After the two-hour premiere of MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles,” we admittedly found ourselves at least somewhat-ambivalent on the future of the series. After all, we are talking here about a product with a rather robust cast, and one that expects you to have a good sense as to who everyone is in a short period of time. As someone watching without the luxury of knowledge from the source material, this is rather difficult.
Yet, this third episode made it somewhat easier to put the pieces together, mostly in that Amberle is on a quest to prove herself as a worthy Chosen, though in the process she is frequently forced to prove herself to everyone on the way, including her own grandmother. The third episode “Fury” (apparently, the premiere is meant to be thought of as two separate episodes) ended on somewhat of an Amberle cliffhanger, but not really since the show isn’t killing off their lead female elf anytime soon.
Meanwhile, this episode also gave us a new master-of-visions in new character Bandon, who is easily able to show us Wil’s purpose further as protector courtesy of the not-so-wonderful notion of Amberle in blood. Therefore, he’ll be inclined to stick with her and/or probably take his shirt off more to clean up. There was only one real purpose of that scene in our mind … and you probably know what that is.
This episode contained plenty of violence (especially the Eretria – Amberle fight), but also plenty of heroics to go along with it. Apparently all Allanon needs is a nap in a druid cave to recover from his injuries enough to save the day, and also bring our heroes back to Ellcrys. Manu Bennett remains a favorite for us in this series, though we want to see him have some more awesome stuff to do.
Ultimately, we think the biggest benefit to “The Shannara Chronicles” is that it is bringing fantasy to television, which other than “Game of Thrones” now is somewhat rare. The issue it is running into still is that it is rather dense for MTV, and in particular there is a robust vocabulary that you are forced to pick up on almost right away. This may be a bit too hardcore of fantasy for the network crowd, but time will tell. Grade: B-.
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