I was reluctant to watch Legend of the Seeker to start, owing to the fact that I was very lukewarm about Terry Goodkind‘s books in general, and had just come off of a Battlestar Galactica high (followed by a low…). On the heels of disappointment I decided to try out Legend of the Seeker just to fulfill my weekly swords and corsets quota, because you know, I’ve got to get it somewhere.
Surprisingly, I was hooked. I mean, I admit it: I loved Raimi‘s Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in the 90s, and his (loose) adaptation of Goodkind’s books adds that humorous element that I found so often lacking in the actual novels. Sure, it’s not necessarily Emmy-winning writing, and quite a few of the episodes really read like hour-long dungeon-crawls (not that I’m opposed to that, actually) but the fight scenes are definitely worth a watch.
In fact, in general, I like television series quite a lot more than the books (gasp!) because they combine a light-heartedness with a genuinely intriguing plot, if not a little hackneyed in that fantasy epic kind of way. The bulk of the cast is really strong, and even though the plots hold very little in common with the original vision, I find myself watching because the characters are endearing (which, come to think of it, is the only reason I kept reading Goodkind’s books, too… but I gave up somewhere around the fifth or sixth finally).
For those of you who haven’t watched the first season’s finale, well, let’s just say I was gravely disappointed. And I should have been disappointed enough to expect the second season to follow suit. But call me a glutton for punishment (or long fight scenes, washboard abs, gorgeous landscapes, and Bruce Spence) because I sat down again to watch the premiere this past weekend.
And… well. No, I didn’t ever think this would be the fantasy equivalent of BSG (I read the books, after all) but I did hope the premiere might redeem itself a bit after the first season’s finale. Instead, I found that Richard has more facial hair, Charisma Carpenter makes a cameo for the fanboy contingent (and really, she was the least intimidating Mord Sith I’ve ever seen–I don’t think she was even convinced), and instead of developing plot this season the writers decided to up the ante into the second book, Stone of Tears, and dump tons of exposition on the audience. Even the actors appeared baffled delivering the lines.
But, in the end, I didn’t walk away completely disappointed, considering there were still awesome fight scenes and a rather impressive (for TV) CGI monster. I think I’ll continue watching the show, but I really won’t be expecting much content wise; it’s still not as bad as it could be (a glowing recommendation, I know).
I hope they’ll surprise me this season, but I’m not counting on it. In the mean time, I’m waiting with bated breath for George R. R. Martin’s HBO A Song of Ice and Fire series which, hopefully, will demonstrate to a wider TV audience just what one can do with the fantasy genre (beyond the magic swords, prophecies, and wizards, that is).