Whenever someone mentions "syndicated tv shows," the first examples that spring to my mind are The Lost World (yay), Xena (meh), and Hercules (ick). The later two were created by Spiderman director, Sam Raimi, who has basically cornered the market on first-run broadcast syndication television.
Unfortunately, first-run syndication has kind of fallen by the wayside for the past couple years. There have not been any new dramatic first-run syndicated series since the show She Spies debuted six years ago, and I think we all know how that one ended up. You've never heard of it? My point exactly.
But things are changing! Sam Raimi has brought us a new dramatic first-run syndicated television series based on Terry Goodkind's fantasy book series, The Sword of Truth, called Legend of the Seeker. It premiered two weeks ago, but I can't tell you when or where since you have to "check local listings" to determine when it plays in your tv market.
Ah, the plight of the syndicated series fan...having to search through newspaper tv grids to find a show. Or you could use the show's website. Whichever.
I blogged briefly about Legend of the Seeker back in April, and I have been waiting eagerly for it to premiere. Three episodes (counting the two hour premiere as two episodes) have aired and so far, I've enjoyed it. Saying it exceeded my expectations might be praising it a bit too highly, since my standards for syndicated series are not that high, but it's clear they have put a lot of time and money into the show and it certainly looks good. The acting's not bad, the scenery is gorgeous (what up, New Zealand?), the people are pretty, and as a fan of the books, I don't have any major quibbles with its treatment of the story.
You say you want a brief plot summary? Fine. So there's this dude Richard.
He lives in a land called Westland, which is separated from this other place called the Midlands by a boundary that prevents the magic in the Midlands from getting to Westland. Richard is a woodsguide and a normal guy. One day, he comes across this hot chick in a white dress being attacked by a group of burly guys and he comes to her aid. Although she's pretty badass and ends up saving him.
Richard discovers that the hot chick, named Kahlan, had crossed the boundary from the Midlands, and was searching for him because he is The Seeker. The Seeker carries a magic sword, called The Sword of Truth, and is, according to prophecy, the only person who can defeat the Main Villain with a British Accent, named Darken Rahl. Richard's best friend growing up, Zedd, is actually a super powerful wizard who knew all along he was the Seeker, but wanted him to live a normal life for as long as possible. So the three of them, Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, embark on a quest to defeat Darkan Rahl and save the world.
I'm already psyched that Ted Raimi has put in his obligatory guest appearance (the creator is his brother after all), and I hold out hope that Bruce Campbell is not far behind! Every show can be better with a little more squared-jaw in it.
My only concern is that the show will have difficulty balancing its overall arc vs. plot of the week. Last week, when there was a little side adventure rather than anything epic like in the premiere, was kind of boring, and we still have 19 episodes to go. But I'm a big fan of the books, the guy playing Richard is hot, and there is the lure of a possible Bruce Campbell appearance, so I'm on board, at least for now. And if you are a fan of the whole sword and sworcery genre, I definitely recommend you check it out. Your best bet for finding it is to check your local CW affiliate on a Saturday afternoon/evening.