From Elves to Harfoots, there are a lot of magical beings in The Lord of the Rings universe. But it looks like trolls are not welcome. Following a wave of criticism after Amazon released the first two episodes of Rings of Power, the company decided to temporarily freeze access to its reviews and ratings. The move was a result of backlash surrounding the show’s diverse casting, with many die-hard fans claiming that J.R.R. Tolkien intended Middle-earth to be populated solely by white characters. Therefore, including people of color was politically motivated.
However, executive producer Lindsey Weber was quick to shut this claim down, saying that Tolkien is for everyone. “It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like,” she said via SlashFilm. “His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.” But her words didn’t prevent Rings of Power fans from review bombing the series. A day after Amazon’s billion-dollar project debuted, the show’s average audience score on Rotten Tomatoes only managed to reach 39%
When compared to the 84% critics rating, it paints a dark picture of what audiences look for in a series. Interestingly, most of the negative reviews allegedly criticized Rings of Power for non-diversity reasons. According to The Hollywood Reporter, most of them picked apart the backdrops and a film score, while others were not so fond of the story’s pacing and wooden acting. Some folks were critical of the unlikable main characters, saying the series lacked depth and soul. But there was one aspect even the show’s biggest haters seemed to agree on – Rings of Power looks amazing.
But for now, the Amazon streaming platform does not display reviews for Rings of Power on either the registered user site or the mobile app. The 72-hour restriction is part of the streamer’s policy to help weed out the trolls and ensure each review is legitimate. Additionally, several reports state that IMDb (which is owned by Amazon) has started to remove negative and even generally neutral reviews, which is causing the series overall rating to go up. If review bombing is happening, the audience score will likely rise as actual reviews are approved by the site.
Based on stories by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was developed for television by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay. The first eight-episode season is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The story begins during a time of relative peace and covers major events of the time. This includes the forging of the Rings of Power, the Dark Lord Sauron’s rise to power, the fall of the island Kingdom of Númenor, and the final alliance between men and elves. Filming for the second installment is expected to begin in the middle of this year. But for now, Rings of Power fans can look forward to new episodes of the debut season every Friday on Prime Video.