With Amazon’s live bastardization of JRR Tolkien’s seminal fantasy works underperforming by virtually every measure, a new rumor suggests the company will “recover” The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for its second season – starting with the sidelining of its current showrunners, JD Payne and Patrick McKay.
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Word of this apparent shake-up was first suggested by noted film critic, industry insider, and Film threat founder Chris Gore during an appearance on the 314th episode of the YouTube live show Midnight’s Edge in the Morning.
Discussing the series’ first season finale with that day’s panel, Gore was eventually asked by host Andre Einherjar, “What have you heard from your peers in the industry, are all so impressed with The rings of power like the showrunners suggest we should be?”, to which the critic admitted back, “Uh, no.”
In fact, Gore said, not only were his contacts in the industry unimpressed with season one, but the reception to it was so generally awful that Amazon decided to cancel season two.
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“I heard from somebody who has a connection at Amazon that — if you want to know — they’re going to effectively rework,” he explained. “And [Payne and McKay] is more than likely … they’re not going to be fired publicly, but their role will be reduced.”
“Possibly just staying in the writers’ room,” he added, “but I understandthat they are looking for more experienced showrunners.”
To this end, Gore outlined that Amazon is “well aware of the problems” before noting that while “there’s what they say publicly,” there’s also “what they actually do behind the scenes.”
“And what they’re doing behind the scenes,” he then claimed, “is they’re freaking out that it was more of a failure than expected.”
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Gore speculated that there were three main reasons for this change as to what caused the company’s higher-ups to seemingly sit up and ride.
“I think the quality of the show is the number one thing,” he first opined. “[Audiences are] like ‘Why am I still watching this? It induces sleep.’”
“The second thing is the total rejection of fans,” he suggested next. “I can’t believe it… there must be very few people left who still like it.”
“And thirdly, the direct competition of House of the Dragon,” he concluded. “Even like pre-seed and post-seed [of the show’s airing]it started earlier and ends later [thus keeping it in viewers’ consciousness for a longer period of time]”.
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While it may be years before Gore’s speculation is directly confirmed or denied, the damningly low ratings the series is currently holding on aggregate review sites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes make it clear that something needs to be done if Amazon hopes to return their $1 billion to justify The Lord of the Rings investment.
As with writing, The rings of power currently has a combined 2.5/10 rating over 2422 on the former outlet:
While on the latter, 35548 fans left the series with a scrappy 39% “Rotten” average.
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Clearly, even without delving into the massive waves of discourse surrounding the veneration of Tolkien’s work or the cast and crew who offended the author’s fans, the series failed to resonate with viewers.
And while some may feel justified in pointing to its respective 71/100 and 85% fresh ratings from critics, those numbers are probably suspect thanks to Amazon Studio boss Jennifer Selke’s own admission that they censored reviews from critics who “viewed had that we will not support”, suggesting a distinct slant in the sentiments communicated by the reviews actually published.
Furthermore, that Amazon tried to tilt the public perception of the series in their favor, the fact that The rings of power still has such a terminally low audience count, speaks volumes for how few audiences actually enjoyed this slick ride.
The entire, embarrassing first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streaming now on Prime Video.
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