The Shannara Chronicles (MTV)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ucfgrad93, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #1
    Watched the opening episodes of The Shannara Chronicles on MTV last night. First time I've watched MTV in a long, long time. It is based on The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Just wondering what you thought about it if you watched it.

    While I liked it, I was surprised by how much it deviated from the book. This is one of my all time favorite books, so maybe I'm too critical.
     
  2. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #2
    i read the book a couple of centuries ago so i don't really remember the details, thus i don't think that would an issue with me.
    smart move not to start with Sword of Shannara. IIRC Elfstones was a much better book, and they might avoid 'copyright' issues with the Lord of the Ring. ;)

    i only saw the trailer and the production value seems to be really high.

    the books were quite kid-friendly and i was wondering what would be the appropriate age for this?
    i would like to start watch it with my family, but not sure if it is a good idea.
    for reference my youngest (10) has watched the harry potter, star wars and indiana jones sagas. One scene that was a bit scary to her was the face-melting scene in Raiders. And she plays a mean wizard in our D&D campaign :).
    my main concerns are violence/goriness and very explicit scenes
     
  3. MattA macrumors 6502

    MattA

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    #3
    I thought it was decent overall. It has its issues, but for the most part it follows the spine of the story. It does deviate from the novel a bunch, but that's to be expected with an adaptation.

    As for being kid-friendly, it has a scene of brief nudity, and some violence that's pretty harsh for TV, but if you don't mind those things it's fine.

    You might want to stream the first episode to see what you think before showing it to your youngest. After that, the 2 hour pilot plus the following 2 episodes are available to stream via mtv's app and website.

    Wil and Allanon are casted perfectly, IMO. I think they're great. Eretria is a bit too young, and Amberle seems to be a decent fit.

    I suspect it's just starting to heat up and will be excellent by the end. I have high hopes! :)
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    Agree that the Elfstones is a better book than 'The Sword of Shannara', although the latter has an 'epic' quality that does sustain the narrative arc. Over twenty years ago, I read quite a few of the books from the various Shannara series' - they were one of the first fantasy series that I read post TLOTR.

    Anyway, I enjoyed them, although the plot became more shallow and repetitive with later works, lacking character, depth, originality, or narrative force. Two of the books in the Talismans of Shannara series were excellent - but after that, it became worn and rather tired to my mind.

    Still, Elfstones is an excellent book, and it would be nice to see a thoughtful and well done adaptation. May you all enjoy it.
     
  5. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #5
    If by kid friendly, you mean Terry Brooks doesn't go into gory details about the broken bodies of the Reaper's victims, then yeah.;) As I recall, he doesn't go into much detail at all, other than vaguely describing them as broken bodies. I let my imagination run wild with entrails snaking out of the Chosen's 'broken bodies'. Oh and the feces and blood stained robes, severed heads frozen in mid screams and so on. Fun stuff.o_O It's been ages since I've read Elf Stones.

    Hands down, the best of the original trilogy. I also consider it the best of all the Shannara books.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    I think it excellent. Others I thought excellent were The Druid of Shannara (the second of the Talismans quartet) - which was a powerfully told tale - and the Elf Queen of Shannara which was quite unlike almost all of the other books and - to my mind - all the better for it, subtle, challenging, with its own entirely coherent, chilling, internal logic.

    After those, I also rather liked the quest element of the narrative which was well done - and the fleshing out of the secondary characters such as Cogline, Slanter the Dwarf, and Garet Jax, of the Wishsong of Shannara, - the siblings at the heart of it were pretty interesting, too, though Rone Leah annoyed the hell out of me, as possessive, needy proto-heroes inevitably will.
     
  7. kapolani macrumors regular

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    #7
    The Sword of Shannara was the first book I read for pleasure. Even then, I was pretty much forced to read it.

    I bought the book with another book, one I was forced to read for school, called The Martian Chronicles. The Sword of Shannara stayed on the shelf for a year or so.

    Then one day, it was raining hard and I couldn't go out to play etc. So, I decided to read a few chapters of the book to pass some time. Man! I was engrossed from the beginning.

    This book led me to read: The Lord of the Rings. Got me into David Eddings and Raymond Feist.

    I watched the show. The way the elves were portrayed were a little to Young Adult 90210'ish for my tastes, but the way Allanon is portrayed is spot on.

    I have high hopes for the show and hope it lasts more than one season.
     
  8. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #8
    I wish The author had left Cogline alone. I liked the crazy old hermit with "black powder" (gunpowder) technology.:cool: That gave him an air of mystery and also made him a bit of an anachronism (technologist in a world of magic). Giving him the backstory of being a Druid in the later books answered a lot of questions that probably annoyed other readers. I understand that. But I wish he could have remained the crazy old coot from Wishsong.:( He's me...dialed up to eleven.:rolleyes::D
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    Must admit that I rather liked Cogline - I liked him an awful lot, in fact - and I even liked the idea of his backstory. However, much more could have been done with him, without revealing the entire mystery of who and what he was.

    Actually, I have long thought that Terry Brooks could have done a lot more with some of his secondary characters than he did, especially as they tended to be an awful lot more interesting than his perennial leads, lacking personality. (All those predictable Leahs, - Menion rocked, and Morgan wasn't too bad, but that was about it, - and some very, very tedious and utterly forgettable Ohmsfords).
     
  10. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #10
    In the Ohmsfords' defense, they are ordinary folk thrust into an extraordinary situations. They would understandably be ordinary. If not for the blood of Jerle Shannara flowing through their veins, they would be given the same regards as the other peasant folk. I would consider it an insult to my intelligence if they where gum chewing, (_!_) kicker. That would not be believable.

    The secondary characters, OTOH, are princes and heroes--larger than life figures renowned throughout the Four Lands. Tales of their daring-do told in alehouse everywhere. The Leahs are the notable exceptions. They're only known by the Ohmsfords and the subjects of the one horse kingdom of Leah.:D:oops:
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    Agreed re Shea and Flick Ohmsford - they were ordinary characters thrust into adventure and mystery an magic. But their descendants weren't (and I loved Flick in Elfstones, still critical, and doubtful, and rightly so).

    Their descendants were no longer 'ordinary' - and the family was no longer 'ordinary' - they carried this bloodline, and married , or hung out with sorcerers, and Druids, and Kings (and Queens).

    I don't mind the idea of 'farm boy' as hero - it is a real trope of American fiction, even James T Kirk is described as a 'farm boy' who escaped to space - but it is hard to sustain this self deluding myth when your family has intermarried with local (one horse) royalty, is carrying mythical bloodlines, and has saved the world about once per two or three generations.

    So, I don't buy the pretence of the Ohmsfords that 'we're just ordinary folk' stuff. As self-protection, maybe; as genuine belief, no.

    The story that wasn't told was that of an Ohmsford going to the bad; that might have been worth reading.
     
  12. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #12
    I agree with your assessment of the elves. I like the way Allanon is portrayed except for him using a sword. He never used one in any of the books. My other main complaint is the way that Will is portrayed. He is kind of a wimp/indecisive kid on the show. He was nothing like that in the book.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #13
    So, I've watched all of the episodes so far and have to say the series isn't very good. In my opinion, it has totally jumped the shark.
     
  14. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    #14
    I've only watched some of the first episode and didn't really find it all that compelling (at least to me), but out of curiosity, in what way do you feel it jumped the shark down the line?
     
  15. Scepticalscribe, Feb 18, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #15
    Well, as I'm not in the US, I don't have access to the TV series, and, as I haven't seen it, I am not in a position to comment on how well the story has been translated to the small screen.

    But, my question is, what on earth does 'jump the shark' mean? That is an expression that I have never come across before.
     
  16. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    #16
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #17
    Ah, I see. Thank you for your response and for posting the interesting link which explains matters further.

    Well, until today, this is an expression I had never come across. Hm.
     
  18. MattA macrumors 6502

    MattA

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    #18
    Yeah, the show never really improved much. They've changed every single thing in the novel except for the premise. It just feels... wrong?

    I'd give it a 5/10. It's not good, but it doesn't suck. Younger people will surely like it. The book is a million times better.
     
  19. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #19
    Agreed. They have pretty much changed everything about the books.
     
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #20
    I haven't seen this adaptation, so cannot comment on it, but your remarks do not make me wish to try to see it at any stage in the future, should such an opportunity arise.

    However, this merely serves as a sort of background chorus to the general point of why movie adaptations, and TV adaptations of excellent and well loved books almost always (almost, not always, there have been a few honourable exceptions) traduce, rip out, and otherwise annihilate a really good nuanced story, and reduce an excellent and complex tale to trite superficialities and clichéd story telling.
     
  21. kapolani macrumors regular

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    #21
    I forced myself to watch a couple more episodes.

    Just when I think it can get better - it gets worse.

    I'm not interested in a buffy the vampire slayer adaptation.

    Glad Walking Dead is back. Waiting for Into the Badlands to start up again too.
     
  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #22
    What a real pity, as - to my mind - the Elfstones of Shannara are probably the single best book in Terry Brooks's entire body of work.

    But, my question stands: Why murder a perfectly good book when adapting it for TV or the Big Screen?
     
  23. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #23
    Agreed. The Elfstones is my favorite book of the Shannara series. I have no idea why Brooks allowed such a horrible adaptation of the book.
     
  24. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #24
    Perhaps the old 'pounds, schillings, pence' response - in other words, ample remuneration - might give us a clue as to why he allowed this.
     
  25. ucfgrad93 thread starter macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #25
    That certainly is a possibility.
     

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