Legend of the Seeker Series 1
(M) Disney 6 Disc DVD
Shot on location in New Zealand, this ambitious series hasn’t yet been picked up in Australia but uses much of the scenery that made The Lord of the Rings so picturesque.
A fantasy series cut from the same cloth as Rings and directed by Sam Raimi — who also directed the iconic Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess series — the show is based on the books of Terry Goodkind.
Tailor-made for weekend television viewing, the series boasts a handsome hero, a beautiful heroine and a mythical battle between the forces of good and evil.
A little over-burdened with exposition in its first few episodes (not surprisingly), it then finds its way by mixing well-worn fantasy tropes and a lot of action and sword fighting.
The greatest assets of the show are its two leads, Craig Horner and Bridget Regan.
Regan is Kahlan the Confessor — from an ancient order of women sworn to “find the truth, no matter how hard people should try to hide it,” she is the protector of “The Seeker”.
Horner’s Richard Cypher has been raised to become the Seeker and fulfil a prophecy to vanquish evil. He uses the “Sword of Truth” to seek out and destroy Darken Rahl.
Once the main objective is firmly established, the show is free to give us more action and keep things moving with a deft mix of humour, a little romantic (but unresolved, due the nature of their roles) tension and a lot of action.
The real turning point in the season is its eighth episode, “Denna”, which coincidentally features Packed to the Rafters actor Jessica Marias in the recurring role of Denna.
This episode is the first to be deeply emotional as well as introducing the Mord’Sith as antagonists (a group of warrior women — all the better to reference Xena: Warrior Princess). Building from that hour, the show ups the stakes for its characters and becomes much more involving.
Cypher is a classic chiselled hero: earnest, brave and selfless. Not burdened with doubt or indecision, he is likable from the start.
Regan is the standout of the cast. Kahlan is both strong and vulnerable; from the very start she makes the audience care about her character and what needed to be done to stop Darken Rahl.
The finale is, as it should be, the most compelling episode of the season, sending the characters in unexpected directions.
It ended rather abruptly and was a bit of a letdown with the resolution of the hour’s conflict, but there was also sufficient closure for a season finale, while leaving other things open to be explored next season.
You don’t have to enjoy fantasy to be entertained by the series, but perhaps too much investment in the characters will find you having to resort to reading the source material for some closure.