A lot television shows struggle after the first few episodes. In those first few episodes, you have to so much to do: introduce characters, build a world, establish tone, etc., that it’s easy to carry the first few hours along. Then the hard work begins: you have to come up with new stories every week.
The Shannara Chronicles seems to be settling into its week to week episodes fairly well. The show is beginning to establish a “demon of the week” pattern, where our trio of dreamy adventurers will confront and overcome a demon: the fury in episode 3, the Changeling in episode 4, and it seems like the Reaper in episode 5. Throw in the quest motif, and it seems like the series will be able to keep things moving nicely along.
General atmosphere/demonic spookiness: Lots of demons, special effects, and elfstone magic. The show has kept things brisk and exciting, and the demons seem like enough of a threat to keep the action moving forward. I’m worried that if our heroes keep defeating the demons so easily, they won’t come across as very demonic. Perhaps once more demons escape and threaten the kingdom with some demon armies . . .
Faithfulness to the book: At this point, The Shannara Chronicles is completely off-script from the book. In the books, Eretria isn’t always hanging out with our other two heroes Wil and Amberle. In the show, they’ve gone to convoluted lengths to get them all on screen at once. They’ve also greatly beefed up Eretria’s father’s role. These are probably good additions. You can’t have a love triangle unless it’s triangle-ing.
All in all, The Shannara Chornicles has been a good demon show through 4 episodes. It presents a new kind of demon on screen, and it’s interesting to see a fantasy world where demons (and not dragons or orcs) are the enemies. I hope they can keep up the momentum.
Score: 7.5 out of 10 demons.