MTV’s Shannara Chronicles (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) may be set thousands of years in the future, but to some of us old-timers, it feels like 1963 all over again.
You remember 1963. Jan and Dean’s “Surf City”? “Two girls for every boy. . . . .”?
And that’s just how it shakes down in Shannara Chronicles, right? Two girls – royal-blooded Amberle (Poppy Drayton) and scrappy street kid Eritrea (Ivana Baquero) – team up with one guy – geeky but hunky Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) – to save the world.
I know. Cool, right?
Actually, it is pretty cool, whether you remember Jan and Dean or not – and okay, for most MTV viewers, talking about 1963 is like talking about buffalo paintings on the walls of Babylonian caves.
Shannara Chronicles does, however, connect to the past, because it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world that in many ways has been hurled back into a much more primitive state.
Madmen with doomsday weapons and leaders with more ambition than wisdom destroyed pretty much everything, including technology.
So the world in which this new series opens has been reshaped into The Four Lands, which are ruled by the Elvin, who as the name suggests are elves. Other players include gnomes, dwarves and trolls, while some swaths of territory have devolved into no-man’s land, inhabited by lawless gypsies called Rovers.
Eritrea, for instance, is a Rover, with an eerie similarity to Cameron Bicondova’s young Catwoman on Fox’s Gotham.
Tenuous as all this might sound for any sort of functional governance structure, the Elvin have overseen several centuries of relative peace, apparently thanks to the power of magic.