Terry Brooks’ Shannara book series will have been going for 39 years by the time the property makes the jump to the small screen in 2016, with MTV’s original television show The Shannara Chronicles. The series was developed by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville, Into the Badlands) and features a pilot directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)).
Both Shannara Chronicles and Brooks’ sci-fi/fantasy novel series pick up thousands of years following the fall of modern civilization on Earth – now known as the Four Lands. The Shannara TV adaptation will revolve around a group of young heroes, who must work together in order to stop hordes of newly-unleashed demons from destroying their homeland. You can watch the show’s New York Comic-Con 2015 trailer above.
The Shannara Chronicles cast includes Ivana Banquero (Pan’s Labyrinth) as human warrior Eretria, Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries) as the part human/part elf Will Ohmsford, and Poppy Drayton (When Calls the Heart) as the elf Amberle Elessedil, as well as Manu Bennett (Arrow), Jonathan Rhys-Davies (the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Emilia Burns (The Elephant Princess, Terra Nova), along with Aaron Jakubenko and Brooke Williams (both Spartacus alums) – all playing key supporting roles in the story.
You can check out the recently-unveiled Shannara Chronicles banner, below:
Shannara Chronicles‘ NYCC preview (arguably) does the best job of the trailers that have been released for the sci-fi/fantasy series thus far, when it comes to laying out the basic conflict – demons return to the Four Lands after the magical tree that banishes them (known as an Ellcrys) begins to fade – that is adapted from Brooks’ 1982 novel “The Elfstones of Shannara”; this, in turn, will set the show’s season 1 over-arching narrative in motion. The NYCC trailer also avoids throwing too much terminology around at the same time, which could makes things confusing for those who’re less familiar with Brooks’ work.
Naturally, those fans who are well-versed in Shannara lore will have stronger opinions about how the series is treating Brooks’ source material – and whether this interpretation shall be better for it. On its own terms, Shannara Chronicles continues to show the makings of a solid cable television series, with VFX and cinematography – by the pilot’s director of photography, Michael Bonvillain (Alias, Lost) – that seem pretty strong, as far as television standards go.
Meanwhile, the aesthetics of both the show’s fantasy characters and its setting at large have clearly been influenced by previous installments in both the sci-fi apocalyptic and fantasy genres, respectively. However, that’s to be expected, seeing as Brooks’ source novels started out with the decidedly Tolkien-esque world and characters established in his 1977 novel, “The Sword of Shannara” – and then evolved to form a more unique identity, from that foundation.
Fingers crossed, Shannara Chronicles will follow suit and give rise to another hit fantasy series – one MTV can call its own. Feel free and let us know you thoughts/feelings about the show (based on what’s been shown thus far), in the comment section of this article.
The Shannara Chronicles debuts on MTV on January 5th, 2016.