The first season of the Wheel of Time on Amazon was a mixed bag. There were some aspects of it that I really loved. Seeing so many of these characters brought to life at last was really satisfying, and there were some parts that were fantastic. I loved the first episode, for example, with the Trolloc attack on Two Rivers. Other aspects were bewildering, like an entire episode devoted to Lan being sad, and random sexiness thrown in for seemingly no reason. (Did we need Lan and Moiraine in a hot tub? Who came up with that idea?) And then the finale rolled around, and it was just . . . blah. They significantly changed so many things, which doesn’t usually upset me, but in this case, they did it and the changes made no sense. I’m still scratching my head over that finale, and it left me feeling very meh about season two.
However, I began to hear rumblings that the second season was a strong recovery over the first, so I finally decided to give it another shot, and I’m very glad that I did. Really, it was almost everything I was wishing the first season had been. Yes, they made changes to the plot. They kind of have to, unless they’re going to make 20 hour seasons. But they managed to hit the high points of The Great Hunt, and when they made changes, they usually made sense (and even when they didn’t, they managed to recover for the most part.) Was it perfect? No. But it was good television.
(Perhaps the highest praise I can give it is that Denisa and Daniela, both very much non-WoT series readers, wanted to keep binge watching each night, and they were both very satisfied with the finale of the second season. It was a lot of fun for me to hear them talk about how much they liked Mat as a character, for example. (In contrast to the first season, where Mat was one of the biggest issues.) They’re invested in the show now in a way they weren’t really after the first season. That’s great news for the future success of the show, assuming they can get through the actors’ strike now.
Look, if you’re a long time fan of the series, I’m not promising that you’re going to love this season beginning to end. I know there are still fans out there who hate what they’re doing to this. But if you’re willing to set aside a “The Show Must Remain Absolutely True to the Books” mentality, you could really enjoy this. It’s quite brutal in some scenes, and overly bloody in others, but it’s fun to watch, and it would be a lot of fun to talk over the changes with other fans of the show.
In the end, I gave it an 8.5/10. Any show that can make me want to lose sleep is by definition a great show, in my book. I really do think it’s worth a watch.