Writing: 🌈 🌈 🌈
Mediocre dialog. The show falls into the trap of trying to sound relevant by using modern day slang and speech patterns. While I don’t think everyone in a fantasy show needs to speak in British accents, having characters say things like, “You’re gonna have to suck it up” or “I’m using my mind to remove that stick from your butt” breaks the immersion in the fictive dream, and makes me less likely to believe it when you say things like, “The shadow lengthens. Only by her light can we find our way in the darkness.” Not intrinsically terrible, just uneven.
As for the plot, it was mostly fine, with a YA fantasy flavor which is a refreshing change from grittier shows like The Witcher or the intense multi-layered politics of Game of Thrones. There was nothing particular surprising about it, but does it need to be shocking to be entertaining?
Probably the weakest thing, writing-wise, was how annoying they made the main character Kit Tanthalos. Her put-upon angst seemed like a heavy handed effort to set up her up for dramatic character growth in the final episodes. What good is a quest if you don’t learn something about yourself on the way, am I right? They did far better by the character Graydon, whose growth from nebbish prince to self-sacrificing sorcerer is one of my favorite aspects of the show.
Magic 🌈 🌈 🌈
The magic used in the series is pretty unimpressive, revolving mostly around shooting bolts of power from wands, flutes or empty hands. Pretty boring, really. In the original series, magic was used as a transformative power, which was nice because it shows there are other ways to use power besides fighting. The final confrontation in the series might as well be a gun battle.
I gave an extra rainbow for the production design, which was pretty great — especially the Shattered Sea, which very much created the sense of being in another world. The other locations and sets did a great job of creating a magical world.
Overall, not the best fantasy I’ve seen all year, but definitely watchable, and something you can watch with older kids without worrying about content warnings. I’ll be disappointed but not hugely surprised if it doesn’t get reviewed.