The Wheel Of Time is a new Young Adult series that’s based on a series of books, and we’re told that in the past, men tried to cage darkness… the world is broken, seas boiled, etc. No, you’ve not put one of Channel 4 News‘ climate change reports on by mistake, it’s a new Amazon Prime series.
For the man who caused this – who they call Dragon – he’s been reborn, and this child is about to come of age, and needs to be found before the dark does… Yes, just one minute in and I’m completely Confused.Dom.
It’s probably no surprise that I’m not a reader of these novels. But then, quite frankly, I’m not a reader of any novels, and so I look to the TV series to explain things.
So, off to Wikipedia for some instruction, which tells me: “At the dawn of time, a deity known as the Creator forged the universe and the Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the One Power, which flows from the True Source. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel. Humans who can use its power are known as channelers; the principal organization of such channelers in the books is called the Aes Sedai or ‘Servants of All’ in the Old Tongue.”
Nope, I’m still not grasping this.
But before long, a man is seen running away from a load of women because “He has ‘the madness'”, and the women all have the same hair braids to feel a part of the Women’s Circle… before newbies are thrown into the river, rather like an extreme ducking stool.
So, I went from thinking: “A planet of women? Great!” to the opposite, when I realised they don’t seem to like the men, and the new women to the circle get half-drowned before they can be accepted. Somehow, I doubt I’ll be holidaying wherever this is. It’s certainly not like the Women’s Circle magazine I occasionally see in my doctor’s surgery.
But never fear, because there is another area where normality appears to reign, and the town’s residents eat and drink and dance as if it were 1399 and the time of Medieval banquets. I presume these places have names, but there’s no captions onscreen to tell me of these, so I’m none the wiser.
However, there’s a war taking place in Ghealdan, and we understand one individual from Isodye (sp?) can change the battle on their own? Meanwhile, there’s a South Asian girl who’s accepted as an apprentice because she can “listen to the wind”. It’s starting to lose me again…
The Wheel Of Time is like someone took a number of random ideas, and stuck them together in the same piece of work, even though it doesn’t make sense. It’s like how I enjoy a bar of chocolate, as well as a drink of orange juice. But I don’t want them together.
Initially, I thought it was clearly aimed at a 12-certificate market, so a man can bare his bottom, but a woman can’t do that, nor show her breasts. They must be kept *just* underwater, lest the BBFC go off their rocker and demand a 15-cert.
Well, that’s until a point where all hell breaks loose in a supernatural-style, and it’s definitely gory enough for a 15-cert, but I’m not sure whether an 18 will apply. However, it was something that allowed me to get a handle on things… although, at that time, one character seems to be doing a ‘Doctor Strange’ arm-waving-style action. Meanwhile, the music in the background sounds like Clannad warbling away.
When this stuff does actually happen, it’s a lot more interesting, but it took a fair while to get there.
At one point in the opener, a character asks, “Have you fully lost your mind?” I could ask the original novelist, Robert Jordan, the same question, although he sadly passed away in 2007.
As well as not quite following this, there were no subtitles on the preview version, and the cast do a fair bit of mumbling. Plus, I won’t give spoilers, but then I can’t spoil anything I didn’t understand in the first place, but if you enjoy the kind of series where a lot of bizarre and supernatural stuff happens that can’t be explained, but looks fancy… check this one out.
Thanks to our friends at Amazon Prime Video for the screener prior to release.
The Wheel Of Time sees three episodes released on Friday November 19th on Amazon Prime, and then the remainder of the six episodes are released weekly on a Friday. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
You can also buy the books on Amazon.
Episode 1 Score: 3/10
Series Directors: Uta Briesewitz, Wayne Yip, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Sanaa Hamri
Producers: David Brown, Rosamund Pike, Lauren Selig
Novels: Robert Jordan
Writers: Amanda Kate Shuman, Michael Clarkson, Paul Clarkson, Rafe Judkins, Justine Juel Gillmer, Dave Hill, Kameron Hood, Celine Song
Music: Lorne Balfe
Moiraine Damodred: Rosamund Pike
Lan Mondragoran: Daniel Henney
Nynaeve al’Meara: Zoë Robins
Egwene Al’Vere: Madeleine Madden
Rand al’Thor: Josha Stradowski
Perrin Aybara: Marcus Rutherford
Mat Cauthon: Barney Harris
Liandrin Guirale: Kate Fleetwood
Alanna Mosvani: Priyanka Bose
Loial: Hammed Animashaun
Logain Ablar: Álvaro Morte
Maksim: Taylor Napier
Padan Fain: Johann Myers
Kerene Nagashi: Clare Perkins
Stepin: Peter Franzén
Aram: Daryl McCormack
Ihvon: Emmanuel Imani
Raen: Narinder Samra
Ila: Maria Doyle Kennedy
Min Farshaw: Kae Alexander
Eamon Valda: Abdul Salis
Laila Dearn: Helena Westerman
Siuan Sanche: Sophie Okonedo
Marin al’Vere: Lolita Chakrabarti
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.