Last year, I started writing a post reviewing The Shannara Chronicles, although I came to the realization that I didn’t have anything positive or exciting that was worth doing a review of. At some point, I was bored and even mad while writing so I ended up scrap it. Although this time the show took a 180º degree change for better and I think is time to bring back my thoughts on season 1 comparing with season 2.
The story starts with Amberle (Poppy Drayton), Princess of the Elves, attempting to pass through a prove to be the Chosen to serve and protect the Ellcrys, the tree that locks away (in another world) Demons who want to destroy the Four Lands. Humans are no longer in “charge” of the planet after the Great Wars which led almost the extension of the human race and the magical races started to emerge. The Four Lands is named after the division in 4 major territories: the Northland (occupied by Trolls), the Southland (where the remains of the Men race live), the Eastland (with Dwarven and Gnomes constantly fighting over land) and the Westland (home of the Elves race and the Ellcrys) – if you want to know more or if this is too confusing just read this article.
The Chosen is the only one that can save the Ellcrys now that it is dying. For each leaf it loses, another Demon is set free to create chaos and war. Amberle with help of Wil (Austin Butler), a Shannara (half Human and half Elf) and Eretria (Ivana Baquero), a Rover, have the mission to save the Great Tree in order to stop the demons and protect the Four Lands.
The first season is basically a quest. These three different persons are obligated to work together to find the key to save the Ellcrys. Although, they don’t like or trust each other. In the beginning, the relations start really bumpy and dramatic which leads to all sort of problems and uncomfortable situations until they start to grow individually and learning to work together.
The second season happens a couple of months after the end of season 1 and it looks a little bit confusing at first. So many things have changed, we have to know new characters, new relationships, and new places. But once you know and get used to it, it’s like you are watching a completely different story. The first season acts more as a background for the characters and the relationships. There isn’t anything from it that wasn’t solved and continues to the second season. This time, the problems are completely different, the Elf Kingdom isn’t the main focus, the story even takes places in a different zone of the Four Lands. You almost don’t need to see the first season to get into the second.
I think it’s pretty obvious the changes in the story from when it was produced by MTV and now when it’s from Spike. The season 2 has 10 episodes (as well as season 1) and I’m sure Wil was shirtless for 8 or 9 episodes, at least, for a few seconds. I’m not entirely mad about this *wink wink* but it gets pretty obvious they were shotting those scenes on purpose. This was something that I would expect from MTV. I mean, they gave us Geordie Shore, Jersey Shore, Acapulco Shore and all the other Shores and even The Valleys. The Valleys!! And yet, I still felt more chemistry and sexiness between two girls on one episode of Faking It (also produced by MTV) then I found on the entire first season of the Shannara Chronicles.
Thanks to Spike, Wil went from “he’s cute” to “he’s HOT”. The makeover was much welcome and they can keep doing. Same way goes to Bandon (Marcus Vanco) although I would pass the Ripper vibes or maybe just cut a little short the rob. That thing was a little odd for my taste. Probably since they don’t use as many mystical creatures and characterization for this season I enjoyed it more. I was never a big fan of fantasy so Dwarfs, Demons and Trolls isn’t my thing and when they don’t invest much into creating those creatures as “real” as possible, it annoys me. So keeping those characters with just a few appearances, doesn’t give me time to focus on how bad the characterization really is.
Then we get introduced to so many new characters that completely put aside the first season. The story was more compelling, heartbreaking, and can put you on the edge of your sit. I got much more invested in the characters this time and I started to like a few of them. And Bandon is my sweetheart for sure. His characters had just a minor roll on season 1 but this time he came to shake things up and I’m glad he did. Everyone just used him when he just wanted to learn how to control his power and be happy (spoiler alert: he’s not a good guy). So I understand his hunger and I’m sad that he didn’t have a chance to redeem himself. Although he will always be my favourite. By the end of the season, we have fewer characters than we started off with. This time they decided to give one of GOT (Game Of Thrones). Although I can’t say I hate it, for the contrary, now the third season can be anything. They left so many problems to solve that I’m expecting nothing less then craziness for the third season.
It isn’t a spoiler that this series has romance. Now almost everything needs to have romance and The Shannara Chronicles isn’t an exception. And even that has changed compared with the first season. The love story was a complete mess, it was all over the place, and it was what can be described has teenagers with hormones. For the second season, they kept it on the down low. We still get drama and romance but it isn’t as impulsive as it was in the first season. I wasn’t expecting all the changes in the relationships between the characters but it’s great it happened.
If someone asks me for a next series to watch I 100% will recommend The Shannara Chronicles. Either if you are into fantasy or not, those characters and their stories are captivating. And from the changes between both seasons, you can expect anything to happen. It can go similar to the second season, it can go back to the first one or even take a completely different path. I like how open the story is and how we have no clue where it can go. Now this series is worth your time.