Shannara Chronicles Series Premiere

The Shannara Chronicles Premiere: Grade MTV's New Fantasy Epic

Tuesday’s series premiere of The Shannara Chronicles introduced MTV viewers to a half-elf hero in way over his head. But don’t take our word for it.

“So I’m supposed to use Elfstones I don’t have to protect a princess who doesn’t want to be found from a demon horde bent on laying waste to the world,” Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) lamented towards the end of the two-hour debut. “And even if I succeed, which is entirely doubtful, my life could still be doomed because magic will have fried my brain.”

If you really break it down, this one quote basically recaps the entire premiere: The “Elfstones” Wil mentioned are magical rocks he inherited from his late father; he doesn’t have them because a no-good rover named Eretria (Ivana Baquero) stole them from him; the rogue princess is Amberle (Poppy Drayton), the only surviving member of the Chosen, a group sworn to protect the dying Ellcrys Tree, which is the only thing keeping that aforementioned “demon horde” from entering our world.

I know it’s a lot to take in, but at least Wil has Slade Wilson Allanon (Manu Bennett) around to show him the way, right? Yeah, I’m not finding much comfort in that, either.

Did you check out the Shannara premiere? Grade it below, then drop a comment with your full review. Will you follow Wil on his journey?


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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49 Comments
  1. Ian says:

    Sigh. Well, um… I thought it looked great…?
    I DON’T CARE about love triangles! Especially not ones just like everything else on television. Nothing but pretty white people. I don’t think the one black character had more than a line.
    Not the plot or any of these lame soap shenanigans have really hooked me, and I’m not sure how long it’ll be before the visuals get old and aren’t enough to bring me back.

    • Ian says:

      Oh, and I would have mentioned the pure straightness of the show as well, but what’s betting a sexy lesbian character makes her way into the landscape? Or just as likely, Amberle and Eretria just skip Wil and make out with each other. That should please the fanboys.

      • Is there any straight shows left honestly wouldnt be surprised if Sesame St made Big Bird a lesbian at this stage

      • tvjunkie says:

        Why does every show need to have gay people? It’s not like you routinely run into gay people in life, unless you live in some place like San Fran. I haven’t know many myself or seen many in public and I live in a blue state. The point being having people on every show would over-represent them compared to real life. Gay people are still a minority of the overall population and if you want to be realistic should be represented that way and hence not on ever show or in every movie.

        • Amanda says:

          why does every show need straight people? i mean after a while it gets boring?

        • Gayor of gayille says:

          This is the most ignorant comment of 2016. Congrats! There are gay people everywhere. There aren’t openly gay people everywhere, but I assure you, there’s gays everywhere.

        • Hayden says:

          Lolol…you do run into gay people…even when you aren’t in San Francisco…probably waaay more often than you think. I mean it’s not like they walk around with GAY stamped on their forehead. But good for you for being so oblivious and ignorant as to think gay people all congregate in the state of california. Personally I agree that this show could use more diversity.

        • curtisce says:

          Well, what is it to you that there are gay people? wait until you start ur own TV show and dump all the straights u want

    • Ian says:

      Lol, and also, one last thing. Lorin >>>>>>>> Wil any day of the damn week.

    • ScottJ says:

      Manu Bennett (Allanon) is half Maori and half Scottish, so he’s not white. Which sort of ruins part of your objection.

      • Raven Madd says:

        AMEN!!! I hate it when people pull the race card. “I want this…” “I want that… ” probably someone who feels that everyone should get a “participant” trophy instead of “Winners”, “2nd” and “3rd” place. Damn generation of entitled cry babies!!!

        • Jenn says:

          If you want to see a cry baby, look in the mirror. People like you can’t deal with the fact that people of color or LGBT folks actually expect to be represented on TV.

          It’s 2016. If a show’s creators are too bigoted or lazy to make diversity and inclusion important part of the show’s casting, then disappointed viewers are going to speak up.

          Why do you feel that only white people should be represented in a show set in the future? Because it makes you feel comfortable and reflects your narrow-minded desires?

          No thanks. MTV can do better. There’s no reason the show couldn’t be more diverse in its casting. Will could’ve been a pretty Asian, Latino, Black, or Native American boy. There is nothing special about his whiteness. The heroic Elf princess is white. Why? There’s no reason she couldn’t be visibly mixed-race: half-Asian, Black, etc. That wouldn’t have changed the character at all.

          Look at the recent super hero shows from DC and Marvel. Those shows have diverse casts. Agents of Shields features a Chinese-American woman (Agent May) as its lead badass heroine. The show’s main female heroine (Daisy) is biracial. Supergirl has a black Jimmy Olsen and Martian Manhunter. The Flash has a Latino scientist, a black woman as the main love interest, and a black man as the hero’s main father figure.

          • ScottJ says:

            The show was filmed in New Zealand. I take your point with Wil and Amberle, but it doesn’t work with most of the supporting characters. International productions filmed there cannot bring in huge numbers of of actors. They must have a predominantly local cast. You simply won’t find very many Latino, Black, or Native Americans in the entire country let alone find any that are actors, and although there is a large Asian population there are very few who act.

          • Kristina says:

            Based on the descriptions from the books, no, Will and Amberle couldn’t have, actually. Both they and Eretria have very specific physical descriptions. That may not matter to you, but it does to a lot of people who expect the show to look and feel a lot like the books we grew up with. This complaint is almost always the first thing you see about a show these days; everyone’s offended by something. The show is based on a book series and is doing its best to be true to that. There aren’t any LGBT characters in it that I remember, and if that is offensive to some, well, I’d find it equally offensive for them to stick one in just to pander to fans that think it needs one. Comics are one thing because there are so many variations and stories and characters are always changing; I think it’s great they’re adding in more diversity in those shows (which I also watch). This is different in my opinion and I’d really like to see people quit bashing these shows over stuff like this.

        • Kati says:

          *complains about people pulling the race card, yet apparently has no idea who put the race card in the deck in the first place* Never fails.

          Cue the memory of White people complaining about there being Black characters in the Hunger Games. “Do they really have to be EVERYWHERE?”

      • pblo78 says:

        Last time I checked Ivana Baquero is spanish… She was the girl in “Pan´s Labyrinth”. She has a great english. I am impressed.

    • tvjunkie says:

      That’s a pretty racist comment as you seem to be implying that blacks are more important than all other minorities. I see this racist complaint a lot from a lot of people. What exactly makes black people more important than other minorities?

      • ScottJ says:

        I’m pretty sure the “one black character” wasn’t black. The actress was born in Australia so his comment is actually pretty racist in itself.

      • Shihan says:

        Who said Black African were more important? Just for the record, people of black African decent cannot be racist. Prejudice, bias, discriminatory even like everyone but not racist. That requires political, econmical, judicial power that codifies laws that intentionally hold others at their mercy. Ex: mass incarceration, racial profiling etc. Most of the history you have been taught is currupted and white washed worldwide. Which is why people of color ask to be represented fairly in the medium of film or other arts. Also people of color are statistically not the minority on the planet. White ethnic groups are (1/10 of the world’spopulation). Which means 9/10 are people of color (African, Indian, Asian, Native American and Polynesian people). The anthropological record supports that black African people were the 1st humans and populated the earth and built the foundations of civilizations. So do a little more post college research and learn to respect others without turning it into a race issue (which is a socially constructed concept, not real in science of humans) we are related and need to know history more accurately in order to embrace the variations of our humanity. This cannot be done with false racial doctrines and erroneous ideology. In conclusion there should absolutely be more diversity on many of the shows we like to watch and be entertained by. Under representation only serves to demonstrate the ignorance and false sense of importance by white culture over everyone else, which is simply a question of right and wrong not black & white. Hotep

      • Kati says:

        +Tvjunkle “What exactly makes black people more important than other minorities”

        – The fact that they’ve been on earth longer, and are pushed to the bottom of the importance totem pole on all continents with sizable populations, and even lower, the darker one’s skin gets.

        They’ve certainly endured worse than anyone else in America, too (indisputably, when ethnic minorities are appropriately understood as being ethnicity and not race – there are Black Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, etc. as well, obviously, as other types of minority like lgbt, etc. and there have been complaints about colorism in each group, with being Black being targeted as a bad thing).

  2. John Jacob says:

    Never read the books. From the first two episodes I’m delighted to say something MTV shows has potential. What will it turn into? No idea.

  3. Bryce says:

    I was about to watch, but I decided I only need to start a new show if it gets rave reviews on here. So I’m cautiously waiting. I know MTV put forth as much promotion as it feasibly could

  4. Alyse says:

    I liked it and definitely will be watching this season. I’ve never read the books, but I did look up the summary to see which of the characters I like will die by the end.

  5. Maryann says:

    This one is right up there with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Most awesome thing on tv this season.

    • kevin says:

      What? You can’t be serious. I was really excited about the show, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be watching. The first episodes were so clichê and predictable. I swear, as soon as I saw the King’s son, I knew he would want to dethrone the father. Cool visual effects, but I’m not sure if those are enough to keep me coming back.
      The actress playing the chosen one is really good. Great performance, other than that… I’ll see if next week is any better.

      • Maryann says:

        The plot of the book is dark and twisted and totally unpredictable, and it is NOT about love triangles. My perspective is based on how well the show is bringing this to life, and they are doing very well so far. We will see how well they do by the end, but I am very encouraged so far.

    • ? says:

      Granted I haven’t read the books and can only go by what I saw on screen, but this was a lot more shallow than either GoT or LoTR and fairly bland & derivative. Regardless, it was good enough to watch, I guess.

  6. lordofluck says:

    I have read the books and I thought ot was great a very good adaption, can’t wait for next week.

  7. Visually beautiful and then Austin Butler shows up wow is he awful not bad around him though

  8. Sarah9 says:

    Such a great premiere!! The visuals, the demons and everything is done very well and I cant wait to see more of this epic tv show. Mtv got it right with this one.
    I don’t really like Austin Butler but I think he gave a good performance and I found him funny sometimes.
    The others characters were interesting and I especially like Amberle and that part of the race at the beginning was intense.
    Love triangles? I didn’t see any love anything just Eretria trying to seduce Will to get what she wanted..that’s all the “romance” that show up. People complaining about everything and its only the first episode.
    I didn’t read the books but to me it was a great premiere and I hope the rest is fantastic has well.
    Can’t wait to see more of this and I recommend to anyone that loves fantasy series that watch this…

  9. gothgirl898 says:

    Well, my option isn’t actually available, I’d give it A++. I give the first plus sign for using Austin Butler’s famous feature to it’s advantage, his golden looking hair. I give the second plus sign for making available the first 3 episodes before they aired.

  10. I know nothing of the books, but from what I understand they are staring with the second book of the series. I had no trouble following the plot and I thought the way they fed us information from the backstory (what I assume was Book 1) was well handled.

  11. Jimmy says:

    Having read the books when I was a teenager I went into this with some trepidation. While they’re certainly changing things up from the novel upon which this season is based I thought it was pretty good. It has potential. The only negative I have is the choice of actors. It seemed more than a few of these people were chosen because they looked pretty and could fill out a pair of tight pants; a prime example being the actor who played Lorin. The only thing going for him was how good he looked in those skin-tight pants because he couldn’t act worth a crap.

  12. DMK says:

    I think this has a lot of promise. The changes they’ve made are, for the most part, positive ones. I like that Eritrea has more agency in this then she did in the book. Also interesting that they made being a Chosen a competition (definitely not in the book.) It makes Amberle a bit more substantial then she was in the novel.

    The most changes are, of course, in Wil. Half-elf, not 1/8th. Shea’s son and not his grandson. Not knowing anything of Allanon or his father’s heroism. Just going to Storlock, not already there. It’s obvious why: they want a more naive protagonist then the Wil of the book. In some ways, he’s more of a combination of the book Wil and Shea.

    Love Manu Bennett. I was happy to hear he was cast as Allanon, and his performance worked for me.

    Thought it was strange that they gave Allanon a love interest though. That came out of nowhere. And then, of course they kill her immediately. Lazy writing there, and the only time I was actually disappointed in the episode.

  13. J says:

    I mainly watched because of Austin Butler and Manu Bennett and the show was ok, I don’t have anything negative to say, but I just don’t think it’s something I’d watch week after week. None of the storylines really interested me enough to warrant watching more episodes.

  14. kirads09 says:

    I felt it was very well done and I will continue to watch. I graded a B. Since I read Shannara books ages ago, I can’t help but compare to LOTR being a HUGE fan. In fact to some degree always felt they were a bit of Tolkien rip off – albeit good quality one. I mean come on – Allanon = Aragorn, Elves, Trolls. etc. The Demons – obviously Shannara version of Orcs. It is geared toward the YA demo. But thus far it has my interest.

  15. Dani says:

    I haven’t watch the show (mainly because I don’t have MTV) yet but I really hope it survives. I want to see more high fantasy TV shows that are actually set in a fantasy world. On top of my head, there aren’t any except Game of Thrones. I still miss Legend of the Seeker and Merlin.

  16. Barb says:

    I made it to about the 45 minute mark. Right around when the demons started popping up out of the earth. I’m so tired of CGI heavy characters. Hubby fell asleep at the 15 minute mark.

  17. jim n dakis says:

    Looks interesting some new ideas with old ones

  18. sharon says:

    Enjoyed the prrmier of the series. I am a elfin fan from the hobit. So I dig this very well. I am looking forward to seeing thr nrxt one? It is also nice tjat they have come up with a different type of series

  19. Kristina says:

    Finally started watching it last night. Very much enjoying it so far!

  20. Hanibal says:

    You guys think it’s necessary to have gays, blacks, transgender in everything? Seriously? It’s not at all about any of that. In fact it’s not sexy in the least. If you don’t like it, don’t watch. Stop trying to make it political correct. Nothing is worse than our Orwellian politically correct dystopia. Just go watch your porn and leave us to watching something that will hopefully have nothing to do with “your fantasy”…the books didn’t.

    • You seem bitter and thats not a great way to come off as critical fan of tje show. My question is why do you see it as political correctness to have diverse humans play fantasy elves trolls or whatver. Why cant it be that white black gay latino asian people all act. To say there not peoplr of color in New Zeland is crazy or thay there no asian actors is also unrealistic. Also if it’s important to the creators of the show to refelect diversity they will cast for it. People act is if show runners casting agents just dont have time or being black “isnt part of the story ” yet we are presuming there are races of elves humans and demons? What it comes down to is some not all people in power positions live insode a bubble of comfort. To say things like well in real life I don’t know any gay people or latino people is not a good excuse. Who gives a crap who you know in your personal life most of these shows are shot in places like vancouver los angeles london new zealand etc there are diverse people everywear. In fact in US and worldwide most people are simply not white. if one day you turned on Television and there were no white leads or entire cast was non white. Would you just roll with it because you love the story telling or would you feel like thats strange. There no need to sacrifice talent or screen play adaptation by simply making a asian character a elf.
      It’s either a lack of empathy or active intolerance to feel that people who are disappointed in casting are playing a card game. That they arent being genuinely offended but really just want to make noise becaue its politcal correct. the whole concept of political correctness is insulting to people intelligence.

  21. grys03 says:

    I admit I was in group A = awesome. But I think that’s due to my love of the books since the first edition of The Sword of Shannara. Positives? It’s pretty. Some of the actors did their best. Had this been titled something other than Shannara it may have been received better but honestly the story became increasingly silly & disjointed.
    I understand the limitations of TV series budgets but the huge demon army looked like it consisted of about 20-30 extras; it didn’t help that they were dressed like soldiers rather than a ragtag army of different shaped demons.
    Allanon was mighty chatty for a taciturn druid & what he did say was mostly ‘heroic’ quotes.
    So many other issues I can’t start.
    .
    If there is to be a follow-up series hopefully they address some the issues