Prague-shot ‘The Wheel of Time’ premieres on Amazon Prime

The first three episodes of the epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time, which has been shooting in the Czech Republic over the past two years, have now been released on Amazon Prime. The remaining five episodes of season one will debut weekly starting next Friday and run through the end of the year.

Forecast by some to fill the fantasy void left by Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time is based on the long-running series of fantasy novels originally created by Robert Jordan. The series began shooting in the Czech Republic in the autumn of 2019, faced nearly a year of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, and finally wrapped shooting in the spring of 2021.

A second season of The Wheel of Time has already been greenlit by Amazon, and is currently in production in Prague. Hopes for the series are high, and showrunner Rafe Judkins has stated that he plans a total of eight seasons for the series.

The Wheel of Time stars Rosamund Pike as a member of a group of all-female magic users on a quest to find the reincarnation of a powerful individual prophesied to save the world. Daniel Henney, Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Zoë Robins, Barney Harris, and Madeleine Madden also star in the series.

Pike has been living in Prague for the past two years, and even accepted her Golden Globe win for I Care a Lot from the Czech capital.

Primary production for the series has taken place in a Prague studio that was built for the series. Nicknamed Jordan Studios after the author, the Prague 9 location was converted from a former truck factory to serve as The Wheel of Time’s primary hub.

Additional filming has taken place in rural locations around the Czech Republic, with shooting taking place in Ploskovice, Jaroměř, Terezín, Dobříš, and Výsluní. Some scenes for the first season were also shot in Slovenia and Croatia.

Early reviews for the series have been decidedly mixed, but it’s worth noting that Game of Thrones faced similar criticism when it first debuted.

“Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time is a ponderous slog, a show that wants so badly to be the next Game of Thrones or even The Witcher that it telegraphs its pretentious self-seriousness with every line of dialogue and slow turn in the plot,” says The Playlist’s Brian Tallerico in a complete pan of the new series.

Collider’s Carly Lane, meanwhile, scores the series an “A” rating in a rave review.

“By the end of the six episodes that were given to critics for review, it really feels like the adventure is only just beginning — so it’s fortunate that the streaming series has already been renewed for a second season,” Lane writes.

“Like any good fantasy epic, The Wheel of Time is one that promises very impressive returns, provided audiences are willing to settle in for the long haul.”

For customers in the Czech Republic, which does not have an official Amazon presence, a subscription to Amazon Prime via another country (Germany, for instance) will allow viewing of original Amazon programming such as The Wheel of Time in the Czech Republic. Viewers using a VPN through the host country will also be able to view additional Prime Video content licensed from other distributors. Additional Prime benefits such as free shipping will not transfer to customers in the Czech Republic.

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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