TMNT Director Brings Terry Brooks' Shannara to MTV

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TMNT Director Brings Terry Brooks' Shannara to MTV

shannara

Will nearly 40 year-old fantasy series the next Game of Thrones?

MTV has ordered a 10 episode first season for a series based on the Shannara books, an ongoing series of epic fantasy novels from author Terry Brooks. Smallville's Al Gough and Miles Millar will write the series for producer John Favreau, with TMNT director Jonathan Liebesman set to helm the first two episodes.

The first season will be adaptation of The Elfstones of Shannara, the second book in what is called The Original Shannara Trilogy (but actually takes place at the midpoint of the series' sprawling continuity,) which followed Wil Ohmsford, grandson of a legendary hero, as he aids a community of Elves in protecting their realm from an invading force of demons by reviving a magic tree. No casting announcements have yet been made.

First published in 1977, the books chronicle the ongoing history of The Four Lands; a world of magic and primitive technology that resembles a medieval fantasy setting but is in fact a post-apocalyptic North America of the distant future. The most recent installment, The Dark Legacy of Shannara: The Witch Wraith, was released in 2013.

Source: TerryBrooks.net

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Somewhat conflicted:

On one hand, Shannara is being given its chance and I'm happy because I love the books.
On the other hand, I fear that the budget may constrain them into hiring meh actors.

Oh, everyone will scrabble around looking for fantasy stories to turn into Game of Thrones. Great.

I DEMAND DRAGONLANCE!

No, seriously, it could work...with the right team/budget.

The series has a RICH lore, and there's enough meat on the main trilogy/quadrilogy that each BOOK could be a good season or two.

PLUS there's the 'main' trilogies that happen AFTER and BEFORE that could be their own season(s) or plus the whole TV movie stuff.

Pretty glad. As this means bigger players might grab some of the better licenses. Wheel of Time or the Riftwar saga would be awesome as handled by someone like HBO.

Favreau is far more the one bringing this. TV directors are muuuch less important than executive producers. And seriously, if we gotta do really derivative fantasy works let's go to the one that did it right. The Belgariad, ladies.

I'm conflicted. I love the Shannara series. I hate MTV. Well, at least it isn't Syfy.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Favreau is far more the one bringing this. TV directors are muuuch less important than executive producers. And seriously, if we gotta do really derivative fantasy works let's go to the one that did it right. The Belgariad, ladies.

The Epic Movie of fantasy? I...Rather not see that. It's offensive in trying to parody the fantasy genre as it ran a lot of really uncomfortable tropes semi-straight.

NortherWolf:

PrinceOfShapeir:
Favreau is far more the one bringing this. TV directors are muuuch less important than executive producers. And seriously, if we gotta do really derivative fantasy works let's go to the one that did it right. The Belgariad, ladies.

The Epic Movie of fantasy? I...Rather not see that. It's offensive in trying to parody the fantasy genre as it ran a lot of really uncomfortable tropes semi-straight.

Yeah,I was really into that as a kid, but it's one of those things I look back to and really wonder why...

Although I think even as a kid a lot of the enjoyement came from making fun of it with my best friend who originally got me into it mostly so she's have someone to make fun of the main character with.

Meh.

I don't think a serial will be able to capture the epic scope of Shannara and then it's just another fantasy adventure show.

If that's what's cooking, I'd rather see something a bit more over-the-top-- say the Forgotten Realms Spellfire; with skeleton dragons, super-powers and D&D super-classic Elf Wizards about. Plus its a setting familiar to a lot of people who have never read something as sordid as professional fanfiction; thanks to computer games.

I love franchise books, they're so pulp yet so serious. They're usually written in an almost script-style anyway so it's also easy to adapt them.

Game of thrones works because it is basically a soft core porn soap opera with a mid evil fantasy background. Shannara as much as I love it removes the porn and the opera part and we are left with just mid evil fantasy. Tell me, how many mid evil fantasy movies/shows have succeeded in the last 10 years besides Lord of the rings?

Shannara, seriously? Of all the cool fantasy series they could have picked...Shannara? There are SO many better ones...Wheel of Time, Riftwar, Prince of Nothing....heck, even the Belgariad would have been better.

To end on a positive note, at least they didn't pick Brooks's other series, Magic Kingdom of Landover. That would have been worse. And they will never ruin this one-its author did a fine job there already.

I remember a year or two back they were talking movies. Guessing they changed the plan solely in hopes of getting some of that Game of Thrones money.

Lieju:

Although I think even as a kid a lot of the enjoyement came from making fun of it with my best friend who originally got me into it mostly so she's have someone to make fun of the main character with.

Weirdly enough, that's how I got into Legend of the Seeker, the TV Show based off Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth.

And oddly full-circle, I'm wondering if the Shannara series is going to be like that.

There's not nearly enough sex in the Shannara series.

Zachary Amaranth:
I remember a year or two back they were talking movies. Guessing they changed the plan solely in hopes of getting some of that Game of Thrones money.

I don't think that's a bad thing though. Many of these fantasy epics fit better as a tv-series, or maybe a miniseries.
I always thought it was a shame they didn't go that route for the Harry Potter books, since I thought the main charm, especially in the earlier ones, was the depiction of the day-to-day magical life.
(Of course there can always be a remake, not that I want one. And movies are easier for child-actors)

Zachary Amaranth:

Lieju:

Although I think even as a kid a lot of the enjoyement came from making fun of it with my best friend who originally got me into it mostly so she's have someone to make fun of the main character with.

Weirdly enough, that's how I got into Legend of the Seeker, the TV Show based off Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth.

There's a tv-adaptation of that? I haven't read the books but every time I hear about them it's about how bizarrely horrible they turned into. Is the tv-series 'so bad it's good'?

thaluikhain:
Oh, everyone will scrabble around looking for fantasy stories to turn into Game of Thrones. Great.

Pretty much this.

Though, in fairness, GoT itself is pretty much HBO actively looking around for something that would allow them to more or less remake Rome to begin with. None of the other-channel ripoffs of Rome went anywhere, either.

Producers don't seem to fully realize that people like GoT because it's _good_, and the relative popularity of the first couple books (the last two are actively, intelligence-insultingly BAD in every way) is pretty much coincidental to the show's success. They're taking a stab in the dark on 'we can make a licensed fantasy story, too' but they're not even facing the stabbing target.

Also, if you're adapting Terry Brooks, why not Word & Void? Then at least you'd be the only outright urban fantasy property out there instead of competing against the World of Warcraft of TV shows.

(Yes, I know all the vampire soap opera crap can technically be interpreted as 'urban fantasy' if you use the term really loosely, I'm talking about full-bore versions of the genre like the attempt to adapt Dresden Files. That's a big old empty niche right now.)

Lieju:

I don't think that's a bad thing though. Many of these fantasy epics fit better as a tv-series, or maybe a miniseries.
I always thought it was a shame they didn't go that route for the Harry Potter books, since I thought the main charm, especially in the earlier ones, was the depiction of the day-to-day magical life.
(Of course there can always be a remake, not that I want one. And movies are easier for child-actors)

Well, no argument in terms of the TV series in concept. I just don't think this, which started as a fairly boilerplate Tolkien knockoff (though, honestly, I prefer the knockoff) is well-suited to it. I mean, it could be. I doubt I would have thought Game of Thrones would have fit serialised TV either.

As far as Harry Potter goes, YES! I've wanted something like that for ages. It does seem to beg the issue of practicality, though.

There's a tv-adaptation of that? I haven't read the books but every time I hear about them it's about how bizarrely horrible they turned into. Is the tv-series 'so bad it's good'?

I definitely find it to be "so bad it's good." I've only read the first SoT book, and it's no masterpiece, but the show seems crazy just compared to that. And sometimes straight-up weird. The downside is, it's also sometimes very boilerplate and boring.

It's definitely a show I enjoyed laughing at, though. Apparently, people didn't enjoy it as much as I did since it lasted (I think) two seasons.

Huh.

As much as I love the Shannara series, I doubt it's going to be the next GoT. Plays most things a bit too straight for that, and the pattern from book to book has very little variation. Oh, the dressings are always different, but the main beats tend to play out roughly the same...Ohmsford, some missing Elfstones, multiple ongoing quests, some demon manipulating the unstoppable badguy army, a druid guiding the quest...

It's definitely been an incremental evolution across the series, starting from a really obvious Tolkein ripoff to a world with its own patterns. The last few series (Isle Witch, High Druid, Genesis) were as good as the series has ever been.

Huh. That's an impressive pedigree on the production side; I may have to give this a chance.

Tanis:
I DEMAND DRAGONLANCE!

No, seriously, it could work...with the right team/budget.

The budget here is the main concern. I mean, dragons are right in the damned title, and the main antagonists are dragon-people. Without heavy revisions, this is a very expensive show to make.

Red Panda:
Game of thrones works because it is basically a soft core porn soap opera with a mid evil fantasy background. Shannara as much as I love it removes the porn and the opera part and we are left with just mid evil fantasy. Tell me, how many mid evil fantasy movies/shows have succeeded in the last 10 years besides Lord of the rings?

Exactly what I was thinking.

Despite what some will claim, Game of Thrones the TV series' primary, if sole, reason for success is the overabundance of gratuitous sex and violence. Without that the show would lose, if I'm being kind, at least half of it's fan base.

This planned Shannara series will likely contain none of that. Ergo it is very likely to fail after it's first or second season.

I could be wrong. It could last for more seasons. And honestly, I hope it does, though I feel there are other, better high-fantasy series they could have picked from. But given the budget this show is likely to require, and how small it's potential audience may be, I'm convinced it will either face cancellation early or see a dramatic budget reduction; the latter of which will severely affect the quality and scope of the show. (which, in turn, is likely to lead to a cancellation)

JimB:
Huh. That's an impressive pedigree on the production side; I may have to give this a chance.

Tanis:
I DEMAND DRAGONLANCE!

No, seriously, it could work...with the right team/budget.

The budget here is the main concern. I mean, dragons are right in the damned title, and the main antagonists are dragon-people. Without heavy revisions, this is a very expensive show to make.

Yes, but PETER JACKSON! I CHOOSE YOU!!!
image

Seriously, I've been waiting for the Dragon Chronicles to be turned into a movie for like 25 years

Aggieknight:
Seriously, I've been waiting for the Dragon Chronicles to be turned into a movie for like twenty-five years.

I guess you don't count the animated movie starring Kiefer Sutherland? I don't blame you if you don't; I haven't seen it myself, but I've never heard a good word about it.

JimB:

Aggieknight:
Seriously, I've been waiting for the Dragon Chronicles to be turned into a movie for like twenty-five years.

I guess you don't count the animated movie starring Kiefer Sutherland? I don't blame you if you don't; I haven't seen it myself, but I've never heard a good word about it.

I've spent the last five years trying to forget about that movie.

MTV huh? Is this going to consist of only people who look like Abercrombie models and reek of teen angst and melodrama?

Efrit_:
Somewhat conflicted:

On one hand, Shannara is being given its chance and I'm happy because I love the books.
On the other hand, I fear that the budget may constrain them into hiring meh actors.

This was my first thought when I read this article. My second was "What took so long?" And my third "Why start on the 2nd book?" I recall reading the Sword of Shannara long ago in my early years. Not long after that I sought out the other books. That didn't happen when I read the Hobbit. Not saying Hobbit is a bad book, but stand alone it's solid and didn't make me look for more. That aside I feel it has some promise, but there are so many things that can go wrong. Like many state GoT has the sex and violence to carry it through. If that's the standard people expect the viewers will be lacking. I'll give it a try none the less.

Lieju:

NortherWolf:

PrinceOfShapeir:
Favreau is far more the one bringing this. TV directors are muuuch less important than executive producers. And seriously, if we gotta do really derivative fantasy works let's go to the one that did it right. The Belgariad, ladies.

The Epic Movie of fantasy? I...Rather not see that. It's offensive in trying to parody the fantasy genre as it ran a lot of really uncomfortable tropes semi-straight.

Yeah,I was really into that as a kid, but it's one of those things I look back to and really wonder why...

Although I think even as a kid a lot of the enjoyement came from making fun of it with my best friend who originally got me into it mostly so she's have someone to make fun of the main character with.

Aye, I didn't know it was intended as parody until way later, but as a friend of mine put it. "Doesn't' matter if it's parody or straight, it's still bad."
The only way to salvage it would be to give it to HBO..."Wow, this plot is really paper th-hooooly shit tits!"

NortherWolf:

Lieju:

NortherWolf:

The Epic Movie of fantasy? I...Rather not see that. It's offensive in trying to parody the fantasy genre as it ran a lot of really uncomfortable tropes semi-straight.

Yeah,I was really into that as a kid, but it's one of those things I look back to and really wonder why...

Although I think even as a kid a lot of the enjoyement came from making fun of it with my best friend who originally got me into it mostly so she's have someone to make fun of the main character with.

Aye, I didn't know it was intended as parody until way later, but as a friend of mine put it. "Doesn't' matter if it's parody or straight, it's still bad."
The only way to salvage it would be to give it to HBO..."Wow, this plot is really paper th-hooooly shit tits!"

It was a parody?
Because I recall reading stuff from the writer, in some of the forewords, I think, and that didn't get across at all(or were those parody too, because I recall some of the stuff being really dumb and self-congratulatory.). I didn't even think it was meant as a reconstruction.

I recall The Elenium being more like that, and I liked it much more.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, it was Elenium and related stuff I really liked. I did read all the Belgariad-related stuff but I wasn't as into it. Also my friend and I called the main character 'Margariini'. (Which is 'margarine' in Finnish because we forgot his name at one point and recalled it was something like that. Also he was as interesting of a protagonist as a box of margarine.)

Already confirmed to be cancelled for more of that Tosh.0 ripoff with that mentally challenged... thing.

Or more Real World shows and/or softcore porn rap videos. Cause the regular MTV viewer will go "lol, books r 4 retards".

They're starting with Elfstones? Don't get me wrong, that doesn't sound bad to me at all (it's what I did, and Sword is basically just Lord of the Rings, three times shorter and with all the Norse mythology replaced with Celtic), it's just a strange choice. I don't watch Game of Thrones or read A Song of Ice and Fire, but I'm given to believe the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara would be a closer choice in tone.

...actually, no, a closer choice in tone would be The Knight and the Word series, but I hate remembering those books.

Still, I confess myself to be curious. And I could definitely see that work

Vorlayn:
heck, even the Belgariad would have been better.

I think Joss Whedon's too busy, at the moment.

...actually, if they're trying to cash in on Game of Thrones, I think the Elenium would probably be a better fit.

I wish someone would adapt some of Michelle West's stuff. :(

I never really got into Shannara. I tried, but it just didn't speak to me.

The Shannara series is one of my favorite books, so of course I'm upset that MTV is taking them on. I'd be shocked if there wasn't a ton of sex added in just to be more like Game of Thrones.

Signa:
The Shannara series is one of my favorite books, so of course I'm upset that MTV is taking them on. I'd be shocked if there wasn't a ton of sex added in just to be more like Game of Thrones.

With the characters being filled with teenage drama and angst. I mean yeah they kinda are a bit in the books(But this is kinda a given with what they have to deal with) I just worry they'll go over the top or do it just to 'appeal to a larger audience' or some bull.

Side note, I'd like to see Heritage series done. Just to answer the question of, "Who would play Walker Boh".

Magical Kingdom for sale/sold would prolly be a better choice given the average intellect level of most MTV viewers.

On a more serious note the Shannara books are pretty bog standard fantasy with only the one twist of it being a fantasy world that develops after WW3. Not sure if it would measure up to Martins much more mature works in term of bringing interesting intrigue and sex appeal. The main thing the series does have is pretty good wars.

I wouldn't really call the Shannara series standard fantasy, considering how brooks manages to turn standard conventions on their head and how his tales have characters that feel real and not superficial. Alongside that, I wouldn't call Martins works more mature, just focused on a different aspect of fantasy that is often touched upon in Shannara as well. For example, voyage of the jerle shannara has the elven kingdom eldest prince purposely send his younger brother off to die, and in future books, many other people are spurned or mistreated by their kin. Yes, Sword was far more Tolkien, but that is the reason why they are starting with elf stones.

Scars Unseen:
I'm conflicted. I love the Shannara series. I hate MTV. Well, at least it isn't Syfy.

Ya the MTV thing is throwing me for a loop.

Now I need to read these books again!

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