Based upon the three episodes available on release (Scroll down for Edit)
I like it. I have no idea what the source material is, or how popular the books might be. For what it is, it’s a nice reprieve on streaming with so little quality shows as of late in the fantasy department. It starts off with an epic scale, and keeps it up. You can see where the show is going with their characters – you can see the journey. Honestly for all the exposition and background given, I’m not too concerned about the details of the lore. I’m watching because I want to see my hero reunited with my other hero while loving and endearing sidekicks A and B develop their own, just as needed, character arcs. The general concept is very cool, the idea of Light vs Dark quite literally, and an evil being known affectionately as the Dark One. A grand hero born each age with the power to destroy or save the world, with the last one choosing to destroy it. The hero is reborn due to the so called Wheel of Time. Lot of reincarnation ideas at play here, and very similar to weaving fate like some certain Greek sisters.
The show itself has a lot of similarities to Lord of the Rings in the journey that the heroes take to reach their goal. A person of great magical power comes to some tiny little backwards town to find an individual that’s the possible reborn hero, called the Dragon Reborn. There’s some creepy evil bad dude in a black cloak riding on a black horse commanding dark forces, and the magic that the women use is called the One Power. There’s a bit more exposition and learning to be had about the world which Amazon does a great job of dripping you with the X-ray feature to inform, and the explore tab on the show’s page.
The costume work is great, the clothes feel of quality. The CGI is well done, and the beastly monsters look like a mix of CGI and motion capture/suit. The whole production feels high quality but there’s just something that feels lacking. A spark. It feels like its rushing to get to the end so that there can be a foundation of which to jump off of. Like “look at how massive and well established this world is. We have so many characters we would like to explore, while also having our cores be well told.” There is much here to dig into, and to delve into philosophical ideas. Such as women are the ones who hold true power because men become blinded mad by it.
The cast does a great job, especially Rosamund Pike as the cold and calculating Moiraine. I have no idea who the rest of them are, they feel like relative newcomers especially the four possible dragon reborn, but I do enjoy their performances. Rand is a thick headed stubborn fool, but loyal. Mat is a roguish thief that would do anything to make sure his sisters are okay, Perrin is a gentle giant with a hidden bloodlust that he fears as its already cost him once, and Egwene is a natural healer, and kindhearted girl. We also have Lan, a warder of Moiraine, which I’m not quite sure what it is – possibly some sort of personal lifelong bodyguard. They start their quest off together but because we need to create methods to explore our main 4, and to give them hardships, we break off early on and explore different paths trying to get to the same outcome.
I really enjoyed the sweeping cinematography, the mountains, the hills, the vast forests. The rivers, and the trees. The budget really went all out, filming in location. I really appreciated it all because it allowed me to be immersed into this world. The score adds nice touches here and there, help accentuate moments of fear or the tension of being chased.
Overall, I really like it so far and I am excited for the next however long it takes to get all the episodes out. I’m sure the journey will be enjoyable and worth it.
Edit: After having watched the rest of the show, I say that it is quite worth the effort. I enjoyed the direction the story went with, the effects shown, and the strength of the acting, both in emotions and physicality. The start of episode 7 featured an incredible stunt sequence of a pregnant warrior fighting off multiple opponents. It was raw, visceral, and very well done.
Each episode past the initial three added more exposition, intrigue and mystery to the story while interjecting morality and lessons on power. I liked the amyrlin seat, and the order of power in the White Tower for the all female mages. The relationships between them, while also being careful as not to spill too many secrets because everyone there is vying for power.
The finale was enjoyable as it ended this journey of five, and split them up into their own stories, and their own paths. Matt goes one way, Rand another. Egwene, Nynaeve and Perrin left at the city at the end. And Moiraine with Lan having to figure their own thing. We got some answers as to what the Dark One wants, and the true nature of the Dragon Reborn, but not enough. I do wish Amazon gave them more episodes to flesh it out some more, but given what we got, it is a fun ride. Also that last scene, wow, scary, and I’m curious how it’ll fit into the plot moving fowards.
I recommend this show!