Willow the TV Series is a gosh darn treasure! It is an epic sword and sorcery fantasy series that takes place after the events from the exciting 1988 movie of the same title (a movie that entranced me so much as a child I named my cat Kaiya!).
The Past: There is a prophecy that foretells of a child, who would be born with a distinctive mark, that will bring an end to the tyrannous reign of the evil Queen Bavmorda. 20 years ago, this child was born and a naïve Nelwyn and wannabe sorcerer, Willow Ufgood, set out on a journey to protect Elora Danan and help bring about the downfall of the wicked sorceress. With the help of a roguish but brave Daikini, Mad Martigan, and the queen’s daughter Sorsha, they succeeded in thwarting Bavmorda’s nefarious plan.
The Present: Sorsha is now the queen of Tir Asleen and Madmartigan is missing in action. The use of magic has been banned and the kingdom has been sealed by a magic barrier in hopes of keeping evil out. The illustrious Elora Danan is nowhere to be found having been hidden from everyone (including herself) after Willow’s premonition that she would bring about the destruction of the world. The princess, Kit, is soon to be married to Prince Graydon of Galladoorn though neither of them are super happy about this arrangement. Kit is especially grumpy for though she hasn’t admitted it yet, she is actually in love with Jade, a palace guard and close friend. At the formal announcement of the impending wedding, the palace is attacked by monsters and Kit’s twin brother Airk (an unambitious and somewhat reformed philanderer who has fallen for a palace cook) is kidnapped by servants of the ancient and evil Wyrm.
And thus Kit, Jade, and Prince Graydon along with Thraxas Boorman, Madmartigan’s old squire, embark on a quest to seek out the brave Nelwyn sorcerer Willow, and with his help, save the dashing prince from the clutches of evil. Unbeknownst to them, the cook also heads out on her own rescue mission, unable to bear the thought of her true love being in danger.
The journey to the Immemorial City is perilous and navigating between the group’s differing suspicious intentions and subterfuge is only the beginning of the challenges Kit will face on the journey to save her brother. Will the group be able to pull together to save Airk, defeat the Crone and thwart the Wyrm’s plan to destroy their world?
The Technical Side
The scenery throughout the season is amazing, with awe inspiring panoramas of hillsides, mountains and fields, and enormous, edge of the world waterfalls. These views are interspersed with more fantastic scenery such as epic cities comprised of stone statues, creepy haunted forests, and desolate, shallow seascapes. The scenery perfectly reflects the different moods of the story and the overall effect is visually stunning and immersive. The night scene over the Shattered Sea is breathtaking and one I won’t soon forget.
Some of the creature effects lean more towards the cute and perhaps a tad cheesy (see the mudmander that tows the crew’s boat across the Shattered Sea), while others like the Crone are masterfully done and mega creepy. I also really like visual representation of magic as colourful electric bolts, almost like lasers. It is super fun and adds a bit of sci-fi chic to the fantasy.
My Favourite Parts
I love that the series takes the charm, wit, and whimsy from the original movie, hyper intensifies it, then juxtaposes some really dark and foreboding scenes (cue the forest scene with Elora and the woodswomen). The effect kept me off balance, unsure what to expect, and never, ever bored as my emotions ricocheted erratically from one moment to the next. The characters are endearing, their interpersonal relationships are entrancing, and the cast are brilliant in their portrayals with magical chemistry.
I am also infatuated by the satirical take on the quest and the way the series flips so many conventions head over keester. There are some bizarre aspects that I find completely entertaining, such as the trolls that totally threw me for a loop in the best way, Allagash, and everything about Boorman who is odd, roguish and just incredible. The soundtrack also kicks, comprised of remakes of classics that don’t always seem to fit the moment but are always amazing.
This is not a criticism but if you are looking for a carbon copy of the movie, this is not it. While it has much of the same spirit and sense of adventure, it is definitely more YA in tone than the original film. All the more to love imho.
My friend compared this series to a really fun session of D&D, and they couldn’t be more accurate. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if you and your quirky friends embarked on an actual quest? This series pretty accurately captures it, at least it does for me anyway. I can’t wait for the next season!
Watch the Trailer
Where To Watch Willow the TV Series
Bits and Bobs
Philippa Lowthorpe, Debs Paterson, Stephen Woolfenden and Jamie Childs
Ruby Cruz … Kit Tanthalos
Ellie Bamber … Elora Danan
Tony Relolori … Graydon Hastur
Erin Kellyman … Jade Claymore
Amar Chadha-Patel … Thraxus Boorman
Warwick Davis … Willow Ufgood
Dempsey Bryk … Airk Tanthalos
Number Of Seasons: 1
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