The fact that there is still no official confirmation for the Shannara Chronicles Season 3 has worried and saddened the fans. A hard-core fan of the fantasy series has even created an online petition to prompt Netflix to continue with the franchise.
At the time of writing, more than 1,200 people signed the petition, and it remains to be seen if it’s going to come under Netflix’s radar. And until that time, it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look at the series and try to guestimate if the streaming giant is going to pick it up.
Turbulent Chronicles of Shannara
The series is based on Terry Brook’s fantasy books that topped the best-selling charts across the country. The TV adaptation premiered back in 2016, and it aimed to set the new standards. However, the airing was plagued by one hurdle after another.
First, the Shannara Chronicles fell victim to the bumpy restructuring in Viacom, which was the original producer of the series. That was the moment when the series was taken off MTV and transferred to Spike – another network that’s under Viacom’s wing. But the switch didn’t happen overnight.
The break between Season 1 and 2 lasted for a year and a half. Combine the timing with the switch to another broadcaster, and it’s no surprise that the ratings failed to meet the expectations. As live views translate to money in the production industry, there had been rumors that the series would get killed altogether.
Then in early 2018, Viacom came out with an official statement. The fantasy epic was being axed off the air, but there is a silver lining. The series co-creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough retained the proprietary rights over the franchise, and they were shopping for a new partner.
However, it appears there’s more to the decision to kill the series than just the ratings and company restructuring. Some production mistakes might have affected the series’ ratings despite the transition to Spike and the long break.
Perils of Producing a Book-Based Fantasy Series
It’s super tough to emulate the Game of Throne’s success. And it’s safe to assume that the Shannara Chronicles team failed to take advantage of some lessons from the GOT’s production. So, what are the main challenges?
Departures from the Book
While GOT received praise for its ability to expand the story beyond George R.R. Martin’s books, we can’t say the same for the Shannara Chronicles. The authors have taken too many creative liberties and thus failed to keep the viewers hooked.
But don’t think that the Chronicles are the only show that suffers from this ailment. A similar problem happened with The Walking Dead and some other franchises. As for the Shannara, some critics have gone as far as to say that Season 2 seemed like an “alt-history” of Brook’s books.
Hard Fantasy – Hard Sell
The thing that made GOT so popular is the fact that audiences could identify with the human element. Despite the magic, dragons, and whatnot, it was the human characters that shaped the plots. However, things are different with the Shannara.
As you already know, the series is a hard fantasy. That means all the drama revolves around elves, witches, warlocks, and other creatures. In other words, the series lacks a balance between the human and non-human elements.
So far, the only franchise that managed to succeed in hard fantasy is Lord of the Rings. In contrast, the Shannara’s sincerity and lack of humor may come off as being cheesy, preventing it from attracting bigger audiences.
If someone asks, you’ll probably be able to provide a detailed description of fantasy creatures, their attire, and even place of residence. But to tell you a secret, this is not something you want to see in a fantasy series.
Generic aesthetics that lack a touch of modernity significantly affect the viewing experience. Yes, Brook’s books started in the 1970s, and the series tried to emulate those looks. But the disco-era cues don’t resonate well with today’s audiences who seem to crave a more contemporary appearance.
An excellent example of this is the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Why Is That Important?
When considering whether to pick up the series or not, the Netflix executives and producers are likely to factor in the given issues. They might conclude that Season 3 is in dire need of a major overhaul if it’s to remain competitive.
That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. But then, the question if it’s possible to revamp the story after two seasons merits a lengthy analysis of the series and audience.
And until that happens, you can stream the first two seasons on Netflix.
Shannara Come to Life
Providing the final answer if the Shannara Chronicles are to live again isn’t easy. And it’s safe to assume that Netflix is going to decide against it. But there might be another network that’s willing to take the plunge and continue with the series.
What do you think is going to happen? Which season do you like better? Share your thoughts with the rest of the TJ community in the comments section below.