created by: Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Starring: Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, Manu Bennett
The Four Lands are once again on the brink of destruction and a Druid and a Shannara are needed to save it. Season 1 of The Shannara Chronicles was based on The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks and was shown on MTV. Like the book, it followed the Druid, Allanon (Manu Bennett); the elf princess and Chosen, Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton); and the Shannara decedent, Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) as they raced to save the Four Lands from the Dagda Mor and his demon army by restoring the Forbidden through the Ellcrys. Now, if you have followed all of that or you got excited reading it, then you are in luck because Season two of the Shannara Chronicles just ended on Spike TV and it picks up just soon after season 1 ended. If you have not watched season 1, it is streaming on Netflix. The Shannara Chronicles was created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.
Unlike season 1, season 2 of the Shannara Chronicles is not based on any story written by Terry Brooks. Rather, the writers with Brooks, took his characters and created a whole new story just for this version of the Four Lands, similar to what George R.R. Martin has done with his Game of Thrones series. Like Martin’s series, there are aspects that are great about the TV version of the Four Lands and this new story and there are aspects that do not work. This will be a spoiler free season 2 review, but it will have spoilers for season one. I hope to revisit this in a few weeks to give you an opportunity to watch and to have information on whether or not there will be a third season.
Season 2 opens with Will Ohmsford and the Druid Allanon recovering from the events of last season. Unfortunately, the Four Lands is attempting to heal from the Demon War and its repercussions when another destructive evil rises. Once again, Allanon must face this evil to protect the Four Lands. The Warlock Lord’s presence threatens the Four Lands and an unlikely follower is attempting to resurrect him to his mortal form. If that wasn’t enough, a new faction has risen as a result of the Demon War and it is their mission to vanquish magic and all magic users from the Four Lands because they believe magic is the reason the Demon War was fought to begin with. Of course their sights are set on Allanon and Wil Ohmsford.
One of the things I like most about the world of Shannara is its characters. Season 1 introduced us to the Kingdom of the Elves, the Druids of Paranor, and the Demons of the Forbidding. Though not all of those characters survived, there are some returning from Season 1. In season 2, King Anders (Aaron Jakubenko) of the Elves is back to help rebuild his torn kingdom; Eretria (Ivana Baquero) the Rover is recovering from her role in the Demon War, and Bandon (Marcus Vanco) is dealing with his relationship with Allanon. Season 2 will introduce us to the Kingdom of Leah, Mord Wraiths, and a weapons master. We also get to see book staples like the Silver River, Rainbow Lake, and Druid’s Keep.
The story for the season 2 of the Shannara Chronicles is intertwined with a number of subplots. Millar, Gough, and Brooks take facets from the entire Shannara World to create new characters and organizations in this TV world. For those fans who are written word only enthusiast, you will be disappointed as a number of liberties with characters and locations are taken. Since this is a spoiler free review I will not go into specific detail, but Season 2 does introduce characters that are not in the book or characters/locations that resemble characters/locations that exist in the written world. Additionally, plot points from The Elfstones of Shannara and the Wishsong of Shannara are altered to reinforce the TV world. I can appreciate both worlds that have been created. As a longtime fan of Terry Brooks, I enjoyed the world he, Millar and Gough have created in season 2. The story this season takes a known villain from the Shannara world and gives him a fresh story with a somewhat familiar ending, one that a fan can appreciate. Additionally, if you have not read the books, you can still appreciate how the story unfolds and how the characters fit within it. I hope Spike TV gives the Shannara Chronicles a season 3, as season 2 ends with a set up into the next adventure.
If you are a fan of Terry Brooks or enjoyed the first season of the Shannara Chronicles, then you will enjoy the next iteration of the Shannara Chronicles. Millar, Gough, and Brooks create a world that fans can immerse themselves in and enjoy some of Shannara’s greatest characters come to life. Hopefully, we will get an opportunity to explore more of the Four Lands.