book are destroyed.  Wil and Eretria were alright, despite Wil not really doing much for the entire series and Eretria having a crazy plotline of her own that I certainly didn’t see coming.

Ander, however, is portrayed in the books as being a strong king: he was destined for the throne even if circumstances appeared to dictate otherwise. But in this, his decisions are questioned and there is never any sign he is a good ruler; his country is about to be torn apart by civil war. The screen-adaption of Ander lacks depth.

It was good to witness more of Shea’s backstory (even if the whole time-travel episode was somewhat predictable). But again, Shea becomes a drunk, a failure and a man who abandons his family. This is not the Shea of the books – and it is frustrating that a much-loved character is destroyed in such a way.

Th Warlock Lord was also ridiculous. Admittedly, trying to put a character on screen that is the definition of evil in the books is hard. But the make-up just screamed “I’m-the-baddy!” and his actions towards the female characters especially were just unnecessarily over-sexualised. It was creepy, and not in a way that showed his evilness.

I could rant for this entire thing about how much the characterisations annoyed me. But I’ll move on.

To be honest, it wasn’t just the characters that I had issues with. The plot was slow-paced and didn’t bring the characters together in a way that would have improved it. There were two threats, but neither felt particularly threatening, which undermined the character deaths that the war inflicted.

This disappointed me so much. I should have known that an adaption of a book I thoroughly enjoyed wasn’t going to live up to expectations. But I didn’t expect to get bored, care nothing for the characters and find several aspects predictable.

Not one I would recommend. Especially if you’re a fan of the books.

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2 thoughts on “Television Review: The Shannara Chronicles, Season 2

  1. The first time I watched the show, I didn’t make me interested in the books. But now that I’m rewatching it, I want to read the books.
    Agree about Ander. I thought he would have developed some depth and assumed that all that has happened would push him to be a better ruler than his dad the king but that didn’t happen so I don’t think much of his character.
    And yes! Totally agree about the Warlock Lord. I thought it was so ridiculous, I laughed. But all that just made me want to read the book to see if it’s the same there.

    Liked by 1 person

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