Legend of the Seeker

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Legend of the Seeker
Legend of the Seeker Logo.png
Legend of the Seeker (logo)
Also known asWizard's First Rule
GenreAdventure
Sword and sorcery
Fantasy
Supernatural,
Romance
Created bySam Raimi
Terry Goodkind (novels)
StarringCraig Horner
Bridget Regan
Bruce Spence
Craig Parker
Tabrett Bethell
Theme music composerJoseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes44 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Joshua Donen
Ned Nalle
Kenneth Biller
Location(s)New Zealand
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)ABC Studios
Paperboy Productions
Renaissance Pictures
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Picture formatHDTV
Original runNovember 1, 2008 (2008-11-01)  – May 22, 2010 (2010-05-22)
External links
Website
 
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Legend of the Seeker
Legend of the Seeker Logo.png
Legend of the Seeker (logo)
Also known asWizard's First Rule
GenreAdventure
Sword and sorcery
Fantasy
Supernatural,
Romance
Created bySam Raimi
Terry Goodkind (novels)
StarringCraig Horner
Bridget Regan
Bruce Spence
Craig Parker
Tabrett Bethell
Theme music composerJoseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes44 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Joshua Donen
Ned Nalle
Kenneth Biller
Location(s)New Zealand
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)ABC Studios
Paperboy Productions
Renaissance Pictures
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Picture formatHDTV
Original runNovember 1, 2008 (2008-11-01)  – May 22, 2010 (2010-05-22)
External links
Website

Legend of the Seeker is a television series based on novels in the series titled The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. Distributed in U.S. by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, ABC Studios produced the series, which was its first foray into broadcast syndication, with Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen, Ned Nalle, and Kenneth Biller serving as executive producers. The show premiered on November 1, 2008 and ran for two seasons before its cancellation in 2010.

The series follows the journeys of a long awaited "Seeker of Truth" named Richard Cypher (Craig Horner), a Confessor named Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan), a wizard named Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander (Bruce Spence), and a warrior named Cara (Tabrett Bethell) as they defend the people of their realm against tyranny and destruction. The story depicted in the television series substantially differs from that as portrayed in the written series.

Plot[edit]

The story takes place in the world author Terry Goodkind created in his The Sword of Truth fantasy novel series. The three main provinces are Westland, the Midlands and D'Hara. Westland is separated from the Midlands by a magical boundary, which was created to prevent any magic from entering Westland. On the other side of the Midlands is D'Hara, which is ruled by Darken Rahl. Seekers are accompanied by a Wizard of The First Order and Confessors, an ancient order of women, who oversee the welfare of the people of the Midlands and the Seeker.

The first season is loosely based on the first book of The Sword of Truth series Wizard's First Rule. Some of the stories feature events and characters not encountered in the books, while others loosely adapt events from the book. The story begins after the invasion of Darken Rahl's army into the Midlands. Kahlan Amnell, a Confessor, ventures into Westland in search of a wizard and the Seeker, who has been prophesied to defeat Rahl. Kahlan finds the wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, and the Seeker, a young man named Richard Cypher, who is forced to accept a destiny he never knew about. Together, they set off on a quest to seek out and defeat Darken Rahl. The second season is loosely based on Stone of Tears, the second book in Goodkind's series. It tells the story of how Richard, Kahlan, and Zeddicus discover that their quest during the first season caused them to unintentionally help the Keeper of the Underworld create tears in the veil which separates the land of the dead from the world of the living. Their new quest is to find the Stone of Tears, seal the rifts between the worlds, and defeat the Keeper. They are joined in this quest by Cara, a Mord-Sith and their former enemy.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Recurring characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

The series premiered on November 1, 2008 in the United States and was broadcast weekly on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the local television station. It is based on the novel Wizard's First Rule. In addition to the 22 episodes of the first season, the series was renewed by Disney for a second season.[1] All aired episodes from the first season are free online at Hulu.

Filming of the second season started in July 2009; it was based on the sequel to Wizard's First Rule, Stone of Tears. The first episode aired on November 7, 2009. The season consisted of 22 episodes. Streamable episodes appeared on the show's official website, HuluPlus, and Netflix.[2] They are currently available on Netflix and HuluPlus for active members (monthly subscription required).

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Sam Raimi became interested in adapting The Sword of Truth novels after his business partner Joshua Donen encouraged him to read the books,[3] and he in turn gave the books to Robert Tapert to read.[4] Raimi considered adapting the first book into a movie or a five-part miniseries, but later settled on making a weekly television series after speaking to the books' author Terry Goodkind.[3] A weekly television program would allow them to include most of the stories and important aspects of the series. Goodkind had resisted selling the rights of his books on multiple occasions before he met Raimi because he was not confident that other producers would maintain the integrity of his stories and characters.[5] Raimi, who had produced Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess with Tapert and Ned Nalle, saw this as an opportunity to return to the first-run syndicated television business. However, the syndicated television business had diminished after the loss of crucial foreign markets[6] and a gradual conversion of independent stations to UPN and WB programming that left little room for other syndicated dramas.

ABC Studios agreed to fund the project, making it its first venture into broadcast syndication, and greenlit the production for 22 episodes, after it was cleared for broadcast to stations representing 84% of the United States, with Tribune Company being the primary launch group.[7] The show, which is heavily action-oriented and requires visual effects, was given a "network-sized" production budget of US$1.5 million per episode.[6][8]

Originally named Wizard's First Rule (after the first book in The Sword of Truth series), the show was retitled to Legend of the Seeker at Goodkind's suggestion since the producers wanted to differentiate the show from the books, it would have been too restrictive for them to only include plotlines from the first book, and because this would allow them the opportunity to cover the story within all the books in the series.[5]

Writing[edit]

Executive producers Raimi and Tapert intended Legend of the Seeker to be "just about telling the stories of these characters and the sacrifices they make for each other. Sometimes it's about the meaning of real friendship. And always, it's the stories of the hero's journey."[9] Tapert added, "We didn't want to have the '90s postmodern attitude where the audience is in on the joke. Seeker is much more serious than Hercules and Xena."[10]

With show's production based in New Zealand and a writing staff based in Los Angeles, one of the biggest challenges has been dealing with the time differences and the communication issues.[11] Kenneth Biller noted that the biggest challenges the writing staff faced were to create standalone episodes while integrating the storylines and mythology created by Terry Goodkind, and to "honor the books without literally translating them".[11] As such, the series contains some stories from the books and new stories and events created by the series' writers. Raimi's reason for the changes is that the structure of a novel differs from a weekly one-hour television program.[12] Tapert and Raimi maintain that while the writers have had to create events that are not portrayed in the books, they have remained faithful to the characters, themes and overarching story of the books:

...I think the most important thing, at least for me, is that we remain true to the heart and soul of the characters, what they represent, what they stand for, the good things that they're fighting for, what are their weaknesses and how to overcome them, what the villain represents to the hero, the love story. Those will all be intact and brought as close as possible by our writers to the screen. The actual plot of it, though, happens in a slightly different order and sometimes different stories will be told, as depicted in the series of novels.

Goodkind released a message to his readers on his official website prior to the show's production, saying: "No series (or mini-series, or feature film) can follow the underlying book exactly. Sam Raimi and his team want to keep the TV series true to my vision, so rest assured that I am going to be intimately involved in the writing of each of the episodes." He added, "If you love the book just the way it is, then enjoy the book for what it is and come to the TV series prepared to enjoy the show for what it is."[13] However, after production started, Goodkind released another press statement in response to questions posed to him by fans: "I want you all to understand that ABC studios chose not to consult me on actors, scripts, or any other aspect of the show," he stated. "I have had no input whatsoever on the TV series, so I am the wrong person to write to or complain about the show. If you wish to make comments, positive or negative, please direct them to Disney/ABC." He continued, "For my part, I trust in Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert to at some point be able to exert their immense creative talent and do a great job at bringing to life the characters we all love."

Casting[edit]

When casting the role of Richard Cypher, Tapert recalled that when he saw Craig Horner's audition tape, he "absolutely thought he was the guy, instantly".[12] Raimi thought that although Horner is older than the character he plays (even though he actually is not), he was "very believable" and that "he's got enough good qualities in him, in real life, and he will probably make the audience believe that he's taking that ride towards making a responsible person and that growth of character that's so important for me in the stories of Terry Goodkind."[12] Horner had not heard of the books prior to the audition, and was convinced by a friend to read the books and try out for the role.[14]

For the role of Kahlan Amnell, Raimi credits Tapert for finding Bridget Regan, whom he saw on one of the audition tapes they received. Raimi thought that she grounded the fantastical situations by being "very human and real", and recalled, "I was moved by her and I believed her and I thought we couldn't ask for anything more."[12] Like Horner, Regan had not read the books prior to the audition.[15] Horner and Regan were brought together for a "chemistry reading" in Los Angeles, upon which the producers concurred that they had found their two lead actors.[12]

Filming[edit]

Production was set to begin in May 2008, but it was delayed by six weeks.[7][16] The series was shot entirely in New Zealand in high-definition. Though based in Auckland, filming took place in various places in and outside of the city: at Henderson Valley Studios,[17] in the city's outskirts and in the mountainous region around Queenstown.[16]

Cancellation[edit]

Tribune, the major distributor of the series, decided not to renew the series on March 4, 2010, but according to a statement from ABC Studios,[18] this was not a deciding factor of its cancellation. After an apparent deal with Syfy fell through,[19] on April 26 Ausiello Files reported that Legend of the Seeker had been cancelled and would not return for a third season.[20] Fans of the series responded by launching an ongoing renewal campaign titled "Save Our Seeker".[21][22][23] Terry Goodkind has expressed his support for the campaign.[24][25][26]

Response[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Legend of the Seeker premiered on the weekend of November 1–2, 2008 in the United States and attracted more than 4.1 million viewers over the two days.[27] The first two episodes obtained an average of 1.5/3 Nielsen rating among 54 metered markets with a 1.4/3 rating on Saturday and a 1.7/3 rating on Sunday. In addition to improving its broadcast time periods in several top markets, Legend also improved the audience numbers in the key 18 to 49 year old demographic in all airings.[28] Over its first month of airing, the show averaged more than 3.6 million viewers.[29] It was renewed for a second season after obtaining a 2.0 household rating average for its first ten episodes.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The series premiere, which consisted of the first two episodes, received generally mixed reviews from critics, earning a 53 out of 100 average rating as calculated by Metacritic.[30] It was criticized for not being as "fun" as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess (also produced by Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi),[31] and not having enough excitement.[32] Another complaint about the show was its lack of distinguishing features and that it was "too derivative of other works" like Star Wars and The Matrix, with the "300-style" slow-motion action sequences often cited as an example.[31][33][34] Brian Lowry from Variety called the show "a hodgepodge of better sci-fi/fantasy fare",[33] while Ray Richmond from The Hollywood Reporter described it as "[b]ig on style but more challenged in terms of substance" with "too little provocative/evocative interaction aside from the ultra-violent kind".[35]

Legend of the Seeker was praised for its high production value and the use of New Zealand exteriors,[33][34][35][36] with Robert Lloyd from Los Angeles Times commenting that the show is basically "good-looking fun".[37] Although both Lloyd and Diane Steenbergen from IGN commended the performances of the lead actors Craig Horner and Bridget Regan, they were not pleased with the supporting performances.[33][34][37] Steenbergen thought that the series' third episode was "far more entertaining than the previous two that were weighed down with too much exposition."[38]

Awards[edit]

In 2009, the series won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series. In 2010, the series was nominated for an Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music Emmy. In 2011, Costume Designer Jane Holland, Cinematographer Kevin Riley, and Sound Designer Chris Burt all won awards at the Aotearoa Film & Television Awards for their outstanding work on Legend of the Seeker.

International broadcasts[edit]

In addition to the United States, broadcast rights for Legend of the Seeker have been picked up in more than 60 international markets.[39] In Spain, the show began airing on Telecinco on March 15, 2009. In New Zealand, it premiered on March 29, 2009 on Prime and airs weekly in the Monday 7:30 pm timeslot. In the UK & Ireland, Syfy picked up the rights for Season 1 and Season 2 with the air time slot of 8:00pm starting on August 13, 2009. Irish broadcaster RTÉ One aired the show on August 19. In French Canada, the first season aired in 2009 and the second season in 2010 on Ztélé under the French title L'Épée de vérité.

In South Africa, the show was picked up by pay TV operator M-Net, broadcasting on Saturday nights since July 2009. In Germany, it premiered on October 11, 2009 on ProSieben and airs Sundays around 5:00pm. In Singapore, it premiered October 15, airing on Thursdays at 2030hrs. In Poland, it premiered September 4, 2009 on TVP1 and airs on Fridays around 10:00pm. In Australia, it premiered on Fox8 on November 29. In Italy, the show premiered on Sky Uno on December 8, 2009. In Sweden, the series premiered on TV6 5 February at 20.00 local time.[40] In Ukraine, the series aired on 1+1 channel November 14 at 12.30 local time.[41] In Norway, the first episode aired 28 December 2009 on Tv2 Zebra Sundays at 20.00 (Norwegian time). In Philippines, it is also aired in Studio 23. In Sri Lanka, the show is telecasted by ITN. In Sri Lanka, the show is telecasted by ITN. It started telecasting it from August 2013. It was shown in every Saturday and Sunday from 6.00 to 7.00pm. It was dubbed to Sinhala and renamed as "සත්‍ය ගවේෂක" (Sathya Gaveshaka). Now it is a well-known teledrama in Sri Lanka.

DVD releases[edit]

DVD NameRelease datesEp #Additional Information
Region 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete First SeasonOctober 13, 2009TBAJanuary 5, 2011[42]22The five disc box set includes all 22 episodes. Extras include "Forging the Sword: Crafting a Legend", "Words of Truth: A Conversation with Terry Goodkind", deleted scenes, and audio commentaries. Running Time: 950 minutes.[43]
The Complete Second and Final SeasonSeptember 28, 2010TBAJanuary 25, 2012[44]22The five disc box set includes all 22 episodes. Extras include extended scenes, "Under the Underworld", and "Redemption of a Mord'Sith: Meet Cara". Running Time: 946 minutes.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (2009-01-26). "'Seeker' gets second look". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  2. ^ "Legend of the Seeker". Legend of the Seeker. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b Spelling, Ian (2008-11-03). "Sam Rami and crew bring Terry Goodkind's best-selling series to TV with Legend of the Seeker". SciFi.com. Retrieved 2008-11-07. [dead link]
  4. ^ O'Leary, Clare (2009-01-28). "Rob Tapert on Xena and more". nzonscreen.com. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  5. ^ a b Fickett, Travis (2008-07-24). "SDCC 08: Wizard's First Rule First Look". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  6. ^ a b Thielman, Sam (2008-08-01). "Sam Raimi banks on Disney's 'Seeker'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  7. ^ a b Thielman, Sam (2008-03-16). "Raimi's 'First Rule' gets greenlight". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  8. ^ Barnes, Brook (2008-10-26). "Swords and Sorcery Return to Syndication". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  9. ^ Burke, Bill (2008-11-01). "Legendary director Raimi ‘Seeker’ of truth". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  10. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (October 30, 2008). "'Seeker' looks to revive a dormant genre". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Eramo, Steven (2008-10-03). "Popular Fantasy Books Inspire Sam Raimi's New TV 'Legend'". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Gallagher, Brian (2008-10-28). "Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert Delve Back Into Fantasy with Legend of the Seeker". MovieWeb.com. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  13. ^ Goodkind, Terry (2008-02-21). "A Message From Terry". Terry Goodkind's official website. Retrieved 2009-02-22. [dead link]
  14. ^ Cairns, Bryan (2008-11-05). "Australian Actor Seeks to Create American TV 'Legend'". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  15. ^ Fowler, Matt (2008-10-31). "Legend of the Seeker Star Bridget Regan Confesses". IGN. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  16. ^ a b Moore, Frazier (2008-11-11). "'Seeker': A girl, a guy, a wizard and a quest". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  17. ^ Chai, Paul (2008-10-30). "New Zealand". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  18. ^ "Hell to the Yes: Legend of the Seeker Ain't Dead Yet!". E! Online. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  19. ^ "TV Show News | Craig Horner Discusses the End of Legend of the Seeker". PopStar. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  20. ^ Ausiello, Michael; Patrick, Andy. Exclusive: 'Legend of the Seeker' canceled, The Ausiello Files, April 26, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2010.
  21. ^ "SaveOurSeeker.com". SaveOurSeeker.com. 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  22. ^ Spelling, Ian. How You Can Help Save Legend of the Seeker for a Third Season, TV Star, April 28, 2010. Accessed June 23, 2010.
  23. ^ "LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Fans to Buy a "Thank You/Please Reconsider" Ad in a Trade Publication". TheTorchOnline.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  24. ^ "The Official Author Website". Terry Goodkind. Retrieved 2011-04-02. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Terry Goodkind offers full support to SAVE OUR SEEKER campaign". Sword-Of-Truth.com. 2010-05-08. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  26. ^ "Terry Goodkind Offering Full Support". Forums.legendoftheseeker.org. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  27. ^ Albiniak, Paige (2008-11-18). "Syndication Ratings: 'Legend Of The Seeker' Performing Well". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  28. ^ Albiniak, Paige (2008-11-04). "'Legend of the Seeker' Premiere Draws Viewers". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  29. ^ Albiniak, Paige (2008-12-11). "'Deal', 'Doctors', 'Bonnie' Grow Throughout Sweeps". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  30. ^ "Legend of the Seeker - Season 1 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  31. ^ a b Porter, Rick (2008-10-31). "'Legend of the Seeker' review". Zap2it.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  32. ^ Gay, Verne (2008-10-30). "'Legend of the Seeker': Hot babe, shirtless hunk, sword fights... are you in?". Newsday. Retrieved 2008-11-18. [dead link]
  33. ^ a b c d Lowry, Brian (2008-10-28). "'Legend of the Seeker'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  34. ^ a b c Steenbergen, Diana (2008-11-03). "Legend of the Seeker: "Prophecy/Destiny" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  35. ^ a b Richmond, Ray (2008-10-29). "Bottom Line: A sumptuous feast for the eyes, a Happy Meal for the ears". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-18. [dead link]
  36. ^ Stasi, Linda (2008-10-31). "Fantasy Land". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  37. ^ a b Lloyd, Robert (2008-10-31). "'Legend of the Seeker'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  38. ^ Steenbergen, Diana (2008-11-10). "Legend of the Seeker: "Bounty" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  39. ^ Hunkin, Joanna (2009-03-26). "'Legend of the Seeker' - a return to fantasy land". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  40. ^ [1][dead link]
  41. ^ ""Шлях чарівника" - премьера на канале "1+1" » СМИ - Новости Днепропетровска". Smi.dp.ua. 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  42. ^ "Buy Legend of the Seeker - The Complete 1st Season (6 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  43. ^ "Legend of the Seeker - The Complete 1st Season DVD Information". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  44. ^ "Buy Legend of the Seeker - The Complete 2nd Season @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  45. ^ "Legend of the Seeker - The Complete 2nd Season DVD Information". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 

External links[edit]