The EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington is holding exclusive screenings of The Shannara Chronicles for the next few weeks (December 21st through January 4th) leading up to the television premiere on January 5th. There will be two screenings each day included with museum admission.
I was lucky enough to get an invite to the Seattle premiere on Sunday night with Terry Brooks and his wife, Judine. I feel very honored to have been invited to an event that was predominantly attended by Brooks’ friends, family, and colleagues. I will say that attending a TV show premiere with the friends and family of the creator is the way to go–there was plenty of ribbing and joking and exactly what you’d expect if all your close friends were watching your TV show premiere with you.
I got to chat with Brooks for a few minutes before the premiere, and he was the kindest and most gracious man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. It was really great of him to take time out for me. He told me that he is really happy with the way the show came out after years and years and years of false starts on Shannara TV and movie proposals.
As many fans probably know, Brooks wrote the novelization of The Phantom Menace, and, despite the films almost universal disdain, Brooks’ version is actually held in high regards. And it was a lesson he learned from George Lucas while working on Star Wars that he took to heart for the Shannara TV series–trust the writers, who are fans and geeks just like the rest of us, to create something fans will love. While we probably all agree that Lucas didn’t actually service the fans with the prequels, his letting go and trusting is what resulted in The Force Awakens (in my opinion the best Star Wars film to date), and it is that same trust in the creators that makes The Shannara Chronicles (in my opinion) something that the fans will really enjoy.
I am a big fan of fantasy, but I’ve always been intimidated by the amount of books in the Shannara world to the point that, I’m sorry to admit, I’ve never read one of the books as much as I’ve always heard about them and wanted to. Going in to the premiere, I only knew that this was a “post apocalyptic” fantasy world with my adopted hometown of Seattle as the main location. As a newcomer, I can’t comment on how well the casting matches with characters I grew up with, but I think all of the cast–Manu Bennett, Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton, and Ivana Baquero–did an amazing job in making believable fantasy characters.
One of the other GeekDads, who has been a lifelong fan, will be doing an episode by episode review of the series when it airs, so I don’t want to go into any details here, but I will say that I am an excited new fan of Shannara thanks to the show. It’s refreshing to see two of the four main characters be not only female, but very well-written and strong female leads. Although some of the shots and soundtrack felt a little too “MTV” for my tastes as the premiere started, the amazingly beautiful visuals, the strong cast and characterization, and the world building in the premiere have me hooked, and I can’t wait for future episodes.
I will note that The Shannara Chronicles is definitely not family friendly due to quite a bit of gory violence. There is not any explicit nudity or bad language though, so the age appropriateness really just comes down to your child’s ability to handle the violence and the scariness of the demons and trolls.