Television Review: Willow Season 1

I’m a fan of the original Willow. Is it the best fantasy movie out there? No. But for its time, it did a great job of actually being a good fantasy movie, and those were hard to find. So when I heard Disney was making a sequel to the movie as a television series, I was pretty excited. More so when I heard Warwick Davis would be involved. The preview looked great.

And then I started hearing very mixed reviews. Not enough to turn me away from watching it, but it took me a bit to get around to it. Sadly, the series ultimately ended up being a disappointment for a number of reasons.

First, a bit of a summary. The show takes place around 20 years after the movie. Evil begins to threaten the world again, and the baby from the movie (Elora Danan) is supposed to somehow save the world. The only trouble? No one’s really sure who she is anymore, since she was put into hiding. Willow is now a great sorcerer, and he shows up to find her and help her save everyone. Sounds like a solid premise, right?

Things go off the rails right away because the show just can’t decide what kind of show it wants to be when it grows up. On the one hand, a lot of time, attention, and effort is put in to building a lived in fantasy universe. One with real weight. A quest that’s Important. But then the show also seems to want to be a lighthearted comedy with modern day banter and sensibilities. It’s a dichotomy that goes through the whole show, and it only gets worse as the show goes on. The characters don’t feel consistent. The mood feels all over the place. Even the soundtrack can’t make up its mind, going from stirring orchestral music to . . . cover versions of Black Hole Sun?

Those aren’t the only difficulties. The characters themselves are extremely grating. There’s really only one character worth watching (Boorman). The rest are different shades of annoying. Willow goes from being a wizard reluctant to use any of his powers because the cost is just too great (going so far as to let someone die before he’ll do anything) to a wizard who just zaps things left and right to look cool by the end of the show. There are romances that feel extremely forced, and a plot you can see coming from a mile away.

In the end, there just isn’t much for me to recommend the movie. Boorman is a very good character and a lot of fun. The effects are strong. The covers of modern music are cool. But that’s not a reason to watch a show. I’ll pass, thanks very much. 4/10


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