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HTF DVD REVIEW: Legend of the Seeker

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#1 of 2 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss


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  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted November 08 2009 - 08:52 AM

The Legend of the Seeker:
The Complete First Season
Studio:  CBS Television Studios
Year: 2006/7
US Rating: Not Rated
Film Length: 7 Hours 40 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 – Enhanced for 16X9 TVs
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, English Stereo
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Review Date: November 8, 2009
“Enemies are the price of honor"
The Show: 4 out of 5
Terry Goodkind’s eleven The Sword of Truth novels (particularly Wizard’s First Rul) serve as the primary base and inspiration for Legend of the Seeker, a Disney/ABC studios produced syndicated show which follows the discovery, and journeys of ‘The Seeker’, a powerful agent of good whose destiny is to wield the sword of truth and fell evil.
The series is executively produced by Sam Raimi, a filmmaker not unfamiliar with heroic figures that exist in lands inspired by the middle ages and middle earth. Raimi, along with fellow Executive Producers Robert Tapert, Ned Nalle, Kenneth Biller, and Joshua Donen, has helped craft a surprisingly effective series whose serious tone and darker dramatic exploits set it apart from Raimi’s other projects, Hercules and Xena.
The series is set up with a beautiful Confessor, Kahlan Amnell (played by Bridget Regan) crossing a hundred year old mystical boundary between her land, where magic is prevalent, and the simple and innocent fellow land where she must find a wizard (Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander, played by Bruce Spence) who will take her to the Seeker, a soul who has the power to destroy the greatest evil, Lord Darken Rahl (Craig Parker), who threatens all lands. She encounters a young man, Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) who leaps to her aid after she is pursued and cornered by Rahl’s soldiers (though, as we discover, she doesn’t really need it with her magical powers), and sets in motion a rebirth of the Legend of the Seeker. The young man, who leapt to her aid, is more than he seems, and so begins the journey to destroy evil, protect the innocent people of the land, and become in full what the Seeker is prophesized to become.
Craig Homer as Richard Cypher, the unexpected hero destined to become The Seeker, is a likeable young man who convincingly assumes the heroic fate from his humble woodsman beginnings. Bridget Regan is very good as the burdened and magical Kahlan, and she, along with Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander (Zed), travel with the seeker on the journey to bring justice to the land and prevent the diabolical Darken Rahl from conquering all the lands with his ancient evil.
Legend of the Seeker is surprisingly solid television; entertaining, slickly and ably produced, earnest in its own mythology, and replete with terrific action and swordplay (with dramatic slow-motion to exemplify the action), and visual effects that support the story. With strong talent (and plenty of it) behind the scenes of the show, including John Shiban (Enterprise, Supernatural, X-Files) and Mike Sussman (Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise), Legend of the Seeker is in good hands. Influences can be seen from many tales of good versus evil, from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, to Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur (2004) – noticeable also in Joseph LoDuca’s excellent score for the series. The language, costumes, use of magic, existence of creatures, boundaries, and separation of the three main provinces (Westland, where the show is primarily set, the Midlands, and D’Hara) – are all par for the course in mythical universes like this – but the beautiful locations, slick production, terrific cinematography, and consistent quality (script weaknesses aside) elevate the show beyond initial expectations.
The Episodes

Disc One
Episode 1 – Prophecy
Episode 2 – Destiny
Episode 3 – Bounty
Episode 4 – Brennindon
Disc Two
Episode 5 – Listener
Episode 6 – Elixir
Episode 7 – Identity
Episode 8 – Denna
Disc Three
Episode 9 – Puppeteer
Episode 10 – Sacrifice
Episode 11 – Confession
Episode 12 – Home
Episode 13 – Revenant
Disc Four
Episode 14 – Hartland
Episode 15 – Conversion
Episode 16 – Bloodline
Episode 17 – Deception
Episode 18 – Mirror
Disc Five
Episode 19 – Cursed
Episode 20 – Sanctuary
Episode 21 – Fever
Episode 22 – Reckoning
The Video: 4 out of 5
ABC Studios brings the 22 episodes of the complete first season of Legend of the Seeker home on 5 Discs presented with a Widescreen 1.78:1 image enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The show looks very good, with good levels of detail, a distinct saturated look for the colors, great contrasts and deep blacks. The pilot episode in particular is strong (perhaps benefitting from the initial outlay of money to launch the series), but throughout the 22 episodes, the image quality is high.
The Sound:  4 out of 5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound does the series justice. Active surrounds, better than average bass levels and LFE, along with clarity of dialogue in the center channel, and the thuds of horses galloping, the clanging of swords, and brass rich sounds of Joseph LoDuca’s score, bring the show to life. A solid audio.
The Extras: 3 out of 5
Deleted Scenes: 8 Deleted scenes from the run of the first season – each fully produced, but not labeled from which episode they came.
Forging The Sword: Crafting The Legend (16:22): New Zealander Craig Horner introduces this look behind the scenes, and conversations with Mark Beesly, and show producers including Ken Biller.
Words Of Truth: A Conversation with Terry Goodkind (13:34): The Author, whose creation is the lifeblood of the television series, shares his inspirations, perspectives, and what makes up his life.
Audio Commentaries: Commentaries available on four episodes from Ken Biller.
Final Thoughts
Legend of the Seeker is far from original – but it is crafted with an earnest desire to explore the mythology of the land, and a genuine attempt to retain the dark tone and more graphic gore and violence of Goodkind’s books. A quality production, likeable characters, and brisk storytelling combine to make Legend of the Seeker a far more intriguing, and entertaining, television show than you may expect.
Overall Score 4 out of 5
Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC

"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

Adam Gregorich

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Posted November 08 2009 - 12:54 PM

Nice review Neil.  I stumbled across this on WGN a third of the way into the series and found it surprisingly enjoyable.  I highly recommend giving it a try.

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