The Shannara Chronicles first premiered in the USA on MTV in 2016, filled with fantastical elvish creatures and a world of its own. The series is loosely based on the trilogy The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.
The ten episode season follows Amberle, an elvish princess and Wil, the last descendant of the ancient Shannarans. The two journey out to save the ancient Ellcrys tree from destruction leading to an outbreak of monsters from the forbidden lands. On their path to victory, they meet a whole bunch of Elves who aid them in their mission. Wars are fought, monsters defeated and lives sacrificed for the greater good. Overall, a typical utopian series.
The scenes are right out of Lord of the Rings with ancient kingdoms and elven kings. Large mountains loom in the background and the entire story is based around an ancient tree, much like Avatar. The first episode opens with Amberle opting to be the first girl to run in the Gauntlet - a customary race to decide the protectors of the Ellcry - very much like The Hunger Games.
Now these comparisons may seem a bit too much, but this portrayal seems very much adapted from a million other shows. Nothing seems to stand out as being original. The storyline too, although adapted, does not seem any different to dystopian novels where the hero saves the planet from destruction. It’s a bit too cliché for me.
The main lead, Poppy Drayton, does not have a spectacular performance. The saving grace of the entire show is Austin Butler of Disney Channel fame. The two are said to have a romantic storyline but no sparks seem to fly throughout the entirety of the season. Most of the side characters are strong but do not stand out in terms of their presence on screen.
Overall, I would recommend this series if you have not watched any other dystopian or fantasy sagas, or even if you are ready for an extremely complicated storyline with a badly presented back story. The main things I recommend this show for are the eye catching costumes and the settings.