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Production quality will be fine.  It remains to be seen whether the changes to the story that Rafe intends will be well accepted.  The Star Wars prequels show us that you can throw all the money in the world at a production, giving it top of the line graphical effects, and be based on an IP that's robust and has a proven track record of popularity, and still muck it up with bad writing and directing.  

 

I'm not seeing any really egregious red flags though.  No disgruntled writers storming out of the writers room, or multiple re-writes of scripts or book consultants quitting.  No replacements of directors at the last minute or anything like that.  At least, not that's been reported.  So I reckon they deserve the benefit of the doubt.  Or at least enough rope to hang themselves with.

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8 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Production quality will be fine.  It remains to be seen whether the changes to the story that Rafe intends will be well accepted.  The Star Wars prequels show us that you can throw all the money in the world at a production, giving it top of the line graphical effects, and be based on an IP that's robust and has a proven track record of popularity, and still muck it up with bad writing and directing.  

 

I'm not seeing any really egregious red flags though.  No disgruntled writers storming out of the writers room, or multiple re-writes of scripts or book consultants quitting.  No replacements of directors at the last minute or anything like that.  At least, not that's been reported.  So I reckon they deserve the benefit of the doubt.  Or at least enough rope to hang themselves with.

This. And the fact that Brandon Sanderson seems to approve of at least most of the changes is another reason to be hopeful. 

 

I don't think we will get another Shannara disaster.

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I don't know whether we'll have another Shannara disaster or not.  The potential for it is there.  Though we should be at least somewhat charitable to Shannara insofar as their first season wasn't an unmitigated disaster.  In fact, it was rather decently engaging, especially for folks like myself who had only the barest awareness of that book series to begin with.  It was their second season, where they tried to significantly re-write the story so they could keep their main characters, while at the same time incorporating things from books that took place centuries apart, from what I understand, that things got muddled and nonsensical.

 

One of the things that Rafe seems to be changing is leaning much more heavily into Aes Sedai politics much earlier than Jordan did.  And the Aes Sedai politics-heavy arcs have been among the most negatively received parts of the book series.  This could end up being a positive change for the tv show, where it may be easier to play up the mystery and intrigue of that kind of political wrangling.  Or it may drive off those book fans who are already frustrated and bored with those arcs.

 

At the end of the day, there's nothing to do but wait and see.  Without seeing the finished product, there's no way to tell whether Rafe's changes will serve the story well or poorly.  One thing I do expect is that the second season shouldn't follow the Shannara Chronicles in being bad, even if the first season is middling or not good at all.  All this downtime from Covid that they've been spending writing scripts for the second season should mean that plot holes get caught, dialog is tightened up, and the potential for confusion and nonsense is reduced.  But even good writing can't fix bad directing or bad acting, and we won't know the quality of those until we see the finished product.  Though as I've said, we have no reason to expect either directing or acting to be bad.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 12/7/2020 at 12:30 PM, Thrasymachus said:
On 12/7/2020 at 12:30 PM, Thrasymachus said:

One of the things that Rafe seems to be changing is leaning much more heavily into Aes Sedai politics much earlier than Jordan did.  And the Aes Sedai politics-heavy arcs have been among the most negatively received parts of the book series.  This could end up being a positive change for the tv show, where it may be easier to play up the mystery and intrigue of that kind of political wrangling.  Or it may drive off those book fans who are already frustrated and bored with those arcs.

 

 

 

I would dislike any major changes to plots or characters from the books but I'm not at all against adding things that logically might have occurred behind the scenes if it helps the video version move along. These things happened and as long as the fit what we know it actually gives us more. It's sort of like I wish we could get a Mat and Tuon after series but know we never will.

 

 

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This series will be measured right off the bat by first impressions of what they show to the world in content terms. All the theory-crafting and supposition to-date will be supplanted by what our eyes and ears show us.

 

1. Realism as an ambient property - like LOTR and GOT, they need to establish a world which is both grounded in practical aspects, good believable characterizations, and fantastical phenomena (like channeling, myrddraal, Machin Shin) that is presented as an integrated part of the world fabric and not "hey look at the cool effect". Magic in any series has to seem like it isn't even always noticed by the inhabitants as a big deal, unless plot-wise it would be. But whenever used, it must look and feel real.

 

2. The boundary between CGI and practical effects should be indistinguishable - even though we know certain things obviously must be done via CGI, the mere appearance in he show must be such that there isn't an obvious line drawn where digital effects are integrated. You should always have the thought "I wonder if that was practical of digital" as often as possible. And if something can only be shown as a bad cartoon image, then don't even show it. Even though I knew Drogon was CGI, it looked and felt totally real and present. Nowadays, there are too many TV and movie examples of absolutely horrible, fake CGI which people seem to tolerate because ... cool. With the WoT budget and precedents like GOT and LOTR, there is just no excuse.

 

3. World-building, language and culture are theirs not ours - the moment they put modern contractions, slang, or especially idioms or memes that are clearly not part of a non-modern or non-earth environment, is the moment they will lose my attention. It is hard if not impossible to come back from violating that spirit. Because you know it will just keep happening with worse and worse examples. Not to mention that RJ had a very extreme sense of belonging to THAT world in his appearances, language and attitudes he so painstakingly detailed.

 

As much as I'd love to see a literal translation of the story, getting the above things right means the "feel" of the story will be right and worthy of attention. The audience will organically grow just like GOT did (minus the, um ending).

Edited by redgiant
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I'm 50% nervous and 50% excited and here's why:

 

#1) I've been a huge fan of the Fantasy genre since I was a little kid. It started with the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings...by 6th grade I was reading The Wheel of Time. Then Harry Potter. I've read Eragon, the Sword of Truth, the Dresden Files, the Stormlight Archives, Mistborn, Leviathan, Codex Alera, Percy Jackson, the Hunger Games, The Kingkiller Chronicles, the list goes on and on...

I love Fantasy novels. 

 

#2) I LOVED the Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies. Why? They tried very hard to make the story come to life and to be faithful to the story -- but make necessary changes to adapt to the screen. They didn't need to change the story for it to be hit. They were HUGE because they stuck to the books and did it well. It's incredible stuff if you can't make it REAL. Believable. And the Hunger Game movies were actually better than the books for the same reason. 

 

#3) I have HATED when beloved, well-written, hit books are butchered by television or movies: it isn't just Shannara that TV adaptations or movies (bleeped) up... they've done the same with the Sword of the Truth (Legend of the Seeker), Eragon, Percy Jackson, the Dresden Files, and even...wait for it... the end of Game of Thrones. 

 

Why were they butchered, you ask? Different reasons. Terrible writing. Bad special effects. Bad acting. Actors with big contracts, so TV decided they couldn't be killed (in Games of Thrones case). But the thing that unites why all these attempts utterly sucked... They got ahead of or disregarded the books. Threw' em out. Adapted as they saw fit. 

 

Now, to be fair... Wheel of Time isn't nearly as big or popular as the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, I recognize. They can change stuff without a lot of the viewership knowing or caring about the changes. Jordan was so specific and descriptive about everything, so many of these of changes even a Big-Fan like me can roll with --- If Moiraine is taller than she should be or doesn't have a staff, if they give Rand the wrong color of eyes, if they put some plot lines in a different order (maybe focus more on Moiraine and Lan's backstory than the first book does), ect... Not a problem. Not necessary, but not a problem. But if, (like Legend of the Seeker) they go way way off script...that sucks, and I'll be out. And I am 50% worried that Rafe and Amazon are going to do that in order to try to make the Wheel of Time like Game of Thrones and also make it "woke" for today.

 

Imagine trying to like the Lord of the Rings when it first came out if they made Gandalf have an on-screen gay relationship. Or if they made Boromir a central character because he's more 3-dimensional than Frodo. Or in Harry Potter if they killed off Hagrid for dramatic effect. Or inserted a sex scene with Harry and Hermione to create more tension. I really hope they don't do that kind of stuff with the Wheel of the Time. Obviously they're going to need to cut a bunch of plotlines, they're not going to be able to fit in all the characters and all the places, and they'll need to make some minor plot changes so they can faithfully transfer the story from books to TV. But I really hope they don't (bleep) this up and I'm 50% nervous they will.

 

But I'm 50% excited because Amazon is putting big money into this, so I don't think they are going to allow bad writing, acting, or special effects. I guess we will just have to wait and see if we get something of Lord of the Rings quality or if we get something more like Legend of the Seeker...I'm not worried about a Shannara disaster, they got too much money in this project for that.  

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well, money at least means they are serious about it. they are not trying to make a cheap project in the hopes of catering to the fans that are going to watch it anyway, and then pull out with a net gain. they can still fail, but at least they will try.

 

i'm also wondering how much adherence to the books will actually pay off. here we are, fans of the books all ready to catch if thom is ten years younger or if tam's sword has the wrong quillons. but if they spend big money on this project they are hoping for a big audience, and this means most of them won't be familiar with the books. the success or failure of the wot tv series will actually be built not on the book fans, but on the reception of the general public.

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  • 5 weeks later...

With every thing we have seen recently, the sound clip, sword video, guitar video and tiny show snippet and especially the concept art I think the show is in really good hands. I expect it to be quite good. I am in the minority of hard core WoT fans that actually want it to be solidly TV-MA. The world has always been TV-MA but sort of told in a PG-13 way. I do not think that works for this show. It needs to be alive, and adult. The two most successful series in Witcher and GOT are both very adult. The LOTR adaption will likely be more PG-13 because of the movies so since they are doing two major fantasy series I think WoT will be the adult one. 

 

I am a little worried about the music. The original composer left and no replacement has been announce. I am worried that they will go the new trend and use mostly modern music for this show, which I think will be a huge mistake.

 

Still the concept art and the quality of the props gives me a lot of hope. 

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