It is hard to understate just how much Amazon Prime has riding on The Rings of Power, its Lord of the Rings series with a reported billion dollar budget. We are now less than two months away from its debut and marketing is starting to ramp up for the series.
Suffice to say it has an uphill climb ahead of it.
Skeptical Lord of the Rings fans have viewed the new Rings of Power trailer released this past week 6 million times, but the like/dislike ratio (YouTube hides dislikes now, but an extension reveals them), should be…troubling for Amazon. It’s at 56,000 likes to 159,000 dislikes, very far underwater.
Most of the top comments are Tolkein quotes being used as dunks, but the undercurrent of all the comments is the same, that everyone is very skeptical this will work after the perfection of the original trilogy, the badness of Jackson’s Hobbit follow-ups, and the fact that this has neither Jackson nor specific Tolkein books to adapt.
While my skepticism has come from spending this much on any show individually, what concerns me the most is that Amazon trusted this project to two people who are completely unproven in the field of television, showrunners, John D. Payne and Patrick McKay. I am not insulting either of them because there is…not even anything to insult. Both have resumes that are incredibly sparse, with both being uncredited writers on Star Trek Beyond and writers on a future Flash Gordon project that does not exist yet.
They must have had one hell of a pitch to Amazon for them to be trusted with what is the most expensive show in history and easily the most weight that’s put into anything Amazon Prime has ever done for its streaming service. This isn’t to say that a hit can’t come from unexpected places. Game of Thrones’ David Benioff for instance (criticized as he may be now) had some stinkers like the screenplay of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in his history, while DB Weiss had almost nothing in his name before Thrones. But still, this seems like a very, very big gamble for Amazon.