We live in a world of an overflow of content, whether it’s television, movies, or books. Sometimes it’s a bit much, with some great work being lost in the shuffle. Other times there are massive undertakings that seem almost too ambitious. This is how I initially felt when I heard Amazon was going to give us a live action series that followed the late Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. This isn’t how I feel anymore. Seriously.
I must admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the books leading up to the series, but decided to start them before watching it on screen. As someone that has been a fan of fantasy for so many years, the books were incredibly well written and there didn’t seem to be a dip in quality when Jordan passed and Brandon Sanderson took over. After having the opportunity to catch the first three episodes, I think it’s safe to say I am a fan. It’s hard to really quantify the story in so many words, but I’ll try. The Wheel of Time is set in a world where the Aes Sedai (a sisterhood of magic users) are looking for the The Dragon Reborn, leading them to the village of Two Rivers. Their leader is the enigmatic Moraine (played by the always smoldering Rosamund Pike). There they counter our protagonists who consist of Rand (Josha Stradowski), Perrin (Marcus Rutherford), Mat (Barney Harris), and Egwene (Madeleine Madden). One of these four can be our Dragon Reborn. This is where chaos ensues. We learn about the One Power, the Dark One, and of course The Trollocs (Ogre types that remind me of some other Ogres).
As I am sure many reviews have pointed out, if this is your first encounter with the source material you would lump it in with the Witcher and the omniscient Lord of the Rings. But, this is different and much more. The richness of the story is something that Jordan did well (other issues with his characters aside), and it was refreshing to see the diversity in this case. I know it has been the focus of much conversation leading up to the show, but I loved it and it felt natural. I felt if anything it added a lot to the story, especially one that deals in high fantasy. The show is also gorgeous, ranking up there with some of the most beautiful set design I have seen in a while. Amazon Studios has committed a lot to their shows, and it is seen in pieces like this and The Expanse. The pacing was a bit off in the first episode, but it slowly found its footing, leading to a great branching off in later episodes.
If you’re a casual fan looking to scratch that itch from Game Thrones (until Season 5), and a palette cleanser for the later seasons, this is for you. If you are a fan of the series and are looking for a thought out interpretation of the series, this is for you too. If you are just looking for something to watch that is on Prime, yep this is for you too.
The first three episodes of The Wheel of Time are now streaming on Amazon Prime. New episodes release on Fridays.