Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Wheel of Time TV Series


So Amazon has a new fantasy series ... based on the well-known book series which I know about (ha!) but never read. It was a big deal in the 90's but I opted out as my interest in overlong fantasy -ilogy's was worn out by then. 

So I'm going into this one fresh. I have no preconceived ideas or perceptions about it other than there were more than ten books in the series which should certainly give them enough material to run for a while. I've seen the first 5 episodes and ... I don't hate it. 

I'm sure many of you know the feeling when a new fantasy show is announced, particularly one you do have some attachment to, and maybe you feel some cautious optimism, then it comes out and just completely fails in some way. Maybe the acting is bad, or the writing, or the effects are just terrible, or it's done as camp instead of taken at least semi-seriously ... I'd say most fantasy TV shows fail. Even Game of Thrones, which was looking unstoppable there for a while, managed to drop the ball at the end. 

This one so far though looks pretty good. The acting is decent. The effects are decent. The writing has not jumped out at me as bad. The landscape and scenery has a Middle-Earth look to it but is not exactly the same.  It is serious and not a comedy show. It's made me interested in seeing more about the world and the various power groups and the characters and how it all goes together and that's rare these days. At this point in life I've seen a lot of bad fantasy and I do expect to be disappointed - I am not disappointed thus far. 

There are some tropes - there is an ancient dark power that is reawakening, there is one man prophesized to be the reincarnation of the one who can defeat him, and a group of good wizards is searching the world for him - not super original there. There is a wrinkle in that they aren't sure who he is, exactly, and apparently it might even be a she so they are rounding up a lot of candidates. Now I was worried that it was going to be a little too simple black and white but then the various colors of wizard started showing up and some of them are not very nice. Ah - nuance! Conflict! Then the magic-hating even-more-religious organization showed up and ... yeah, I like the angles developing here. So far these are all supposed to be good guys" in that they follow "the light" but they clearly have different agendas and some of them will not get along at all. I hope they keep it complicated and interesting for a good long time. 

Episode 4 is where it picked up for me - if you're not sure I'd say give it at least that much of a try and see how you feel about it. 

I know they changed some stuff from the books. I'm sure some people are unhappy with that. I didn't read the books so I don't care. 

And no, I'm not going to go read the books. I want to see where the show goes as its own thing.