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DVD Review: Legend of the Seeker – The Complete First Season

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The Sword of Truth kicked off an 11-novel fantasy saga by author Terry Goodkind in 1994. Over the  years, several attempts have been made to adapt the novels for film. Those attempts were finally realized by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert. The duo are no strangers to fantasy shows as they were the driving force behind Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its highly successful spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess in the 1990s.

The first season of Legend of The Seeker loosely adapts Wizard's First Rule. As with many adaptations of books for TV or movies, certain characters or plots are changed/eliminated for many reasons. Westland, The Midlands, and D’Hara are the three regions where Seeker takes place. The Westlands are separated from the Midlands thanks to a magical boundary erected to prevent magic from entering the Westland, while in D’Hara, Darken Rahl (Craig Parker) rules the land with black magic and tyranny. Wanting more and more power, he sends his army to the midlands to expand his dominance.

Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) steals a book that contains a prophecy which tells that a person known as the Seeker will eliminate the tyranny of D’Hara and free those who have lived under oppression and tyranny due to Darken Rahl’s leadership. Kahlan is a Confessor, who are protectors of the midlands; when a Confessor touches a person they can control them by making them confess and briefly taking over their body and making them do whatever the Confessor wants.  Rahl thought the prophecy would never come to pass since he eliminated the first-born male of all houses over 20 years ago. With the book being stolen, he suddenly feels vulnerable and sets off to stop Kahlan.

Kahlan reaches the barrier and is able to cross over to the Westlands where she meets Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) and Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander (Bruce Spence) who is a wizard of the first order and responsible for training the Seeker. However she learns that Zeddicus hasn’t done his job, letting Richard live his life as a normal person since he thought the barrier would protect their lands.  Kahlan is very upset with Zed since knowing the Seeker would be the one to defeat Rahl since his whole life was supposed to be training for that day.

Richard gets some quick lessons from Zed and Kahlan, who has natural talent that is amplified by the Sword of Truth and goes off to meet his destiny with Zed and Kahlan by his side.  The series follows the trio as they travel from village to village letting people know that the Seeker is real and that Rahl’s reign will be coming to an end. The series is a fun fantasy which includes body-swapping, forbidden love between Richard and Kahlan, maps that can track a specific person, and more. The show has the classic fantasy element  of a boy becoming a man while fulfilling his destiny.

While Hercules and Xena were played very tongue-in-cheek, Seeker doesn’t have the sarcasm of those shows. However the shooting style and more are similar, so while Seeker isn’t an exact companion, it can be seen as a close cousin to those great shows. And while the show isn’t played for laughs, Bruce Spence as Zeddicus breaks the tension by his attitude alone and is a welcome member of the trio who will eventually defeat Rahl.

Legend of The Seeker has some good extras. There are four commentaries with executive producer Ken Biller, co-executive producer Stephen Tolkin, and actors Craig Parker, Bridget Regan for the two-part series premiere (which aired in the US as a movie, but as two episodes in the rest of the world) and commentaries on two other episodes with Parker and other cast members including Bruce Spence. The quartet of commentaries are lots of fun, especially the premiere where you hear stories of shooting the show, what the differences are between the book and the show, including what was added for the show, what had to be changed for plot/pacing as well as behind the scenes stories of stunts, lodging, and more. The cast and crew enjoy making this show and that comes across in these commentaries.

“Forging The Sword: Crafting a Legend” is a short behind the scenes featurette which covers how the cast was chosen, how stunts were performed, and what it took to bring this fantasy series to life.

“Words of Truth: A Conversation with Terry Goodkind” is an interview with Sword of Truth author Terry Goodkind who talks about the series of novels and how he brought the characters to life.

Rounding out the extras are eight deleted scenes which were cut for time, but are available to watch now.

The only thing missing is Legend of the Seeker: The Making of a Legend. Before the show premiered there was a half-hour special hosted by Lucy Lawless (who is quite familiar with Raimi/Tapert productions since she starred in Xena and is married to Tapert) which was a behind the scenes show with interviews with the cast and crew. It would have been a nice inclusion to the set. Maybe that will be on a future DVD release, but Legend of The Seeker is a fun fantasy show that hopefully will be on for years to come.

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