It seems all is not well in Middle-earth – and that was before the dark lord Sauron made his gift felt once again.
Because? Well, despite enjoying a Prime Video debut this past weekend (September 2-4), The Rings of Power, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series, is still being met with fierce resistance from die-hard fans. by JRR Tolkien. and equal viewers.
First, the good news as far as Amazon Studios is concerned: as revealed on Twitter (and via an Amazon press release), The Rings of Power’s two-episode premiere is the biggest in Prime Video history. The show drew 25 million viewers in the first 24 hours after launch, breaking all sorts of Prime Video series and movies for the streaming giant. Compare that to the fantasy rival of The Rings of Power, aka HBO Max’s House of the Dragon, which drew just under 10 million viewers on its debut, and Amazon Studios can rightly claim that it won the first battle. in the supposedly fierce streaming war between the duo.
Add that to the largely positive reviews it received on pre-release – in our spoiler-free review, we said The Rings of Power was an “expensive Lord of the Rings gamble that pays off fantastically” – and Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series it looked like it was on a winner.
Join 25 million global viewers this weekend and watch #TheRingsOfPower only on @PrimeVideo. New episodes every Friday. pic.twitter.com/QlFe74KUzmSeptember 4, 2022
These sizable view numbers and acclaimed review scores don’t tell the full story. The Rings of Power was met with criticism in a few quarters prior to release, with certain sections of Tolkien’s fanbase criticizing its diverse cast, questionable visuals, and why a Second Age Lord of the Rings TV show was necessary. .
However, Amazon’s hope that this negativity will dissipate with the release of the series has not come to pass. Well, for the most part, anyway.
According to data accumulated by BrandWatch, a social media-led consumer research firm, 60% of online discussions about the post-debut Rings of Power were mostly negative, with just under 40% of social media mentions falling into the category of positive comments.
According to BrandWatch’s research, audience members found The Rings of Power’s plot to be “slow”, “full of bad writing” and “lacking in cast”. Other viewers complained about the series’ over-reliance on CGI components, while some suggested that the show’s characters were not in keeping with similar individuals developed by Tolkien when he wrote The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and other Middle-earth characters. . literature.
As mentioned though, The Rings of Power wasn’t a terrible watch in the eyes of others. TV aficionados have commented on the fact that it hit the right stories and introduced compelling new characters, all while respecting Tolkien’s beloved source material. Meanwhile, other fans called the cinematography “breathtaking”, the acting “excellent” and the show’s multiple plotlines “full of promise and intrigue”.
Still, The Rings of Power was met with more negative reactions than positive ones. So what gives? Why was it not as well received by the general public as it was by critics?
On the one hand, those who criticize the series are likely individuals who didn’t want it in the first place. For months, some Tolkienites have vociferously attacked Amazon’s Lord of the Rings project, claiming it doesn’t fit the legendary author’s work or his vision for The Lord of the Rings as a franchise.
These comments may have subconsciously affected the opinions of more casual Lord of the Rings fans prior to release as well. In an online environment, it’s easy to have your opinion framed for you, so some viewers may have watched the first two episodes with an idea of as the they wanted to react to the series, before actually doing so if they realized it wasn’t as good as they hoped it would be.
It’s the worst series I’ve ever watched. Horrible acting, dialogue and stories. Now I’m glad this has nothing to do with Tolkien or The Lord of the Rings.September 4, 2022
Then there’s the fact that The Rings of Power is methodical in its narrative approach. Yes, the series is off to a slow start in storytelling – but it needed to be. As we noted in our review, The Rings of Power has a lot to set up – new and recurring characters, locations we haven’t seen on screen before, multiple stories, and a brief history of what happened in the First Era in order to set the stage for where the show’s main actors are when we join them.
Granted, The Rings of Power is slow, but its first two episodes had to be so we could get to the good stuff from episode three onwards. Had he fired his opening salvo at a breakneck pace, onlookers would have complained that he was moving too fast to follow. The Rings of Power showrunners, then, were hiding out of the blue with how they approached presenting the series to both established Tolkien fans and newcomers to the franchise.
The negativity was so great, in fact, that Amazon resorted to delaying the publication of Rings of Power reviews on IMDb.com, the review aggregator site it owns (for Variety (opens in new tab)). User reviews must now undergo a rigorous 72-hour review to determine whether they are a genuine review or written by an online troll or bot.
At the time of writing, The Rings of Power has a rating of 6.8 out of 10 (opens in new tab) from nearly 110,000 comments from IMDb users. However, nearly 25% of them (25,645 reviews) rated the show one star out of 10, hence Amazon’s decision to restrict when user reviews are approved.
Sorry, I thought all haters told me I was going to flop? pic.twitter.com/yZG8TYjUMnSeptember 3, 2022
Unfortunately, The Rings of Power isn’t the only series that has been panned recently on IMDb. Another Prime Video show in A League of Their Own, as well as Marvel projects such as Ms Marvel and She-Hulk, have been met with negative reviews simply because they have female characters in lead roles. For Amazon, however, The Rings of Power’s negative reviews hit twice as much, with its positioning as a major TV release for this year and the popularity of the Lord of the Rings franchise.
Despite its brilliant success from an audience and critics point of view, The Rings of Power was not the universal triumph that Amazon had hoped it would be.
And that’s a shame. Tolkien himself wrote: “Do adventures never end? I suppose not. Someone always has to continue the story” – an apt quote that demonstrates why fans should give the Rings of Power a fair chance before giving their full verdict on this. There are six episodes left in the first season, while a second season is set to begin filming soon.
It’s time, then, for fans to give the Rings of Power a chance to really shine. If it doesn’t deliver on its initial promise, these criticisms will be more than valid. But let’s allow the opportunity to glimpse first before we launch this particular show into the flames of Mount Doom.
For more Rings of Power content, read our interview with the cast and crew to find out how and why Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series breaks with franchise traditions. Alternatively, find out what the showrunners and executive producer think of the new Lord of the Rings IP owners.