You can see the most recently posted comments here, 8 at a time; or, if you prefer, we've got a news feed...
Robinson L on The Sequel of Shannara
at 03:00 on 11-10-2017 - link
No worries, Cheriola.
I didn't necessarily expect something as generally light-hearted as Xena. I guess something tonally similar to Buffy is what I envisioned, taking the problems seriously, but with a lot of self-aware humor. From your description, Wil sounds like potentially a really fun character - like Xander but minus the creep factor.
All in all, you make the show sound pretty tempting. I don't terribly mind low-budget production values, and I can definitely get behind more majestic landscape shots of New Zealand. Teenage romance drama isn't my favorite, but in terms of annoying plot devices it's pretty low on my list (unless it's coupled with, say, "conflict between the romantic partners which only exists for plot-driven reasons and could be cleared up in three minutes if they would just sit down and talk things out," which isn't confined just to teen romance dramas).
Cheriola on The Sequel of Shannara
at 10:48 on 10-10-2017 - link
Sorry for not answering earlier, Robinson.
The show isn't really as cheerfully self-parodying in the way Xena was - there's way too much death and gory violence going on for that - but it feels sort of like Buffy in that the world-threatening drama is played completely seriously but the younger characters still occasionally make snarky comments about it as a coping strategy. Wil especially has this counterintuitive personality mix of being naive, nice to people, and none-too-bright, while at the same time managing to be a deadpan snarker and quite genre savvy about some particularly silly tropes. It shouldn't work, but somehow it does. (I've recently rewatched the first few seasons of Buffy, and Wil reminds me a lot of teenage Xander - except without all the seriously annoying parts, i.e. the latter character's more problematic attitudes about girls he's attracted to, occasional nastiness to cope with being unpopular or jealous, the near-constant jokeyness even when it really isn't the right time, and the sense that the self-depreciating humor masks a lingering shame about 'insuficient masculinity' / the fact that Buffy was a lot stronger than him.)
Sadly there isn't very much Allanon-Wil interaction beyond the first few episodes, as Wil gets sent off on his quest with Amberle and Eretria at the end of episode 4, while Allanon stays back in the elf kingdom.
As for Wil refusing the Call... That doesn't last long, thankfully. And after Allanon has convinced him that magic is indeed real and in his blood, he has even more good reason not to want to fulfill his destiny. ("So, I'm supposed to use Elfstones I don't have, to protect a princess, who doesn't wanna be found, from a demon horde bent on laying waste to the world. And even if I succeed - which is entirely... doubtful - my life could still be doomed, because magic will have fried my brain.") But at first he just sort of temporarily resigns himself to go along with Allanon - partly because "go find the druid" was his mother's dying wish, partly because Allanon initially tempts him by saying that he could teach him the kind of magic that could have saved his mother's life, but ultimately one gets the feeling it's really mainly because Allanon just doesn't take no for an answer and Wil doesn't have much psychological resistance to this sort of treatment. After that, for a while it's just that he and Aberle are almost constantly threatened (Allanon is gravely injured, sparking Wil's sense of healer's responsibility) and there's no-one else around to help her, so walking away is not an option. But as soon as they are safely back in the palace, Wil says goodbye to Amberle, basically tells Allanon to go screw himself (Allanon accepts this for once - probably because he knows the youngsters have emotionally bonded by this point), and he even leaves the Elfstones behind with Allanon. He really only finally commits to the quest to give Amberle emotional support, because most of the elven council still won't believe the whole "we are all going to be massacred by demons" thing, and they are insultingly dismissive of Amberle as the candidate to go on this world-saving quest.
Wil: "Magic and demons are real. I have seen them with my own eyes. Quite frankly, all I wanna do is run away. Then, I met Amberle. She might have been frightened, but she is also incredibly brave. She didn't have to come back. But she did. For all of YOU - the people she loves. If I had to put my faith in anyone to save the Four Lands, it would be her."
*goes to stand with Allanon* "...Don't even say it."
Allanon: *handing back the Elfstones* "I think these belong to you."
(There also was a very brief scene with a weird young man they'd just rescued (he's a seer, but Wil doesn't know that) trying to tell Wil that "something terrible will happen" if Wil doesn't go with Amberle to Safehold, but it's not clear if Wil believed him at all.)
The show really is worth watching (second season is just starting now), as long as you have a certain level of tolerance for teenage romance drama and the kind of "narm charm" that inevitably comes with a low-budget LotR (the occasional anachronistically modern-looking outfit; those Spock ears...). Though I was really understating the visual quality of the show above: For a TV show without the mass audience of Game of Thrones, the CGI, monster make-up, and elven court sets really look amazing. Plus, lots of pretty landscape shots, of course, this being produced in New Zealand.
- Arthur B on Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and Its Imitators, Part 1 at 21:51 on 09-10-2017 - link That much makes sense, and of course Leiber was a contemporary of Lovecraft - but at the same time I taste more than a bit of the 1970s Leiber in the actual writing. Given the long gestation time I can't believe that the story we finally got in 1976 resembles especially closely the story as it would have stood were it finished in 1937.
- Arthur B on Agent Cooper, You Are Far Away at 21:37 on 09-10-2017 - link I have heard it both ways and suspect there may be a local dialect thing going on there, but have corrected for the time being.
- Robinson L on Agent Cooper, You Are Far Away at 20:00 on 09-10-2017 - link Not much to add to this article, not yet having wandered onto the Twin Peaks bandwagon, but I thought I should point out that from what I hear, the word “transgendered” is a slur, and the correct term is just “transgender.” I haven’t looked into the background, but I assume because “transgender” is what someone is, whereas adding the “ed” implies something being done to the person in question.
- Ashimbabbar on Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and Its Imitators, Part 1 at 18:01 on 09-10-2017 - link concerning the Leiber story, according to wikipedia it was begun in 1937 but not finished until 1976 ( talk about artistic dedication ! wait, no, I believe he did write some other stuff in between ), so there's a point in including it with stories of HPL's contemporaries
- Bill on Lumley Makes a Psychomess of It at 17:50 on 07-10-2017 - link I'll take your word for it that this is a terrible book, but "Monstrous Evil and Savage Lust Pulsate in the Depths of the Horror Machine" is a classic of its genre.
- Arthur B on That's the Hell of It... at 11:03 on 04-10-2017 - link Same here, it's a great funeral song.