Set in the mythical land of…Northern California, Shannara Chronicles follows the journey of Princess Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton), Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) and Eretria (Ivana Baquero) on a mission to save their world from a powerful ancient elvish druid demon known as, The Dagda Mor (Jed Brophy) and his demon army, formerly banished to the underworld by the power of the Ellcrys (a magical tree). Whaaaaat?
I wish this beginning didn’t have to sound so wtf, but it can’t be helped. The Shannara Chronicles takes place hundreds of years after the reign of human civilization has ended. The inhabitants exist within the bones of that civilization, which they call the four lands, and what’s left of the human race is not exactly the best of the best. How humans destroyed their civilization has been lost (at least in S1) and at some point, mythical creatures like elves, magical elves, trolls, druids, gnomes, demons, shape shifters and giant human toting birds came into existence. Technologiy is long gone and forgotten and given all of the mystical/physical advantages these other races have, it’s no wonder humans are at the bottom of the evolution totem.
So why is this happening? The Ellcrys is dying and every time it sheds one of its leaves, a demon is released back into the four lands to wreak bloody havoc. Once the tree is completely bare, the Dagda Mor's power will be completely restored and all races of the four lands are under threat. As the chosen one, Amberle is guided by the last druid (kinda), Allanon (Manu Bennett) and is later joined by Wil and Eretria. Wil is half elf but it’s that half that makes him very special. He’s the last of the Shannaran bloodline and is the only one who can wield three very powerful blue elf stones. Eretria, a human, was raised or rather enslaved, by Rovers; better known as a band of thieves. These four paths cross and it becomes clear that they must work together to save the Ellcrys and banish the demons from the four lands forever.
If any of the above sounds like a show you might be interested in, please consider the following:
The episodes have very few moments of actual movement toward its characters goals. They spend half the season, trying to convince people that demons are real and that a war is coming. I don’t even want to talk about how although Amberle is a trained warrior, she is generally useless in a fight. Every time. These are not your LOTR’s elves. The only good thing I can say about that is at least these elves are made up of different races and ethnicities. The above issues are just cookies compared to the cream, which is the real problem. The writing. Plodding storylines and character journey’s left me frustrated and dissatisfied. I admit, there was A LOT of eye rolling going on in my living room. Eretria is probably one of the more interesting characters but they didn’t do nearly enough with her development and what they did do seemed smashed into the last two episodes.
Season two needs to step it up in a major way. It’s a show with real potential, but so far I haven’t seen anything new.