Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time. Or, actually, in this case, don't. A bit of backstory before we get into this review: A company called Red Eagle Entertainment (REE) owned the rights to the film properties of the Wheel of Time, and the rights were set to expire on February 11, 2015. So, instead of letting them expire, REE decided to create a pilot for a Wheel of Time series, and released it on February 8, 2015, late at night at 1:30 AM EST, on the channel FXX. So, let us see if the Dragon should be allowed to ride again, or if the Dark One should just knock him off the Wheel. This is the pilot of The Wheel of Time.
Winter Dragon is an adaptation of the prologue of The Eye of the World, the first book in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, and follows Lews Therin Telamon as he comes home from a war he has fought for so long, only to find his family seemingly in hiding and a dark force as a surprise visitor.
Let me start off by saying, I have no idea why this is called Winter Dragon. Perhaps the creators thought it sounded cool? I have no clue. The only positives I can really think of is that Billy Zane works as Ishamael, a servant of the Dark One, and I did enjoy how faithful it was to the original prologue (until the ending, at least, but we'll get to that).
Now, let's get to why this is so bad. First off, this "TV pilot" is only about 16-17 minutes when you cut out the opening credits and end credits, so it's not even supposed to fill up the time slot it should, and if you cut out some of the aimless wandering and such, it would probably be even shorter. Max Ryan as Lews Therin wasn't that great, to be honest. Sure, he looked like he cared... somewhat, but he sure as hell didn't sound like it.
The way the prologue is done is so you basically get a bunch of conversation between Ishamael and Lews Therin, and you never see parts of what made the prologue important. In the novel, Lews Therin channels the One Power after it has been taken over by the Dark One, and it consumes him to the point where he kills his family. Ishamael makes him remember, and he gets so upset he travels halfway across the world, where he finally dies and erects the mountain entitled Dragonmount.
That is not what happens in this pilot.
Lews Therin is never really seen doing anything involving the One Power, though it is mentioned frequently. Instead of becoming so overcome that he creates Dragonmount, he instead walks up a staircase with a dagger and we're supposed to assume that he killed himself that way. That's a real crappy way to go, creators.
I do understand that TV shows are hard to create effects-wise, but at least do better than something I could create in a editing software in 5 minutes! You would think that these people would have put more effort into creating a somewhat accurate adaptation that was somewhat decent, at least. Other things to note is that the cinematography looks very weird, and it doesn't seem right to me. The music is obviously free, and I could probably find it if I tried. The writing copies exactly what is said from the book, which wouldn't be a problem if they had tried to make the prologue shorter, because it didn't need 17 minutes to tell it's tale.
Oh, and one more thing. In the Wheel of Time, you shouldn't say the Dark One's name aloud or else the Dark One will come and basically mess everything up. So, what does Ishamael do? Why, speak it's name, of course!
Guys, this TV pilot is really bad. There's not even that much to say, that's how little there is here in terms of story. Aside from some decent acting from Billy Zane, and being somewhat accurate to the prologue, it's avoidable at all cost. Please, don't watch it, unless you want to waste your time.
1/10. Grade: F+