Stoic Reviews #6 — Legend of the Seeker

Hey everyone! It’s me again, with an exciting new installment of… well, my usual reviews. But this one’s slightly different! Rather than reviewing a movie, movie series, band, or comic, this time I’m going to be reviewing a TV show! Specifically, my favorite TV show to date.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Positive reviews are boring! Do something vitriolic like your After Earth review!”

Well, I agree. Negative reviews are funnier. But, as I said, this is my favorite show, even after being canceled after two seasons. And dammit, I’m gonna review it. And, while not everyone enjoyed the show (how, I don’t know), I’m still going to talk about how completely fantastic and flawless it is, because I’m extremely biased and don’t care about what’s wrong with it. Well, actually, maybe I will point out a few small flaws, just to be fair – but know now that despite the fact that I’m going to acknowledge them, I’m still not going to attest to the show being anything other than perfect.

The show is Legend of the Seeker, directed by Sam Raimi and very loosely based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth books.

Very. Loosely. Based.

When the show was actually noticed (it had TERRIBLE advertisement), it got a lot of flak for many different reasons.

  1. People thought the books it was based on were stupid.
  2. People didn’t think it mirrored the source material closely enough (six of one, half dozen of the other, huh?)
  3. People thought it was trying to rip off Star Wars
  4. People have no taste

So, between all of those deciding factors, LotS was nowhere near a commercial success and was canceled after the tidy ending of Season Two. I have yet to emotionally recover from this catastrophic event, and the cancellation has forever left a gaping hole where my soul used to be.

Anyway, where do I start? Why don’t I start from the beginning, the first few episodes that made everyone immediately dismiss it as utterly ridiculous.

IT’S STAR WARS!

You heard right, folks! It’s Star Wars. Specifically Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The story opens with Luke Skywalker– I mean, Richard Cypher– as a totally normal (yet suspiciously awesome) guy, farming moisture– I mean, chopping wood and building bridges and all that fun stuff. Evil storm troopers– I mean, uh, evil D’Haran soldiers suddenly come barging in from this unknown world that’s been sealed away for centuries, and adventure begins to ensue. We also get a glimpse at Darth Vader– I mean, Darken Rahl, who is the main villain of the first season and a recurring character of the second.

As events start to unfold, Richard meets a remarkably badass and extraordinarily hot Princess Leia– I mean, Kahlan, who is a Confessor. She can mind-control people into loveslaves, detect lies, kick ass with a pair of daggers, and telekinetically hold her bodice together while it shows off as much cleavage as she can manage.

Richard gets increasingly confused by the supernatural events around him, and finally confronts his uncle– I mean, father, about it. His dad tells him to go find the old man who lives in a shack not far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi– I mean, Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, who ends up being a jedi knight– I mean, wizard.

You still with me? Cool.

Anyway, Zedd and Kahlan tell Richard that he is the prophesied one, the Seeker of Truth, destined to bring peace to the world and destroy Rahl. He tells them to shove it and goes home, only to find that the D’Haran soldiers (specifically one soldier, who is a real piece of work) has killed his dad (gasp, spoilers!) and framed Richard for the crime. In light of the death of his parental figure, he goes back to Zedd and Kahlan and decides that he would like to be a jedi– I mean, the Seeker, after all.

A lot of people, I think, didn’t get past this. It’s simply too strikingly resemblant to the plot of the first Star Wars movie (or at least the beginning of it), and nobody took the show seriously despite solid acting, gorgeous scenery, amazing costuming, fun action, and good special effects. Pity.

Now that we’ve established that – the show is actually fantastic.

THE CHARACTERS:

The characters totally rock. It has a focused cast that never stretches beyond five central characters, and they’re pretty friggin’ loveable.

Richard: (Neutral Good) – Richard seems like he’s gonna be your standard reluctant everyman hero at first, and for a little bit he is. However, it doesn’t really take him all that long to embrace his role as the Seeker, and his personal moral code starts to take hold. Turns out, Richard has a heart of gold and never compromises his own ethics, almost to the point of stupidity. If he wasn’t such a badass, his wide-eyed perspective on life would have gotten him killed many times over. However, he is that badass, fair and square, and he manages to struggle past the obstacles in his path (taking his licks when he has to) and never compromises what he believes in.

Kahlan: (Lawful Neutral w/ Good Tendencies) – While she is personally my least favorite character on the show, other fans love Kahlan, and for good reason. She has cool abilities, such as the power to discern lies and the ability to “confess”, which permanently binds people to her and makes them her thralls. She isn’t exactly crazy about doing this but she does it a lot anyway, usually against D’Haran soldiers, officers, or other people that are going to get killed anyway if she doesn’t confess ‘em. She’s no-nonsense yet caring, but she does have a traditionalist facet that is intriguing if not endearing – her belief in what must be too often overrides her feelings of what should be, leading to her occasionally making some really distasteful decisions. Still, she’s affectionate and compassionate, along with being fierce and strong.

Also cleavage. Sorry, sorry. But seriously: cleavage.

Zedd: (Chaotic Good) – Why hello, Zedd, what do you have in store for today’s episode? What do you mean, ‘look at the script’? Oooh… I see.

This guy is a wizard of absurd power, which they often try to excuse with the fact that he is also super old and therefore liable to forget some stuff from time to time. This leads to Zedd’s abilities fluctuating by the episode, generally being dependent on whether or not the plot demands them. His magical abilities range from the ability to cast massive ritual spells and even stop time, to just tossing firebolts. However, no matter how useful stopping time might be, when it’d be too convenient for him to do so he seemingly forgets how.

Besides that, however, he’s funny, smart, and cool, and he always seems to be the guy who finds the third option when both of the obvious choices seem to really suck.

Darken Rahl: (Lawful Evil to the bone) – Lord Rahl is like, the ultimate villain. He’s sinister, intelligent, powerful, skilled, ruthless, and well-groomed, and you can even relate to him in a sort of crazy way (particularly in the second season, where we see more of his human side now that he’s not the main baddy). I’ll kinda lay off talking about him too much, because spoilers, but seriously, he rules.

Cara: (Does Not Compute – Lawful Chaotic – GACK) – Cara Mason doesn’t show up until the end of the first season, and she doesn’t join the core team until the beginning of the second. However, she is far and away my favorite character on the show. She’s one of the Mord-Sith – an ancient order of leather-clad, anti-magic, bisexual dominatrix badasses who are sworn to serve Lord Rahl. For [INSERT REASONS HERE] she breaks away from the other Mord-Sith and joins up with Seeker & Co., where she proceeds to be absolutely fantastic. Not only does she bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘badass’ (with her pain-resistance, anti-magic, and dual-wielded Agony Dildos), she is tragic while having a lot of really endearing character moments, and even has some of the funniest lines and moments in the show. She is also thoughtful enough to modify the traditional Mord-Sith uniform to show off more cleavage.

THE SHOW: Obviously I can’t do an in-depth review on the entire storyline of a 44-episode television series, but I can glance over some of the highlights.

Scenery: Holy crap. I mean, it’s set in New Zealand, so that pretty much explains its own self. The scenery is absolutely fabulous.

Costuming: This is kind of a weird thing to touch down on but I need to make mention of it. The costuming in this show is really fantastic – like really fantastic. You already get a glimpse from the core cast, but honestly, every lowly henchman or soldier or map-maker or garden-variety Mord-Sith just has truly amazing outfits, be it cool fantasy armor, robes, skintight leather BDSM-suits, or anything in between.

Plot: The overarcing plotline is standard enough – hero fight bad guy, hero save world – with minimal twists along the way, but it’s the individual episodes that give the show flavor. Each episode has its own mini-story, its own little quest, its own problem that has to be solved, and each time we get to see how Seeker & Co. handles things. Each new episode shows more personality and more cool abilities, shows more of each character’s moral code and shows more of the world around them, and the people in it.

Then, in season two, Hell opens up and zombies start to pour out! YAY!

Relationships: Whether it’s the romance between Richard and Kahlan, the devotion of Cara to Richard, the mentor-figure relationship of Zedd to Richard, the tense, subtexty rivalry of Kahlan and Cara, or the “I can save you” relationship between Richard and Darken Rahl, each relationship is driven home with fantastic execution. The dialogue is consistently vibrant and each passing episode cements the characters in your heart – it doesn’t scramble for shock value by destroying characters, but instead constantly builds on them by testing, tempering, and rewarding them.

THE VERDICT: I’ve probably said enough as is, and there’s no way I’ve held your attention for this long. So, without further ado, I’d just love to recommend the show and tell you that I really love it – it has a special place in my heart, a special enough place to warrant a nearly two thousand word review. The whole thing is even on Netflix’s instant watch, so if you are ever looking for something new to sink your teeth into, something with finite size but a satisfying climax, try taking a risk on Legend of the Seeker.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Unless it’s morning where you are.

In which case, just… goodbye I guess.

Anyway, remember that you heard it here first (unless you didn’t)! Be more like me, and do things I do, because I’m cool!

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