Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sword, sorcery, and ‘The Seeker’

(Published Aug. 2, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


A sword-wielding hero inspires a rebellion against a powerful tyrant in “Legend of the Seeker,” inspired by Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” fantasy books. Like many archetypal heroes, humble Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) is unaware of his importance until he finds himself in a life-changing encounter with the despot’s henchmen. Accepting his destiny and duties as the Seeker of Truth, Richard rallies freedom-fighters to overthrow the merciless ruler Darken Rahl (Craig Parker).

The fantasy drama introduces a realm visually influenced by medieval Europe, with fictitious locales like farming villages, wild woodlands, and cities marked by castles and fortresses.

However, it’s not always a believable, tangible world because of some unconvincing effects or simplistic designs. Still, every episode soon becomes accessible when the human element is introduced; Richard and his allies meet townsfolk and other figures during their travels and get more dramatic perspectives of the strife affecting regular people.

The two-season “Legend of the Seeker” is mostly serious. Richard’s adventures get dark and violent occasionally, but it’s not entirely humorless. And while the main villain is pretty two-dimensional, the fleshed-out Seeker and his band of dedicated, sometimes-volatile rebels more than make up for it.

Richard Cypher is a generic hero—noble and selfless—but throughout the series, different sides to the character are explored. He sometimes falters and succumbs to temptations caused by magic. But his most trusted allies, the corset-wearing warrior-woman Kahlan (Bridget Regan) and the wise sorcerer Zeddicus (Bruce Spence) keep him in line.

The fight sequences are tightly choreographed and consistently awe-inspiring. Almost every episode, the small group is shown fighting together: the Seeker expertly swings his Sword of Truth, Kahlan gracefully defeats foes using a pair of daggers, and Zeddicus blasts his attackers with mighty mystic bolts.

That roster gets better with the inclusion of Cara (Tabrett Bethell), a warrior-dominatrix from the all-female Mord-Sith order, in the second season.

“Legend of the Seeker” airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Studio 23 and Fridays, 9 p.m. on Sci Fi.

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