Legend of the Seeker, Season One: “Prophecy” and “Destiny” (2008)
Fantasy shows and I aren’t always on the best of terms. They’ve usually got a great “hook” that tugs us into their world. Beyond that, they lack the same “complete” status as other genres enjoy. This short-lived (two season's) series opens with two sisters racing to escape their pursuers. One dies, the other, Kahlan (Bridget Regan) pushes forward. Hoping to honor her sister’s sacrifice, her journey is meant to end when she finds the Seeker and into his hands, place the book they were protecting. When she’s chased to the boundary by the evil forces of Darken Rahl – a place no one dare cross, Kahlan uses a magical device to cross past it and the portal she walks through allows the soldiers to give chase. In the next world, she meets young Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) when he aids her in escaping the soldiers.
Meanwhile, Richard’s brother is confronted by evil in the form of Darken Rahl’s soldiers’. The men still seeking Kahlan – whom they call a witch, under the orders of their master, a man seeking to destroy the this Seeker no one can find. To protect him, Richard's father sends a confused Richard off to the Wizard (Bruce Spence), the man who will explain everything. When he gets to the Wizard's, it’s to see a familiar face – Kahlan is with Zed. Her search for the Seeker led her to Zed’s door, the man who was supposed to be training their seeker. Turns out Zed has a surprise for both of his visitors: Richard is the Seeker.
I’m just going to say this about Legend of the Seeker: it begins brilliantly. The filmmaking, scene and staging of those first 10 minutes were really, exquisite. The women’s costumes, the angles, everything was wonderful. Right off the bat, it sets pulses racing though we know nothing about what’s happening (or we’re clueless if we’ve not read the book), it matters not. We’re totally invested. Without knowing anything about the show, those opening scenes convinced me to at least give this one a fair shot and with exception to rudimentary flaws, this is a fun ride. The 90-minute pilot (or that’s how it’s showing now) sets a distinct good vs. evil plot. In fact, it’s almost Biblical in its history of a child being saved after an edict ordering every firstborn son murdered in order to protect Darken Rahl (played by Craig Parker) and his legacy. Judging this by its pilot alone, the story is really quite fascinating if you don’t mind forms of magic and fantasy holding up plots. Sadly, the production does not keep pace with the story.
Countless times to my untrained eye, there were painfully bad special effects, not unlike some that Once Upon a Time often employs. I freely admit that aside from what special features on DVD’s reveal or knowing productions use green screens, I don’t know much about special effects. (But, since this is merely an opinion on what I liked or how I see things, it seems okay to rant a bit.) That being said, there are scenes where it’s that obvious the effects team didn’t have an unlimited budget. In spite of that, the mix of sassy characters, underplayed humor and adventurous battles kept things hopping and its viewer engaged. It doesn’t take long to like the young hero, Richard. An unsuspecting one at that, but nonetheless, he rises to the occasion. It’s a role I’ve no doubt he’ll have to fight being thrust into periodically during the series. Kahlan is a feisty warrior and I confess the pilot was enough for me to fully support the will-they-or-won’t-they romance between these two. They were great together though to be honest, Kahlan has mystery surrounding her. She’s kind of Morgana before she went all 180° during the latter seasons of Merlin. Kahlan is “dark,” but is fighting on the side of the good, a place I hope she remains.
Fans looking for substitutes during seasonal breaks of things like Once Upon a Time or if you’re still suffering withdrawals from BBC’s Merlin, might want to look into this. Like I said, I was intrigued by the pilot. Enough so that I’ll likely watch the rest of the season – when I do not know (I mean, guys, the amount of shows I’ve watched the pilot for and loved, but got no further with is insane), but I’d like to think I will watch it at some point. What future quests this will send our heroes on is a mystery. But as Richard says when asked what’s comes next; they can only go forward, not back. That sounds like as good a place as any to begin a fulfilling journey of a lifetime.
Have you seen Legend of the Seeker? What did you think of it? Good, bad and ugly, sound off below.