Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why DanielleTBD Should Be Watching: 'Legend of the Seeker' Edition...

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!


Jamie C. said...

So now do you have to watch it and say if you liked it or not?

danielletbd said...

Those aren't the rules but I do watch the pilots of anything I consider writing about in the column, and if the pilot sparks something then I will continue.

I'm working on the second installment right now. This may be a monthly column :D

monica said...

Legend of the Seeker is definitely a stand-alone show that can be enjoyed w/o reading The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.
This show should have been renewed for Season 3 & needs the promotion ABC/Tribune did not give it. People simply know little 2 nothing about the show. Very sad & avoidable.
Thank you,
Monica Porrata
San Francisco, CA

evan said...

Really great column Danielle.
I love this show, it really has so much I can relate too. I like how it's set in a different setting than most other television shows. Great characters as well. Really hope it gets a 3rd season.


David said...

The show transcends the typical fantasy TV show from the past due to the very strong characters and their relationships. Sure, it's dressed up in magic and swords and the epic strugle between good and evil, but it succeeds on a higher level than earlier programs thanks to the very real friendships and rivalries among the major players, both friends and enemies. There IS a very clear black and white, right and wrong side of things, but the truly interesting bad guys have understandable motivations and aren't just fully dark of heart for the most part. The heroes also ring more true thanks to being somewhat broken in many ways themselves. There are no perfect saints, nor are there thoughtless sinners. LotS lives in the grey area than most of humanity finds in the real world. This early in the story, even the Richard struggles to make the right choices despite being named the Seeker of Truth.

The books deal with this more through the redemption of many who see another reality through Richard, but the further into the story they get, the more obvious the true evil becomes.

Both ways of dealing with the story work well and both are worthy of attention.

ellie said...

In my humble opinion, the show surpasses the standard for television. It's more like you're watching a weekly movie. Full of fantasy and fun, but coupled with good values, role models, an inspirational message and the most EPIC relationship I have ever seen televised (Richard and Kahlan) I urge fantasy lovers to give it a chance. I liked it 'well enough' to begin with, but by the end of season 1 I was addicted and couldn't WAIT for season 2. There are so many epic moments such as "You loved me across time" If you've read the books you may be disappointed that the story doesn't always follow - but the show needed to be adapted for those who had never read "the sword of truth" novels because there is no narrative on tv like in books. The strength and nobility of the characters and the depth of Richard's love for Kahlan (and hers for him) is very true to the novels - so no matter what the characters are thrown into, they are still those characters. Hoping for a third season, and I'm sure fans of the show wouldn't mind it following the books more at all, where possible, if a third season were to happen. We just love the characters, and any adventures they may have. I'd love to see Starz take on the show (they produced spartacus) as it would have a bit more freedom to follow more 'mature' elements from the books. Fingers crossed! The show still has so much potential yet to be unleashed.


derascal or ras said...

How great to read the fantastic comments fans have already made. Legend of the Seeker is remarkably entertaining, thought provoking and habit forming!! The cast and crew are amazing. Craig Horner, Bridget Regan, Bruce Spence, Craig Parker, Tabrett Bethell are talented actors. From Episode 1 being introduced to the woodsguide Richard Cypher through this year's Finale Tears... Fans have been enjoyed drama, comedy, romance, adventure, interesting special effects.. capturing your heart and imagination. No one is perfect and all the characters struggle with making choices -- We need more seasons of Legend of the Seeker.. so much more of the story to tell, a fertile field yet to be explored. ras