The Shannara Chronicles first trailer.


Television

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Liberty's Edge

From MTV productions

I heard they were doing this awhile back. This looks better then what I thought MTV could have done with it.


Oh My Goodness!
I absolutely MUST watch this when it comes out.
I LOVE that setting.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow...this looks far far better than I had any reason to suspect, and now I am much more interested in seeing this.


Really?! Awesome! I wonder which story they will do first or if it will be a medley.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They have stated the first season is based on the second book (Elfstones of Shannara), although I don't know if all of the book will be turned into one season or split off into further seasons, or if like the books they are going to have major jumps in time and either recast or let the actors play their descendents.

Sovereign Court

Nice trailer this could be interesting.


New Zealand again? That's just silly, although I suppose it's probably cheaper than filming in the US.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I will take a look at the series, but I'm rather pessimistic. I remember reading the first Shannara trilogy, then letting them collect dust in some forgotten corner of my room, until I threw them away years later. (For comparison's sake, I still have my old David Eddings paperbacks, in case the fancy strikes me to read them again, and those are pretty bad.)

Simon Legrande wrote:
New Zealand again? That's just silly, although I suppose it's probably cheaper than filming in the US.

It is, because New Zealand has a lot of different landscapes relatively close together.


Wow, that came out of left field. I enjoyed the shannara books I read *note the rose colored glasses I am wearing* but this could be fun.


Fabius Maximus wrote:
I will take a look at the series, but I'm rather pessimistic. I remember reading the first Shannara trilogy, then letting them collect dust in some forgotten corner of my room, until I threw them away years later. (For comparison's sake, I still have my old David Eddings paperbacks, in case the fancy strikes me to read them again, and those are pretty bad.)

That's pretty much my take on them. I kind of liked the first one, despite being so blatantly ripped off from Tolkein. I particularly liked the only power of the sword being to make you see the truth about yourself - that was different.

I read the next several and was less and less impressed until I gave up. I don't even remember how far I got.


I would love to see something that starts just before the end of the scions series and then mainly focuses on the time just after the formation of Shannara. The Knight of the Word and Scions of Shannara series were both way better than the originals.


Sword and Elfstones were the ones that I enjoyed the most even with their doorstopper size and repeated tropes of 'Defenses break and just in the nick of time, the mcguffin is delivered' The second series really didn't interest me and I kind of rolled my eyes at the showdown with the Stone King at the football stadium.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

MMCJawa wrote:
They have stated the first season is based on the second book (Elfstones of Shannara), although I don't know if all of the book will be turned into one season or split off into further seasons, or if like the books they are going to have major jumps in time and either recast or let the actors play their descendents.

Terry has said the the first season is all of Elfstones (though some tweaks have been made to fit the TV medium better). There's internal talks about what book to do next if it's renewed, but sounds like they haven't settled on anything yet. No matter what they do, there's going to be lots of new characters compared to this season due to the time jumps.


They've got Manu Bennett playing Allanon and John Rhys-Davies. I'm in as long as they can keep a good story.

Are we sure this trailer comes from the same network that produces "Teen Mom"?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To be fair to MTV, although I haven't watched it, I have heard Teen Wolf is pretty good.

And yeah the Shannara books are incredibly derivative as far as fiction goes. BUT...as a TV show, there really is not a whole lot secondary fantasy out there (GoT and the now cancelled cheesy Legend of the Seeker), So the show could get a chance to tread new ground in a way the books don't.

The Exchange

In the visuals department the trailer is a complete shocker. Is this seriously how TV shows look like? That's incredible. I guess we've only really seen a lot of well photographed scenery with some pretty seemless CGI work - there haven't been the massive numbers of people on set that Game of Thrones has, for example.

But still - some great looking monsters and stuff.

I have to wonder though, why Shannara? pretty much everyone agrees that the source material is far from great, especially if several seasons are to be done. I wonder if the project was chosen because of how derivative it is.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's fashionable to denigrate Shannara as derivative of Tolkien. This is a little like criticising Throne of Blood for being derivative of MacBeth.


Shannara has a solid fan base.

I agree with Krensky. Everything from the way magic works to the setting where the old technological world lay in ruins while a new magical one grows from the bones was a first; or is ALL fantasy the same to you people?

Liberty's Edge

Um, I'm not sure you quite understood me.

Throne of Blood is Kurasowa's adaptation of MacBeth to feudal Japan.

Shannara is massively derivative, most especially the early books, of the style and broad plot of Lord of the Rings. Intentionally and unapologetically so since Terry Brooks freely admits he was inspired to write the first book by Tolkein's work.

Another example would be critiscing Clueless as being derivative of Jane Austen's Emma.

They are well crafted, entertaining fantsies. Sure, they don't really innovate, but not every great book needs to.


It may have been inspired by Lord of the Rings but it certainly isn't the same.


Krensky wrote:

Um, I'm not sure you quite understood me.

Throne of Blood is Kurasowa's adaptation of MacBeth to feudal Japan.

Shannara is massively derivative, most especially the early books, of the style and broad plot of Lord of the Rings. Intentionally and unapologetically so since Terry Brooks freely admits he was inspired to write the first book by Tolkein's work.

Another example would be critiscing Clueless as being derivative of Jane Austen's Emma.

They are well crafted, entertaining fantsies. Sure, they don't really innovate, but not every great book needs to.

What's funny is, while watching the trailer I thought, "Filmed in New Zealand? Starring John Rhys-Davies? An orc type with piercings all down his nose? It's as if the producers decided that derivative of Tolkien was a feature, not a bug!"

I'm impressed by the trailer, and plan to watch the series when it airs. It remains to be seen if it end up on the top shelf with Games of Thrones, or the one in the middle with Turn, but so long as it's not another Salem, I'll be happy.


Aranna wrote:

Shannara has a solid fan base.

I agree with Krensky. Everything from the way magic works to the setting where the old technological world lay in ruins while a new magical one grows from the bones was a first; or is ALL fantasy the same to you people?

As Krensky said, the first book especially was very derivative - in plot and style, even in some enemies - the Skull Bearers are basically the Nazgul, for example. Far more so than most other fantasy, even most epic fantasy.

The world building is different. The bits you mention were what I found interesting about it.

The series became less derivative as it went on, but I also lost interest.


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Aranna wrote:
It may have been inspired by Lord of the Rings but it certainly isn't the same.

THE SWORD OF SHANNARA is a plot-by-plot, character-by-character knock-off of LORD OF THE RINGS. No-one, certainly not Terry Brooks himself, seriously argues with this and it is clearly the reason that SWORD is not being adapted.

The second book is reasonably different, which is why they've started with it, and they've played up the post-apocalyptic Earth setting (which is much more subtle in the books) to differentiate it from the usual fantasy cheese. I daresay they'll jump on the later books' leanings into proto-steampunk as well.

So to be fair, the complaint that SHANNARA starts off as a rip-off of LotR is completely accurate. However, the defence that it starts off that way but soon finds its own path is also accurate. The later books (or arguably just all of the books after SWORD) are certainly not ripped off from Tolkien or anyone. None of the books are very well written - Brooks is a cheesy, obvious writer a lot of the time - but there's certainly far worse fantasy around (some of it, like Goodkind and Paolini, already adapted for TV or film).

There are other reasons why they've chosen SHANNARA. It's one of the biggest-selling fantasy series of all time: only Middle-earth, Narnia, DISCWORLD, WHEEL OF TIME and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE have sold more copies, and they're all tied up in rights disputes or have already been made. SHANNARA has sold roughly the same as Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings and R.A. Salvatore, so it's a big deal. It's also historically important, with SWORD being one of the first books to kick off the modern epic fantasy genre.


Well said Wert.

Even as a young teenager all those years ago I thought Sword of Shannara was terribly terrible. And when I unfortunately read the first Wheel of Time book I thought it was almost exactly like Sword of Shannara. Both were incredibly cheesy, color by numbers, trite and devoid of almost any creativity.

I don't think I got much further than the first book in either series.

The series looks like the special effects are by WETA/WETA Digital. So it has that in it's favour. Not much else though.

The Exchange

Quote:
here are other reasons why they've chosen SHANNARA. It's one of the biggest-selling fantasy series of all time: only Middle-earth, Narnia, DISCWORLD, WHEEL OF TIME and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE have sold more copies, and they're all tied up in rights disputes or have already been made. SHANNARA has sold roughly the same as Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings and R.A. Salvatore, so it's a big deal. It's also historically important, with SWORD being one of the first books to kick off the modern epic fantasy genre.

I would have liked to see some Reymond E. Feist get a big budget TV series.

Quote:

What's funny is, while watching the trailer I thought, "Filmed in New Zealand? Starring John Rhys-Davies? An orc type with piercings all down his nose? It's as if the producers decided that derivative of Tolkien was a feature, not a bug!"

I'm impressed by the trailer, and plan to watch the series when it airs. It remains to be seen if it end up on the top shelf with Games of Thrones, or the one in the middle with Turn, but so long as it's not another Salem, I'll be happy.

There's definitely space for a "TV Lord of the Rings" project. It seems like this could be it.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I'd still love Raymond Feist to get a TV deal, hopefully Shannara is a success and generates more interest in well done fantasy on TV that isn't set in the modern day (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There also seems to be some new life in Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! movie. He met with the new writer on that project and thinks he's a much better fit than previous ones attached to the project. And Steve Carrel is still attached to star.

The Exchange

JoelF847 wrote:

I'd still love Raymond Feist to get a TV deal, hopefully Shannara is a success and generates more interest in well done fantasy on TV that isn't set in the modern day (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There also seems to be some new life in Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! movie. He met with the new writer on that project and thinks he's a much better fit than previous ones attached to the project. And Steve Carrel is still attached to star.

So essentially you hope that the "epic fantasy" of tomorrow TV is like "medical drama" of today :)

Speaking of things with a high potential for awesome, we also have American Gods and the Expense and Childhood's End and like 15 superhero shows.

Come to think of it, what I really want to see is the First Law Trilogy. Could be so good.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

yeah and apparently there is a bidding war over Rothfuss's series as well. IF Shannara is able to do really good, we could be soon seeing a golden age of Fantasy TV.


Childhood's End?! Man, that is a mega-depressing book. I dunno what the original intent was, but I took away that humanity was prepared as food for the Overmind.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Lord Snow wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:

I'd still love Raymond Feist to get a TV deal, hopefully Shannara is a success and generates more interest in well done fantasy on TV that isn't set in the modern day (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There also seems to be some new life in Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! movie. He met with the new writer on that project and thinks he's a much better fit than previous ones attached to the project. And Steve Carrel is still attached to star.

So essentially you hope that the "epic fantasy" of tomorrow TV is like "medical drama" of today :)

Speaking of things with a high potential for awesome, we also have American Gods and the Expense and Childhood's End and like 15 superhero shows.

Come to think of it, what I really want to see is the First Law Trilogy. Could be so good.

Actually, I'd like epic fantasy of tomorrow TV to be like superhero TV of today! I think there's more superhero shows out there now than medical dramas.

And was that an intentional pun with "The Expense" rather than "The Expanse" since it's Sci-Fi's most expensive original show ever? :)


Quote:

Even as a young teenager all those years ago I thought Sword of Shannara was terribly terrible. And when I unfortunately read the first Wheel of Time book I thought it was almost exactly like Sword of Shannara. Both were incredibly cheesy, color by numbers, trite and devoid of almost any creativity.

I don't think I got much further than the first book in either series.

Both get a lot better later on. WHEEL OF TIME in particular was a shame because Robert Jordan wanted to write a more autobiographical story about a war veteran who discovers much later in life that he's the "chosen one" and has to deal with that. Publishers convinced him that making everyone young and then a bit more LotR-like was a good idea. He rebelled against that massively after the first book and took a completely different path, fortunately.


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The trailer looks a lot better than I expected, so I'm cautiously optimistic. However, I remember when I read the book as pre-pre-teen and how really upset I was by the solution to the dying Ellcrys.

Sovereign Court

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Well said Wert.

Even as a young teenager all those years ago I thought Sword of Shannara was terribly terrible. And when I unfortunately read the first Wheel of Time book I thought it was almost exactly like Sword of Shannara. Both were incredibly cheesy, color by numbers, trite and devoid of almost any creativity.

I don't think I got much further than the first book in either series.

The series looks like the special effects are by WETA/WETA Digital. So it has that in it's favour. Not much else though.

That's what you get for reading only the first book and having expectations.

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

New Trailer! I do believe I'm sold on this one. IF this succeeds (meaning it's good and does not get cancelled) it could pave the way for other fantasy tv-series. I would love to see something like Elric of Melnibone or hell, even Varian Jeggare and Radovan as a tv-series.


I've never read Shannara (I could never find the early books at libraries), so maybe this will be a good intro.

If you'd told me a few years ago (or hell, even a few months ago) that MTV was making it it would have immediately turned me off, but someone got me into watching Teen Wolf and that was surprisingly REALLY good (despite some very...MTV moments), so I'll give it a shot.

JoelF847 wrote:


There also seems to be some new life in Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! movie. He met with the new writer on that project and thinks he's a much better fit than previous ones attached to the project.

I love that series!

JoelF847 wrote:

And Steve Carrel is still attached to star.

...Well we're already on the fast track to it being s!&@. Bummer.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rosgakori wrote:
New Trailer! I do believe I'm sold on this one. IF this succeeds (meaning it's good and does not get cancelled) it could pave the way for other fantasy tv-series. I would love to see something like Elric of Melnibone or hell, even Varian Jeggare and Radovan as a tv-series.

Elric or Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (a fantasy movie with an irreverent wisecracking buddy cop vibe?) could be intriguing, for old school fantasy.

Other older stuff like Witch World (which might lack a single notable standalone protagonist) or Dragonriders of Pern or Chronicles of Amber could also be funky. (If a Lord of Light movie happens in my lifetime, it will probably be the year after they make a movie based off of Schoolhouse Rock...)

A fair amount of classic fantasy includes sci-fi elements, like in Empire of the East, so that might be seen to muddle themes by purists who don't know where the genre started.

Liberty's Edge

Well, considering Shannara could be considered sci-fi by modern standards, there's hope.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:

I've never read Shannara (I could never find the early books at libraries), so maybe this will be a good intro.

If you'd told me a few years ago (or hell, even a few months ago) that MTV was making it it would have immediately turned me off, but someone got me into watching Teen Wolf and that was surprisingly REALLY good (despite some very...MTV moments), so I'll give it a shot.

Like people were saying, a lot of the Shannara series is hit or miss. The Elfstones and Scions of Shannara are overall much better, thought nothing... REALLY noteworthy. But it looks like they're already switching up some stuff to either hop on pop bandwagons (the Rover girl having been the champion of the rover hunger games or whatever) or the After-Earth elements (REALLY excited to see what role those end up playing in the series).

Rynjin wrote:


JoelF847 wrote:


There also seems to be some new life in Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! movie. He met with the new writer on that project and thinks he's a much better fit than previous ones attached to the project.

I love that series!

JoelF847 wrote:

And Steve Carrel is still attached to star.

...Well we're already on the fast track to it being s*!@. Bummer.

Unless Steve Carrel is going to "star" as Abernanthy!


Hm. He would make a good dog.

Scarab Sages

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Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Werthead wrote:
There are other reasons why they've chosen SHANNARA. It's one of the biggest-selling fantasy series of all time: only Middle-earth, Narnia, DISCWORLD, WHEEL OF TIME and A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE have sold more copies, and they're all tied up in rights disputes or have already been made. SHANNARA has sold roughly the same as Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings and R.A. Salvatore, so it's a big deal. It's also historically important, with SWORD being one of the first books to kick off the modern epic fantasy genre.

The Dragonriders of Pern novel should be in that list. I wish the TV series would have gotten further than pre-production.

Shadow Lodge

+1 for Dragonriders, I would have loved to see something come of that.

If nothing else, though, this discussion has convinced me to dig out my big omnibus of the first three Shannara books and try reading them again. I got partway through the first book and gave up because it was incredibly dull. I may just look up a Cliff's Notes and skip straight to the second.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The first three novels are the best. I only read the first and part of the second of the Scions saga. They just couldn't hold my interest like the first three.

BTW. The Sword of Shannara was adapted into a serial newspaper comic. Here is an article about it.


I don't have a problem with Shannara being derivative. All good fiction steals. My problem was that there wasn't anything that interesting, nor was it particularly well written.

I enjoyed it at the time, in my early teens, I don't have any interest in rereading it though.

At the same time, a TV-adaptation could be just fine. It's going to be rewritten no matter what, so as long as it's improved, well-acted, well-directed and looks good (or basically 1-star for each of those that it achieves) I don't have a problem with it.

Hopefully it can walk the line of being serious without veering off into cheesy or too grim/brooding/dark.

The Exchange

Irontruth wrote:

so as long as it's improved, well-acted, well-directed and looks good (or basically 1-star for each of those that it achieves) I don't have a problem with it.

Aren't those just the general components of a good TV show, though?


Lord Snow wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

so as long as it's improved, well-acted, well-directed and looks good (or basically 1-star for each of those that it achieves) I don't have a problem with it.

Aren't those just the general components of a good TV show, though?

Yup, which is my way of saying that even if the source material is flawed, I think the show can be fine.

Scarab Sages

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Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Irontruth wrote:
Yup, which is my way of saying that even if the source material is flawed, I think the show can be fine.

You mean like Game of Thrones.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Did anyone watch the premier last night? What did you think? I won't be watching until tonight most likely, but excited to see fan reactions.

Sovereign Court

Not blown away.


Only had minimal interest (never read the books) until I saw the male lead is played by the smarmy blond DJ from Arrow at which point my interest was suddenly negative.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Kalshane wrote:
Only had minimal interest (never read the books) until I saw the male lead is played by the smarmy blond DJ from Arrow at which point my interest was suddenly negative.

I didn't notice that connection, but the druid Allanon is played by Manu Bennet (Slade Wilson/Deathstroke from Arrow) so hopefully that balances it out.

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