Legend of the Seeker: Season 1
One of the oldest and most popular themes in storytelling is the heroic quest. From the classic epic poems in ancient Greek to the big blockbuster flicks millions wait in line to watch. This type of adventure tale can even be found in such futuristic stories as ‘Star Wars’. Noted expert on heroes as they are presented in human culture, Joseph Campbell, has helped to academically establish and define the parameters for the heroic quest. The format of this type of story is highly conducive to using it as a basis of a television series. These stories can be continued for a long time adding one part of the tale upon the previous one. Stories of this sort have always been tightly tied to the universal human need for the establishment of mythology. While myths initially were used to explain aspects of nature beyond the current level of understanding the hero always figured into the story in some significant fashion. One of the latest stories like this to make the transition to television is; ‘Legend of the Seeker’. The series has made it past the freshman season and was picked up for a second. Just in case you need to catch up the DVD of season one has been released. This is one of a group of Canadian series that were imported to here in the States during the most recent Writer’s strike. Even though a good percentage of television series are produced in Canada or New Zealand and with the strike affecting many shows made here these countries help keep scripted television alive. It’s been a long time since we could enjoy a well constructed sword and sandals TV show but this one fills the niche rather nicely. It is light enough for general family viewing as proven by its local distribution by Disney. The series contains plenty of action, adventure and mystery with just a hint of ‘PG’ romance added to the mix.
The driving force behind this series has helped to define the genre for television. The executive production was taken on by Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen, Ned Nalle and Kenneth Biller. When it comes to presenting mythic television they were the founding fathers with such hugely popular series as ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’. Raimi also is a note worthy master of the horror flick and created much of the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise. With a production bloodline like this the series has a head start towards success. This may not be something that would be backed by a major broadcast network but thankfully the explosion of niche networks on cable allow for quality little series like this much in the same way Indy films provide an alternative for cinema.
The basic premise employed here is one of the most ancient; the heroic quest. The format for this type of storytelling has been honed over eons and ‘Seeker’ manages to hit all the required elements. This variation of the story was taken from the ‘Sword of Truth’ novels by Terry Good kind. Most important is the hero; youthful, rugged and trustworthy. This requisite is met by Richard Cypher (Craig Horner). Initially he has a simple life as a humble woodland guide. He is charged with a mission of utmost importance; to locate and defeat the evil wizard Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). Naturally his goal is to unleash a terrible ancient power that will destroy the world as we know it. In a story like this it is never a lone quest; Richard has some companions along for the ride. The young hero requires a wise old mentor; a wizard named Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander (played by Bruce Spence). Since he is in the vigorous prime of his life there has to be at least the potential for a love interest handled by Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) who has a background cloaked in mystery combined with a magical power. The trio set off in a mythological world with danger lurking around every corner.
Richard has the typical background required for a young man entering the traveling hero field. His mother tragically died in a fire when he was very young and his father was killed just before the start of the series Richard discovers that he is in line to hold the sacred post of ‘Seeker of the Truth’; the defender of truth and enemy of evil wherever it may be. This allows the writers to use the popular two fold approach to a season. Every episode there is some more or less localized evil for the group to fight and this is typically concluded by the end of the episode. Then they run into clues to a broader more sinister evil and the workings of the central villain. The production values here are excellent, the actor a touch hammy but well done and the internal mythos consistent so give this one a try.