Critical Condition: The Shannara Chronicles

The early reviews are in for The Zone’s NZ-filmed The Shannara Chronicles, which premieres 8.30 Wednesday — the same day as the US.

“MTV tries — and fails — for a Game of Thrones all their own with this goofy, garish tale of warring elves and demons,” The Hollywood Reporter says of the 10-part series.

“Fantasy stories tend to risk the ridiculous to achieve the sublime. But The Shannara Chronicles almost always lands on the wrong side of that divide.

“Though filmed entirely in New Zealand (Lord of the Rings country), the series rarely takes advantage of the picturesque locales, instead relying on bad CGI for flyover exteriors and confining much of the action to a number of overlit, chintzy sets — such as the Elven castle that looks like some unholy cross between a wellness spa and an IKEA showroom.”

But trade paper rival Variety thought “some fairly impressive CGI hellscapes” often divert the viewer from the show’s weaker elements and, moreover, argues a television series doesn’t have to be unique to be worth watching.

“Fantasy fans hankering for a breezy (if low-budget) epic are likely to find things to enjoy in this energetic saga.

“The subset of TV viewers who liked to spend a lazy Saturday bingeing on the adventures of Xena or watching Legend of the Seeker may well enjoy what The Shannara Chronicles brings to the elvish council table.”

Website We Got It Covered says the show aims to occupy the middle ground between The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, “spinning a fantastical yarn full of elves, demons, ancient sorcerers and magical prophecy.

“But instead, its jarringly anachronistic writing and overly glossy execution, clearly designed to appeal to teen audiences, leaves it stranded somewhere far closer to those series’ unsavory derivatives.”

In the middle ground of critiques was Entertainment Weekly’s: “The world-building is imaginative and impressive, but the mythology is exhausting to keep up with, especially when the reward is basically just a romance-novel version of The Lord of the Rings, complete with courtly hand-kissing and sexy elfin bubble baths.”

It rated the first three episodes a C while Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregated reviews earned a rotten 17% and MetaCritic’s barely a passable 48 out of 100.

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2 Responses to “Critical Condition: The Shannara Chronicles”

  1. It’s now 2016, there will be a range of shows coming across TV1 and TV2 over 2016 new season and so I’m so impressed with The Simpsons, Family Guy and The X Files — but can you please do some thing about Friends? We need a perfect new lead -in for our soaps, we need some thing entertaining.

  2. My family have watched the first two episodes of The Shannara Chronicles and have really enjoyed them. My wife and daughter don’t normally watch this type of show but they enjoyed it also.

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