I watch a lot of TV. You all know that by now. But occasionally there will still be a show that slips by that I don't get into, either because I don't have time for it while it's airing or because it looks like it just wouldn't be my thing. When I can, often times years later, I go back through the DVD archives and give chances to the ones that have become more mainstream in popularity, as I did with LOST earlier this year, or the cult favorites, like Freaks & Geeks or Veronica Mars. Still, there are some that have evaded me nonetheless, so now My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture is taking a look at those in a brand new column "Why DanielleTBD Should Be Watching." Whereas I am usually the one giving critiques on why you should watch something, this time I am turning it around and asking the fans of very specific programming why they think their favorite show is worth my review. And due to extremely overwhelming response* via Twitter when I first asked my followers on what show they wanted to see an editorial this summer, the debut of this column is with none other than Legend of the Seeker.
LotS, as it is known to fans all over the internet, is truly an international phenomenon. Putting out the word that I wanted to chat with fans, I got responses from France, Spain, Germany, and of course a friend right here in Los Angeles. So what is it about this show that can reach so many people from so many different places, walks of life, ages, and languages? @Woodsman2B (This particular fan asked to be quoted as his Twitter handle) put it best when he said: "This show was unique, very different from everything I had ever seen. You know, I was a little sick of all of these series with meds, cops, or that kind of characters. Maybe too "real" for me at one moment and too repetitive. I needed to see something else."
Lucia Salkova, a fan from Slovakia where the show is just starting this summer and who has watched on DVDs sent by friends, shared that LotS boasts "everything you want. You have one really good looking hero from a poor family that doesn't even know who his real parents are, but he has strength and power to defeat evil...The story is about forbidden love, hate, [and] you have two really great women there-- one full of love and compassion and another a little more rough."
In many parts of the world, LotS airs in the middle of the night-- not an opportune time slot for most to just "stumble" upon it while flipping channels. However, @TheJonJohn from Tennessee said that despite all odds, that's exactly how he found the show. In an email to My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture, he wrote: "1 a.m. Saturday night/early Sunday morning. So I can't sleep and flip through the channels and waBAM!!! There's Richard and Kahlan. So the next day, I'm talking to my sister about this show that was on at 1 in the morning, and I couldn't remember the name, but that it was about a swordsman with a wizard, and she interrupted me and said Legend of the Seeker? We talked about it for more than an hour, and I knew I was in love."
Karen Mendez of Los Angeles CA echoed a similar sentiment: "More than anything I love the ride I am taken on with the series, as well as the message of truth and loyalty...and love [not just in the romantic sense, but in the universal sense of the word] being such an integral part of every one."
Now, admittedly hearing that the show features wizards and fantastical quests might not be of interest to everyone. But diehard fans like @TheJonJohn want everyone to know that "Things aren't always what they appear to be." Therefore, the show is so much more than what one might assume from looking at a poster or seeing a commercial. LotS features very grounded and real characters and relationships, and fans everywhere see themselves reflected in the likes of Richard and Kahlan. They are more than larger than life heroes, they are "strong [and] fearless but still very human and touching," @woodsman2b explained. And of course, it helps that they're easy on the eyes!
@TheJonJohn elaborated: "The actors are good at what they do, and it creates this incredible story between the characters that draws anyone in after only an episode or two...The characters are so intricately woven together; the whole plot keeps me on the edge of my seat. There is a wedding that occurs between Richard the Seeker and Kahlan, only to see that it is a false reality that cannot be allowed to continue." It's a thinking man's show, therefore; it has just received less mainstream praise and coverage than some other shows with larger than life themes.
In LotS, there is the great struggle between good and evil depicted, as well, and doing the "right" things are rewarded so that the characters will continue to fight to banish evil seek out the truth, which is synonymous in this world with what is "right." @TheJonJohn explained further that "The show is like a Star Trek...except not in the future but in the past, in an alternate universe. Good will win out." LotS is designed to be inspiring, in addition to thought-provoking.
One of the things that sets Legend of the Seeker apart from some of the other supernatural or sci-fi shows out there is that the series is actually based on a book series, and it appears that there is a big debate among the online fandom about the books versus the television show. There are those who feel the only "true" fans of LotS are those who follow the books because those came first and the TV show deviates greatly. But Mendez wants fans to know that you can, in fact, love both. "With the show we can see it all played out to an extent and within the realm and capability of television," she explained. "The books give us that wonderful back story and full extent of who the characters are and a deeper sense of their strive...I love both the show and the books and view them as its own wonderful intertwined entity."
@woodsman2b also made a great point in saying that you can be fans of both independently because they are, effectively, different stories. "Differences between the show and the books are not weaknesses; they are strengths," he offered.
Both Mendez and Salkova recommended starting with the pilot if you want one episode with which "try out" the show. "Somebody who has never watched this show or read the books will [still] understand who is who [starting from the pilot]," Salkova explained. "There are a lot of great scenes that can-- and will-- catch [your] heart!" Besides, all of these fans know that if you start with the pilot, you won't want to just stop there! It will simply start your marathon off the way the show creators intended!
* If you are a fan of a show you don't normally see written about on this site and would like to suggest it for consideration of an upcoming article within this column (and wouldn't mind being interviewed with a few questions on why that show is your pick), head over to the Contact DanielleTBD section of this website and get in touch!