Fantasy is a bit of a tough sell, so it might seem kind of surprising that MTV's latest scripted series, The Shannara Chronicles, is a sweeping tale about an endangered magical kingdom in the far future and the elves, druids, trolls and humans that inhabit it.
But the Lord of the Rings-esque story (a group of people must go on a quest to save their magical kingdom from evil—and it was also shot in New Zealand to boot) is actually totally engrossing, completely beautiful and funny—even for people who don't quite know what a Hobbit is.
This is MTV, of course, so everyone is incredibly attractive, and several of these hot people are tasked with saving their magical kingdom from destruction by an evil demon, who is summoning demons via the Ellcrys, the magical tree that protects the kingdom, which is now cursed. (Yeah, it's a lot).
Said sexy people include Austin Butler, a.k.a. your dreamboat bad boy crush from Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, as Wil Ohmsford, a half-human, half-elf who is apparently the descendant of the royal Shannara elf clan; a smokin' hot hundreds-year-old druid, Allanon (Arrow's Manu Bennett), the only person in the kingdom who remembers how to summon magic; elven princess Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton), who can communicate with the Ellcrys and is the only one who can help it regenerate without that pesky evil curse.
Still here? Yes, it's pretty standard fantasy fare but it totally works. Butler brings a lot of humor to the could-be-ridiculous situation, and Drayton is the perfect blend of gorgeous and strong needed to play a believable badass. And if you liked Bennett on Arrow, you'll totally enjoy him here. Plus he wears fewer clothes.
You know how you had to explain to some of your friends that Friday Night Lights wasn't really about football? That's kind of like what The Shannara Chronicles is here. There's more than fantasy at play here, and it's the best Game of Thrones-for-basic-cable show that's debuted yet. And everyone's hot. What's not to like?
The Shannara Chronicles airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on MTV.
What did you think of the premiere? Will you stick with it, even if fantasy isn't really your thing?