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Ghost Canyon

'Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season'
(Craig Horner, Bruce Spence, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / (2008) 2009 / ABC Studios)

Overview: Explore a world of fantasy and mythology in the unforgettable epic adventure LEGEND OF THE SEEKER. There's fun to be had in the sword-and-sorcery action sequences and magical effects, says Matt Roush of TV Guide. Take a coming-of-age journey with The Seeker as he joins forces with a mysterious woman and a wise, powerful wizard to combat Darken Rahl, the demonic sorcerer intent on taking over the world. In the ultimate battle between good and evil, who will answer destiny's final call?

DVD Verdict: I've never read the books, so this is strictly commentary on the series, which is over-saturated with fantasy cliches. There's the humble adopted farm boy who turns out to be the True Heir; Princess Petulant, who can never be with the True Heir because their stations in life are so vastly different; the Wize Old Wizard, complete with knowledge of the True Heir's past and vague, Yoda-like proverbs; and of course the Dark Lord, with powerful magic and aspirations of world domination for which he never seems to have any clear motivation. You also get a Sword of Truth and a Trusty Sidekick, but the Sidekick seems to be making minimal appearances in spite of being featured in all sorts of promotional art alongside the main cast. Eragon, anyone?

Throw in plot elements from Star Wars: A New Hope, the Bible, and scenes reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, and you have a TV series-- if you can keep it. Episodes suffer from terminal overdoses of exposition and an utter lack of humor. The protagonists go from town to town, defending the innocent from tyranny as they stay one step ahead of Colonel Decker-- I mean, the Dark Lord and his Evil Henchmen. At the end, they learn valuable life lessons from the townspeople and ride off into the sunset with Bruce Banner as "The Lonely Man" piano theme plays in the background. No one ever cracks a joke or smiles, even when ex-Joxer Ted Raimi appears as a magic mapmaker willing to sell anyone his goods.

In spite of its problems, it's a watchable show. It has some good fight scenes, New Zealand is a gorgeous backdrop, and Craig Parker is luscious eye candy when they remember to give him some air time. It could be good if they threw in some one-liners and used the cliched elements in new ways to create new stories. If they keep forgetting to add a deadpan snarker and keep sticking to garden-variety sword and sorcery, this series is going to tank. As a fan of Hercules and Xena, I expected better, and maybe this will get better with a second season. Right now I need to go find some comic relief. I would suggest the writers do the same. [TT] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

• Forging the Sword: Crafting a Legend
• Words of Truth: A Conversation with Terry Goodkind
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentaries