During a trip to Derby the other week, I finally picked up “The Omen Machine” and “The Third Kingdom” by Terry Goodkind from Waterstones. Billed as a Richard and Kahlan Novel they are a continuation of the Sword of Truth series. “Legend of the Seeker” is the short lived TV series based on these books
So what sparked this post? Every time I go into Waterstones, I can guarantee that the staff are passionate about books and will end up discussing something with you regarding your purchase. On this occasion, I got chatting to a lady about the Seeker/SoT Books and the topic invariably ended up on the TV Series. Although she loved the books, she described the “TV show” as an abomination and agreed that if you compare the TV Show to the books then absolutely, it’s an abomination.
Can you feel the but coming? If you compare the TV Show to the Books, then it is absolutely horrible. It’s somewhat disjointed, a lot (read:most) of the darker material has been completely ripped out and the whole thing is a bit of a cheesy campy romp. That’s not to say it’s without some dark moments but my argument is, that it just isn’t the books.
However, if you take the TV Show on it’s own merit, it’s absolutely and thoroughly enjoyable. I have no idea if it’s been made by same production company that was involved in Xena and Hercules but I’d take a wild stab and say it’s likely since it’s set in New Zealand, the same as Xena/Hercules and has that same “feel”
Spoilers Ahead……The TV series takes a somewhat loose approach to the books story. We’ve still got Richard, Kahlan, Zed and Cara(season 2) and their relationships to each other are pretty much the same as per the books but the antagonist of the first series Darken Rahl is introduced as Richard’s brother rather than his father. I suppose this was for a few reasons, firstly, Craig Parker playing Darken Rahl is similar in age to Richard and is amazing, sorry good guys but that man is so smooth I actually wanted him to win on occasion. Secondly, Richard’s conception between Darken Rahl and his mother wasn’t exactly family friendly and was part of the darker material pulled to give us the tone we have within Legend of the Seeker.
Many of the main plot points are played out but in slightly different ways. For example, the Seeker’s visit to the city of Tamarang in the books has a character you believe to have been a traitor actually working to stop Darken Rahl and ultimately sacrificing his life under torture to that end. In the TV show, that same character isn’t in Tamarang at all but appears a few episodes later as essentially Villain on the week with no further exploration of that character. I suppose this was likely due to time constraints rather than tone but I never understood the complete change for that character.
It’s a shame that it did end after it’s second season, Craig Horner who plays Richard even “grew the beard” and although it wasn’t the books, it’s still managed a bit of a cult following on it’s own merit.