Fri
Dec 6 2013 2:40pm
Will Terry Brooks’ Shannara Come to a TV Near You?

 

MTV might be bringing the world of Aborlon to life in a TV series based on Terry BrooksShannara books! The series is being developed by Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar, who obviously know how to work within a complex fantastical universe. MTV's other big series, Teen Wolf, has also developed a rabid fan following, so it will be interesting to see how the network involves fans of the books, while trying to draw new viewers to such an epic story...

The first season will most likely be based on the second book in the series, Elfstones of Shannara, and, since it’s still early in the process, no casting decision have been announced yet. Who would you like to see playing Wil and Amberle?

31 comments
Anthony Pero
1. anthonypero
How does it make sense to start with Elfstones? That must be purely driven by casting and diversity issues.
fortheshire
2. fortheshire
@anthonypero

Sword wouldn't be taken as seriously by non fans because it comes off as a LotR clone. Elfstones is more original and is the best starting point.
Scott Silver
3. hihosilver28
Sounds like it'll have the same fate as Legend of the Seeker. (one can hope) But I've only read The Sword of Shannara, and it was such a blatant rip-off of The Lord of the Rings that I couldn't continue, so maybe there is a good story to be seen.

I'm still hoping (though I doubt it'll ever happen) for a Wheel of Time adaptation.
fortheshire
4. Al G
How Darrel K Sweet is that Cover!?
fortheshire
5. pikko
I saw this news and had to clamp my hand over my mouth not to squeal out loud. Shannara was my first fantasy love and although Sword was (and still is) a little thick to get through, I still loved it and was a little confused as to why they'd start with Elfstones too. But I guess it does have a good method for introducing a lot of the history of the land. Sword didn't do that very well. Elfstones was my favorite book of the original trilogy.
David Thomson
6. ZetaStriker
The second book is a pretty big deviation, and the series remains distinct after that point. Brooks started writing when the fantasy genre still didn't really exist, and he used Tolkien as a framework for his first novel . . . but he showed significant growth after that.

Of course, I don't necessarily think that growth extended to his newest works. I feel like he kind of tapped out after finishing the Word and the Void series.
Rob Rater
7. Quasarmodo
Every episode should end with a narrator saying "Swiftly they disappeared into the night!"
Fake Name
8. ThePendragon
I finished the Wishsong for the first time about a month ago. So I've completed the original trilogy. It's definitely a ponderous read. I enjoyed them all but they really could have done from some paring down. I think a TV show will actually do the story some good.
fortheshire
9. mutantalbinocrocodile
Starting with Elfstones, as several commenters have pointed out, is the ONLY way that this has any chance. It's fully original (unlike Sword), and all of Brooks' best concepts are in it. And there really is very little plot dependence on Sword, especially if the extended time of a series gives room to establish that it's actually postapocalyptic rather than other-world.

Though poor Terry Brooks may be accused of copying GRRM with the Ellcrys when in fact it was the other way around. Someone needs to coin a phrase for when that happens. Reverse allusion accusation?
Sam Mickel
10. Samadai
Elfstones of Shannara is one of the best novels ever written. It makes sense to start with it. I hope they do it justice.
Anthony Pero
11. anthonypero
Lord of the Rings clone? How do you think The Eye of the World would play?

I would be more interested in a show that uses The First King of Shannara as a starting point, which is the beginning of Allanon's story. He's the interesting character in the earlier novels, and even all the way through Scions.
fortheshire
12. mutantalbinocrocodile
@11, And that's exactly the biggest barrier to ever having a cinematic version of WoT. I will argue till the cows come home that TEoTW is an artistically independent re-interpretation of Tolkien rather than a ripoff, but I'm a scholar of allusions and intertextuality in my spare time. Most movie-goers aren't likely to think it's a valid distinction. Plus WoT is getting itself into a position where it would suffer from some very serious Reverse Allusion Accusation issues.
Don Barkauskas
13. bad_platypus
Samadai @10: I wouldn't go quite that far, but Elfstones is by far my favorite of the Shannara books (and definitely among my favorite books ever). This could be very interesting (or a complete disaster!).
fortheshire
14. DASH
@ 9 - how would Terry Brooks be accused of copying GRRM with the Ellcrys? Mr. Martin is most widely known for his ASOIF and Wild Card books, but I don't recall anything about a Tree that keeps in place a magical barrier in place between one world and a world full of demons (or anything vaguely like it - except the Wall) in those books. Unless I am completely mistaken, or am missing a reference from one of GRRMs other works...
fortheshire
15. William Stacey
Elfstones makes sense to me as a starting point. It's probably the strongest of the Shannara series, at least in my opinion ... although the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara was also excellent.
Gerd K
16. Kah-thurak
@11 anthonypero
Eye of the World takes some elements out of LotR and does something new with them. Sword of Shannara is a complete - and astonishingly shameless - copy of it. That Brooks even bothered to change the names of the characters almost seems suprising. I recently read it for the first time and unless I run out of anything else to read it will be my last book by Brooks.
fortheshire
17. Colin R
Sword of Shannara is not very good, but it's maybe a little unfair to write off Brooks on that alone. The next two Shannara books are pretty good reads, and between the next two books (Elfstone and Wishsong) and the Magic Kingdom series, he definitely established his own voice and themes.

Of course, these days he's worn those themes into the ground. Heritage of Shannara in the 90s were probably his peak. And ye gods does he come up with some terrible names; I feel like he scrounged up a random name table that some thirteen year old made in their basement for their D&D games.
Gerd K
18. Kah-thurak
@Colin
I've also read his two short stories in "Unfettered". Both unimpressive at best in my opinion. Maybe his other books are better. But there is a lot of other stuff out there, so Brooks has moved very far down the list for me...
Rob Rater
19. Quasarmodo
I enjoyed Elfstones when I first read it, but then I went back and re-read it, and much to my surprise I didn't enjoy it much at all. I'd already bought the next several Shannara books at that point, so I went ahead and read them, and I pretty much hated them all. Every book had a new male lead in the Shannara/Ohmsford line, but it was basically the same guy over and over again. Sometimes he'd have a brother, sometimes a sister, but always the exact same guy, and always a friend from Leah who was the exact same friend every time. And for some reason, everybody wanted to be this guy's friend, and every girl fell in love with him.

I think it was Scions where they took off in a group, and every person in the group did something along the lines to save them, except for the lead character. Why was that guy even in the group? Because he's always just there! Then the next book was Druid, and I was excited because the interchangable Ohmsford wasn't in that book, but then the Leah guy who was the lead dropped any personality and turned into the interchangable Ohmsford guy. I ended up hating that book as much as any of the ones before it!
Brian R
20. Mayhem
@Kah-Thurak
Elfstone is actually leaps and bounds ahead of Sword, and I would happily recommend it. Wishsong is well written, but it just never clicked for me.

The Heritage quartet starting with Scions are where he really explored the world he set up, Elf Queen is the pick of the four for me, but they are all rather good.

His problems after that IMO relate more to the innately restrictive environment he'd built for himself - he had the Elves to the West and the Dwaves to the East and the men to the South ... which is fine for a one off, but when expanding the world to be more complicated, rapidly runs into logical issues of how such a world could exist other than The Wizards Did It. Which was the solution he took, but it meant that I never really got into the prequels and sequels as they just didn't have enough to hold together really well.

Brooks certainly isn't a *bad* writer, his stories are enjoyable and have reasonable plots, and he seldom interferes with the story with his own opinions (cough Goodkind cough). He just very much falls into middle of the road territory, like his contemporaries David Eddings or Ray Feistt. Their best works just seem very simplistic compared with today, because much of the fiction that developed subsequent has vastly outstripped them. And they all tended to rewrite the same plot over and over again with if not the same characters, at least the same archetypes. Which is also a strong characteristic of the time period, and also of most bestsellers that aren't doorstopper unending fantasy series (cough WOT cough).
Anthony Pero
21. anthonypero
Don't mention HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED!!!!! (G**dk*nd)

You will get this thread torched.

I didn't say The Eye of the World was a Tolkien rip-off, I asked how and audience would perceive it. First impressions matter, and the first 6 or 7 episodes would feel like an exact rip off.
Brian R
22. Mayhem
@21
To be fair, I really liked Wizards First Rule.

It was a really enjoyable standalone work, with no sequels.

Ever.
Anthony Pero
23. anthonypero
I also enjoyed Wizard's first rule. I actually enjoyed the first three books, quite a lot

But mentioning HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED has been known to cause posts to be disemvowled on this site by the PTBs. With good reason. All I'm saying.
fortheshire
24. ClintACK
Great choice.

Elfstones is definitely the strongest of the books, and it should adapt well to the screen.

I'm really pleased to see tv/movie makers starting to acknowledge that an epic fantasy novel needs more than two hours of screen time.
fortheshire
25. blatanville
Back in the day, when I'd see a Shannara book in the Science Fiction Book Club catalogue, I'd mentally read it as "ShaNaNa."
So, when I saw the headline above, I was kind of hoping that "Bowser" Bauman would be cast... :)

#showingmyagemaybe
Michael Dauben
26. mdauben
The only book in the series I even tried to read was Sword of Shannara which is such a blatant rip-off of LOTR (setting, storyline and characters)that I threw it away before finishing it, and have refused to reward the author by purchasing anything else he's done since. I'm sure I'll ignore this TV adaptation as well.
fortheshire
27. Chubby Monkey
I thought that this would be good, until I read that MTV will be doing it. Everything they touch turns to trash.
Kameron Franklin
28. kameronmf
Brooks has admitted quite openly that Sword was a rip-off because that's what his editor at Del Rey asked him to do, and having just read LotR and been quite taken with it, he was more than happy to. Elfstones is my favorite Shannara book, Brooks has always said he wanted any film/TV version to start with Elfstones, and I'm looking forward to it's TV adaptation. I hope it doesn't turn into the low-budget cheesefest that Legend of the Seeker became in its second season.
fortheshire
29. sming
Wishsong was my favorite. I used to read a Terry Brooks book each year as a birthday present to myself. Then eventually I outgrew it. But I think Brooks is great for teens and young adults. Even though Sword of Shannara is a rip-off of Lord of the Rings, I enjoyed reading in the other twelve or so books Brooks's expansion of this world backward and forward through time, even connecting it specifically to Oregon at one point. It's absolutely nothing like LotR in the other books!
fortheshire
30. eljuanandres
I read quite a number of Shannara books and they were entertaining, and I will always be fond of Garet Jax. Sword is a ripoff and not a good idea to start with but there were good points in the series and an adaptation for TV would probably keep the best, so I'd say it has potential.
fortheshire
31. Mark Egginton
The Swearing of Shamara
The Gallstones of Shamara
The Washing of Shamara
The Scones of Shamara
The Droog of Shamara
The Shelf Screen of Shamara
The Taliban of Shamara
I love Terry Brooks books, no really I do, all of the above are ideas I have for a parody.... to follow the success of The Lord of the Grins by U.R.R Jokin and the soon to be released The Halfbit, There or Thereabouts and the Question of Errorbore. I waited half my life waiting for John Carter of Mars to appear on the screen and it was ruined, I really hope that Elfstones makes it big, and succeeds.

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