Tuesday, March 29, 2016

To Love A TV Show Or Hate It

Hey all,

I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do, it's usually something suspenseful in some way. I've never been into sitcoms, though there are a few I've enjoyed.  But I'm more into dramas and shows that take me out of my normal every day life and into something exciting and new.

And I love it when a book I've enjoyed is taken and made into a series I love.

Now there have been a lot of books that have been turned into movies or TV shows.  Some movies are outstanding (Lord of the Rings) and others...not so much. (The Scarlett Letter) And books into TV shows aren't any rarer. You can find some awesome adaptations of your favorite stories.

One thing I've learned though, is that you have to let go of preconceived notions. Yes, the show may be adapted from a book you've read a thousand and twelve times, but for technical and more often creative reasons, it's changed to fit the director/writer/producer's vision. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes it isn't.

Case in point. I love Nora Robert's books, yet I'm not fond of the movies that were made of several of them. They're okay, but the don't show the heart of the story which, IMHO,  is what makes La Nora's stories so amazing. I couldn't connect with the characters in the movies like I could with those in the books. So I watched them and then kinda forgot them. Maybe it's because so much is left out? Or more likely the pictures I have in my mind of the characters are so different, it was almost uncomfortable watching the show.  Weird.

But, if you can get past that, and watch the show for what it is, instead of what you have read, you can enjoy it.  Case in point would be Bones, Rizzoli and Isles and of course, the many different adaptations of our favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes.  If you can put all those "what it should be" notions aside, you can really enjoy the show.

The latest one I've seen is the adaptation of one of my favorite fantasy series. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks is amazing, and when I saw it was coming to TV, I was both jubilant and wary. Would it take this awesome read and screw it up? Would I recognize it? Would I even enjoy it?

I can report that so far, I am enjoying it very much. The series starts with the second book, The Elfstones of Shannara (I'm not sure exactly why). Here's a brief synopsis of what they say about the show...

Based on the best-selling fantasy book series by Terry Brooks, "The Shannara Chronicles" follows heroes in the Four Lands as they embark on a quest to stop an evil Demon army from destroying the universe. Thousands of years after the fall of humankind, the world's fate rests on the shoulders of an unlikely trio: Elvin Princess Amberle, who dreams of a life outside of the palace walls; beautiful, wild and wily Human Rover Eretria, and half-elf Wil, who knows nothing of the great destiny that runs through his veins.

The Shannara Chronicles roughly follows the storylines set out in The Elfstones of Shannara, set in the fictional Four Lands. As the series opens, demons start to flee after being banished from this world to a place known as the Forbidding—locked by an ancient tree called the Ellcrys. The series chronicles the journey of Wil, Amberle and Eretria who, with the guidance of the last druid Allanon, must go on a quest to protect the Ellcrys from dying and releasing all the banished demons back into the Four Lands.

Now, I haven't read the book in years, but my sweet baboo reads it more often. It's his favorite series. So I'm enjoying it a bit more than he is, because he sees more of the discrepancies when comparing the book to the show.

But even with that, so far, it's been excellent. MTV hasn't stinted on the costuming or set design and the outside shots remind me a lot of the same type of landscaping we saw in LOTR. So pretty amazing.

Characters aren't too bad either, although Allanon is a bit too buff and yummy for me. Not that I mind. :-)  It's just he's not the druid of my imagination, so it took a couple of shows to let that notion go.

If you liked Terry Brook's series, I can recommend you watching this.  Just don't expect it to follow the storyline exactly. Put it aside and enjoy it without prejudice. And if you don't know the series and just enjoy an excellent, lushly filmed fantasy adventure, make sure you give it a try.

And I have to admit...seeing John-Rhys Davies as an elf after being an elf hating dwarf, just made me smile. I had to wonder how many other fantasy characters this guy has played?  Anyone know?

Anyway, it's worth a watch, and I recommend it to all you fantasy buffs out there.  And if you've seen it, give me your take.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Until next time...

CJ England

1 comment:

Ray said...

I'm not really in to that series. The original Poseidon Adventure was a good book. The movie followed pretty well except that in one the cargo was gold and in the other nuclear material. The sequel was about a salvage tug. The book was believable. The movie had sea monsters and did not have the same characters as the book.

I realize that moviemakers aren't targeting the same audience as the authors, but when they are that far off perhaps they need a new title.