Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 4 -|Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 -|Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 -|Review Score – 2/5
Willow is a mess and it’s the perfect example of how not to write fantasy. In fact, if you interchanged the cast and characters in Willow, Rings of Power and The Witcher: Blood Origin, you’d have a hard time telling them apart. With wonky dialogue, accents and a perfunctory story at best, not to mention an awful protagonist in Princess Kit, Willow has faults rippling through every part of its production.
The story picks up 20 years after the wicked queen Bavmorda has been defeated. Madmartigan is gone but a new threat to the realm, coming in the form of a woman called The Crone, sees our characters thrown right in the deep-end. Most of this comes off the back of Prince Airk heading off to fight without protection and being captured by the Crone’s minions, who take him off to a dangerous hidden city.
Does the Queen send off a whole legion of the best fighters to bring her son back? Does she mount a massive offensive against these evil forces? Of course not! Instead, she sends a rabble of inexperienced adventurers, including her own daughter and princess to the realm, Kit, and her promised husband Graydon. They’re joined by an oaf called Boorman, a knight-in-training called Jade, a serving girl (and Airk’s lover) Elora and, eventually, the sorcerer Willow Ufgood.
This group move from point to point, getting into all sorts of trouble as the “monster of the week” format takes hold. Given the story is supposed to be one of urgency, there’s a surprising lack of it through much of the run-time. Characters regularly forget about their compatriots, and in the case of Kit, even offers to have her companions killed so she can spare herself and escape. But the biggest problem with the lack of urgency comes from the tone itself which veers into comedic waters way too often.
While I appreciate this is supposed to be a goofy family adventure, when the comedy undermines the drama (ala. modern Marvel Phase 4 standards) then you know you have a problem. It also damages some of the characters too, as a joke is forced into the screenplay just for the sake of a quick gag rather than building up nay of these guys to be memorable or likable.
Speaking of which, Princess Kit is by far the worst in this entire series. She’s obnoxious, self-entitled, horrible and incredibly selfish. At one point she throws a fit because she’s not the most important person in the room and refuses to press on with the mission. Another time she belittles her husband-to-be in the room with a rival Kingdom, belittling the man and almost causing a huge war to erupt.
While one could argue she softens slightly by the end, the redemptive arc doesn’t hold any sway here given one needs redeemable attributes to grow into – and Kit has none.
The rest of the cast are a mix of unlikable or forgettable players, with the dialogue ranging from medieval old English with the adults and modern-day California for everyone else. It completely breaks the immersion and that’s before even getting to things like illogical plot beats and pointless subplots that go nowhere.
Ultimately, Willow is a mess of a series. Sure, there will be some who enjoy this but this is the sort of series designed to be stuck on in the background while scrolling through social media and not paying much attention. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but anyone looking for a deep narrative, interesting worldbuilding and a lovable cast of characters, will be hard-pressed to find that here. This one’s a mess and on-par, if not worse, than CW quality.
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Verdict - 3.5/10
7 thoughts on “Willow Season 1 Review – How not to write a fantasy series”
I wanted to like it, just like I wanted to like Rings of Power. Some regressive people will moan about the LGBT storyline. Yes- this is obligatory in most programs now, but that’s not what’s wrong with it. Bad writing, bad acting (Warwick- we love you but come on…) We’re becoming K drama fans- at least they sometimes make a bit of an effort.
Lol this show is not going to make it at all. Which is a shame since I loved the movie but the characters in this show are very awful. The dialog is sad and the worse thing about it is they actual thought they would make people who watches it like it because of the hip language. ATTENTION WRITERS: speaking todays language in a fantasy is a no no it takes you out of the fantasy world into the real world which is the opposite of what people are trying to do!
The forced Lesbian connection is awful, and it serves no other purpose than shoving the LGBT whatever down your throat. This is (also) a tv-series for children who have to be protected from this disgusting crap. If they would leave this garbage out, it may become watchable.
3.5 is generous for this crap
Please do NOT compare Willow (the series) to Rings Of Power. How dare thee!
Willow has only captured my interest (and I continued to watch all 8 painful episodes) because of Warwick Davis. The writing is insanely irregular. The casting? Why was Elora stripped of her naturally beautiful British accent? I could continue but I’m trying to be kind.
I LOVED willow and I love the series too…people always have something to complain about…I hope a season 2 happens!
Agreed with the article on every point. The lazy, inconsistent use of modern vernacular is like nails on a chalk board.