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Buena Vista / 2009-2010 / 946 Minutes / Unrated / Street Date: September 28, 2010
Fantasy and dumb-ass narrative sensibility don't need to be mutually exclusive, which is something Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert proved nearly effortlessly with their Hercules and Xena series. Those two shows were fantasy all the way, with sword-wielding demons, civilization-dooming prophecies and ghosts and ghouls from beyond and outside the grave, but they weren't afraid of a fart joke or an excuse to get Lucy Lawless into an even tighter top than usual. What made the world of those shows so infectious (especially Xena) was that just because they were fantastical didn't mean that they were rigidly so.
Legend of the Seeker - R.I.P. - is rigid, unbending fantasy, and the show's two-season run (especially the episodes on this Complete Second Season set) unfortunately prove that Tapert and Raimi should have let their dumb-ass sensibilities come through a bit more. This series adaptation of Terry Goodkind's popular novels (The Sword of Truth) may have to follow its source material more sternly than Hercules ever had to in attempts to keep nerd-hatred from flaring up, but while it's easy to get pulled into the otherworldly wonder of this new and inventive place in every episode, Legend of the Seeker ends up not being as much fun as it should be.
Our story continues to take place in a world where a baddie tsar-esque ruler, Darken Rahl (Craig Parker) decides to extend the reaches of his bloody reign at the expense of innocent lives and territory. See, our protagonists even defeated him at the end of the first season, but he comes right back here (D'oh!) and is again a rival of epic proportions.
For fantasy-lovers, this one's probably an easy sale - this writer is far more capable of forgiving bad science fiction than he is for forgiving bad fantasy - but while I found the universe of The Legend of the Seeker immersive enough, I wanted more out of this show. Sure, there are some fun moments - Confessors have the ability to take control of another person for a period of time, which makes for some good gags - but for the most part, this Complete Second and Final Season set showcases a series that wraps up in a way that is interestingly fantastical, but not quite endearingly so.