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Author Topic: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"  (Read 2120 times)

Effete

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2022, 03:27:48 PM »
Back in 2017 they were working on two series: Rings of Power was the "family oriented" one, while Conan the Barbarian was the "Sex, blood and violence" one meant to capture the "Game of Thrones" crowd. According to the grapevine, RoP was not woke and the scripts produced for Conan were just amazing. While both were about to be greenlighted, however, the management was metooed and replaced with a certain Jennifer Salke (who was at once glorified by the woke press).

Salke of course ditched the "toxic masculinity" in Conan and cleaned house in RoP, demanding a rewrite with more grrrrl power (i.e. only grrrrl power) - the sources be damned. This led to chaos, as the two showrunners had no experience in show running in the first place. The result is the mess we see, with incomplete scripts (they mention the Silmarils but they don't explain what the Silmarils are), astoundingly bad editing, inconsistent cinematography, incomprehensible plot points (Galadriel decides to swim across a whole ocean - I'm not joking), a glacial pace and collapsing ratings. And I could go on (review manipulation by Amazon, attempts to pay YouTubers, the rights to "Everything Tolkien" being bought by the Embracer Group for one third of the price they had in February...)

So, heads are bound to roll at Amazon. We are all waiting for it. It will be fun.

Edit: Oh, I almost forgot. The writer/show runner for that wonderful Conan series? Ryan Condal? Yup, he was picked up by HBO and is currently running The House of the Dragon. Shit happens.

I noticed no mention of Dragon Age in there. ;) Twitterati fails again.

I didn't know all of this, so thanks for the scoop! It checks out though, and explains a lot of what we are seeing. I also suspect a huge chunk of Amazon's money is being laundered somewhere, though it's entirely possible these nitwits are just gravely financially irresponsible. I mean, how do you drop as much money on one season than it took Peter Jackson to make three EXTENDED films, from SCRATCH, and still make it look cheap? Fabric-print armor? Seriously?

I have no intention of watching the show, but I do enjoy watching/listening to the reviews tearing it apart. I know all about Guyladriel jumping to her "certain death" in the ocean, or how Celebrimbor apparently DIDN'T help build the Doors of Durin (which were said to always remain open until AFTER Sauron destroyed Eregion), but we're dealing with awful vandals who care NOTHING for the franchise. They just want a big name to push their messaging.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2022, 03:29:57 PM by Effete »

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2022, 03:33:54 PM »
I remember the early buzz where supposedly Bezos said 'I want a Game of Thrones show' and that pretty much ensured it was going to suck as far as I am concerned.

Reckall

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2022, 10:15:23 AM »
I remember the early buzz where supposedly Bezos said 'I want a Game of Thrones show' and that pretty much ensured it was going to suck as far as I am concerned.

This is a partial misquote, actually. What Bezos wanted was "to get the Game of Thrones audience" after GoT ended (no one expected that it would end so badly, BTW). Anyway, when the rights to (this is the exact quote):

"A television or streaming show, 8+ episodes long, based on what it is said about the Second Age in LotR and the Hobbit"


...Became available directly from the Tolkien Estate thanks to a loophole in the contract owned by Warner/New Line, Amazon snatched them up for $250 millions (the auction started at $200 millions, Netflix and HBO passed). This gave to Amazon Studios the idea of "doubling on fantasy" by doing the "family friendly" fantasy based on LotR and the "adult fantasy" based on Conan. True, they were already headed for the "Wheel of Time" fiasco, but "it was impossible to fail with Tolkien", wasn't it? According to Business Insider, Amazon Studios was already worried that "If we fail with Tolkien, why are we even here?" and "This show will succeed because the management needs for it to be a success, no matter what." Remember this.

So, what do they did? They copied Peter Jackson. They called Weta for the special effects, John Howe for the visuals, and Howard Shore to do the main theme and some "inspirational music" (for internal use only, the main composer being Bear McCreary). And they decided to shoot in New Zealand.

They still had two problems: the wokefication of Amazon Studios and how no good showrunner with enough sanity wanted to commit for five seasons based on a bunch of pages (blaring "We will do five seasons because we can!" is considered among their most serious mistakes: do a pilot episode, evaluate it and move on from there). The solution? The Bad Reboot school of J.J. Abrams (the two showrunners and the main executive producer come from there). Once you know this you can literally see in The Rings of Power the fingerprints of the hand who sunk Star Trek and Star Wars - Mary Sues, mystery boxes et. al.  This led to the order of "grrrl power-ing" the show - and this was bad. Remember: special effects were already been done and paid for, same with costumes, sets, props... Changing the nature of a show when everything is launched requires experience, luck and cold blood, i.e. everything that this production hadn't. Tom Shippey, possibly the greatest Tolkien scholar alive, was sent away. In his place they hired Mariana Ros Maldonado, a Tolkien scholar famous for "Ethics, Femininity and the Encounter with the Other in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth Narratives" - and for her battles for "racial equality in Academia". The result was a mess (they added a daughter to Elendil's family who does... nothing at all; this is only an example).

This still left Amazon without its "adult fantasy" series (I don't even think that you can do woke adult fantasy). For a while they toyed with the idea of "making Tolkien adult" (someone may remember when they were looking for a nudity coordinator for the show) but thankfully they ditched it. And the pilot for the new "Game of Thrones" at HBO, "Bloodmoon", had thanked, so they weren't going to go against another fantasy series.

Then some unexpected things happened. First, COVID struck at the beginning of the production proper, and of course I cannot blame them for this. Then, after the main photography was completed, they decided to move the production from NZ to the UK. The reasons for this move were muddled but it cost them $250 additional millions to build new production facilities from the ground up (Amazon Studios says that they will be used for other shows too). And then, literally out of thin air and amid a pandemic, HBO produced "The House of the Dragon".

Even if refraining from the irony that one of HoD's creators, Ryan Condal, had been sent away from Amazon for the "toxic masculinity" of his Conan scripts, it cannot be underestimated how fast HBO put together its rival show after the "Bloodmoon" fiasco. It caught the whole industry flat-footed - Amazon in primis. True, HBO attempted suicide by trying for a while to advertise HoD as "GoT woke" - but then they stopped. And when the show came out everyone could see how it is not woke at all (the Valeryans were race-swapped, but the characters are well written, the story is good, the acting is good... after five minutes no one bothered anymore; BTW, the race-swap will be important for a key plot point of the show, so it is not just for SJW's sake). HoD also came out before RoP and to general acclaim. Not to mention how each episode was produced for half the money of RoP while beating it in every department: writing, acting, cinematography, battles' choreography...

And this was bad for Amazon Studios, because they had just run the worst advertising campaign in the history of... forever. If you missed the SUPERFANS then, believe me, you missed something. Check them out. Then they had the teasers and the trailers being ratioed on YouTube by - dunno - three millions of downvotes. Amazon and a whole ecosystem of friendly outlets resorted to that old tactic that never fails to gain you new friends: to insult everybody. They called those who criticised the show based on the promotions, black people included, "racists"; those who pointed out that the show didn't respect the lore, like, at all, were called... well, "racists TolkienNazis" too. When you are being obliterated on Amazon Prime India by "racists" you know you have a problem. When this didn't work, Amazon blocked the reviews under 6 out of 10 on the IMDB (owned by them) because "trolls" and "haters" - and decided that the show was being review-bombed by... racists. By then, it was being "review-bombed" by people from Nigeria to Vietnam - all "racists". If anything, if you blare that you are successful in 240 countries around the world, just don't play the race card. And where are Asian characters in the show BTW?

All of this to the chagrin of the Saul Zaentz Company, who in February announced that the rights to "Middle-earth Enterprises were for sale for $2 billions (because "new show by Amazon = more value!") and to the happiness of the Embracer Group who bought them in mid-August for around $650 millions (because "Amazon running its promotional campaign = 70% depreciation"). Managing to totally devalue the Tolkien brand before your show even comes out will be a case-study for ages.

Then came the triumphant news - as outlets like Business Insider had perfectly predicted, given the fact that the very future of Amazon Studios rides on this. The first two episodes had been "sampled" by 25 millions people in 240 countries in the first 24 hours! Let's drop what "sampled" means, and just ask "Well, good! But HBO stated that HoD had 10 million viewers in the first 24 hours in the USA alone, and 20 across the first week. Can we have a direct comparison? No.

Alas, independent analysts, like Samba TV, came up with their US numbers: about 19 millions viewers for HoD Ep. 1 in the first four days, 15 for Stranger Things season 4 part 1 (no one expected for ST to be beaten in 2022), 9.5 millions for Obi-wan Kenobi Ep.1 (!) and 8-9 millions for RoP Ep. 1. Even worse RoP lost about a quarter of its audience between Ep.1 and Ep.2 even if the latter was available on the same day. Four episodes in, and HoD has increased its number to 13 millions viewers in the US for every new episode on the first 24 hours, Amazon is totally silent. No data (they are apparently tracking at around 5 millions viewers in the US in the first 24 hours - maybe even less).

The acting is atrocious (there actually are a couple of good actors in RoP and I suffer for them), the casting mostly wrong, the story is baffling (it is not Tolkien; it is not coherent; they don't even use what they could use - you know, what Amazon paid $250 millions for); the obsession for grrrrl power so all-consuming that the female characters came out as the most stupid around - not to mention despised - and no one running the show is realising this (not that it would matter: the principal photography ended in August, 2021; they are stuck with this dreck for at least the whole first season).

What they are realising is that they have a $1 billion disaster in their hands. The glorifying access press is starting to realise that being associated with RoP is not good for your health ("True, the first two episodes were MAGNIFICENT - 10/10 - but by Episode 4 the story is still plodding and the characters unlikeable, 6/10"). Considering that the "Netflix" streaming model just collapsed, that HBO - even with the breath of air of HoD - is not laughing, that Disney+ is struggling and that a recession is coming (if not already here), Amazon Studios could very well close doors within a couple of years. Amazon Prime just doesn't need them. Failing with Tolkien is up there with failing with Star Wars: you must put a lot of effort in your work to manage the impossible.

There is MUCH MORE that can be said about the Rings of Power Fiasco, believe me, but this is the gist of it.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2022, 10:20:48 AM by Reckall »
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hedgehobbit

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2022, 10:35:07 AM »
All of this to the chagrin of the Saul Zaentz Company, who in February announced that the rights to "Middle-earth Enterprises were for sale for $2 billions (because "new show by Amazon = more value!") and to the happiness of the Embracer Group who bought them in mid-August for around $650 millions (because "Amazon running its promotional campaign = 70% depreciation"). Managing to totally devalue the Tolkien brand before your show even comes out will be a case-study for ages.

This is the most insane part of the whole story. For less than the price of this one show, Amazon could have bought the company that owns the rights to Tolkien and made whatever shows they wanted forever. Plus, making residuals on games and toys (if I understand correctly) in addition with no extra work or expense.

Reckall

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2022, 12:55:09 PM »
All of this to the chagrin of the Saul Zaentz Company, who in February announced that the rights to "Middle-earth Enterprises were for sale for $2 billions (because "new show by Amazon = more value!") and to the happiness of the Embracer Group who bought them in mid-August for around $650 millions (because "Amazon running its promotional campaign = 70% depreciation"). Managing to totally devalue the Tolkien brand before your show even comes out will be a case-study for ages.

This is the most insane part of the whole story. For less than the price of this one show, Amazon could have bought the company that owns the rights to Tolkien and made whatever shows they wanted forever. Plus, making residuals on games and toys (if I understand correctly) in addition with no extra work or expense.

This is the most worrying thing for Amazon Studios. Back in February it was considered a given that Amazon would have bought the rights to everything Tolkien - thus fixing the problems they had with the lack of material for RoP and, maybe, redo the Hobbit and LotR as streaming shows. They could just have said "whatever they offer you, I'll double the sum". That papa Bezos didn't pony up the money may be a hint that Amazon just lost faith about the ability of Amazon Studios to produce any kind of decent fantasy.
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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2022, 11:28:54 PM »
Question on your Sword and Caravan supplement comment, is it going to cover a specific period or topic, whereas the original book is a more high level overview? I'm really curious about the setting, but I was trying to see if I could get some players together for L&D/DA first.

I'm a bit confused about this question. Which Sword & Caravan supplement comments were you referring to?
I've made one supplement (Social Encounters), and working on another (the NPC book).

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2022, 11:34:21 PM »
The rumor going around Twitter is the series started off as an adaptation of BioWare’s Dragon Age, but was minimally reworked to fit Middle Earth after securing the rights…

That would explain why the Elves act more like D&D elves than Tolkien elves.
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Zaph

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2022, 12:14:14 AM »
Question on your Sword and Caravan supplement comment, is it going to cover a specific period or topic, whereas the original book is a more high level overview? I'm really curious about the setting, but I was trying to see if I could get some players together for L&D/DA first.

I'm a bit confused about this question. Which Sword & Caravan supplement comments were you referring to?
I've made one supplement (Social Encounters), and working on another (the NPC book).

I meant your upcoming book, and to clarify, what I’m essentially asking is if S&C is a separate system from Lion & Dragon, and generally what the content is. I have the Social Encounters release, which I like, but it more rule mechanics rather than setting. Dark Albion covers things like geography, society, NPCs, etc. and I wasn’t sure if S&C was like that, or was intended to be a standalone system. Hope that clarifies!

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2022, 12:16:10 AM »
I do like Kenneth Hite's approach on this - he usually runs in his home campaign and writes games that are set in an off-brand real world, and he's a history guy from University of Chicago with an edict memory (which he says he's done his best to erase with liquor). So as a result, his games feel sort of real because they have sort of real people embedded in an actual history (not what we would want it to be) context. It's a perfect crutch for a GM!

Also, I'd want to point out that there are great ways to leverage an existing fantasy setting in a way that RoP could have done but didn't. The best campaign I ever ran was the 1.5 year Darkening of Mirkwood - also set in Middle Earth, but

1. sticks as close as it can to real world cannon;
2. invents cool stuff, but cool stuff that has references to the cannon;
3. when it references people Tolken invented, they're like Token's invention;
4. when it introduces new people, they aren't OP weirdos, but feel like characters that could have existed.

Did you watch my video? Because I point out how RoP did the opposite of all this, basically.
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


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Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2022, 12:17:50 AM »
It seems various people have responded to this thread without actually watching my video, and thus you all missed what I point out is the fundamental problem with why (EVEN if you took out all the wokeness) RoP is bad while HotD is good.

Not one of you who obviously didn't watch my video figured it out, as indeed none of the other videos and articles about it got it. It's about worldbuilding.
LION & DRAGON: Medieval-Authentic OSR Roleplaying is available now! You only THINK you've played 'medieval fantasy' until you play L&D.


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The most famous uruguayan gaming blog on the planet!

NEW!
Check out my short OSR supplements series; The RPGPundit Presents!


Dark Albion: The Rose War! The OSR fantasy setting of the history that inspired Shakespeare and Martin alike.
Also available in Variant Cover form!
Also, now with the CULTS OF CHAOS cult-generation sourcebook

ARROWS OF INDRA
Arrows of Indra: The Old-School Epic Indian RPG!
NOW AVAILABLE: AoI in print form

LORDS OF OLYMPUS
The new Diceless RPG of multiversal power, adventure and intrigue, now available.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2022, 09:41:16 AM »
It seems various people have responded to this thread without actually watching my video, and thus you all missed what I point out is the fundamental problem with why (EVEN if you took out all the wokeness) RoP is bad while HotD is good.

Not one of you who obviously didn't watch my video figured it out, as indeed none of the other videos and articles about it got it. It's about worldbuilding.
The irony is that the world was already built, Pundit.

Amazon just came in and shit things up, like a pack of activists who leave trash all over the place after they've left.

PencilBoy99

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2022, 03:12:09 PM »
I do like Kenneth Hite's approach on this - he usually runs in his home campaign and writes games that are set in an off-brand real world, and he's a history guy from University of Chicago with an edict memory (which he says he's done his best to erase with liquor). So as a result, his games feel sort of real because they have sort of real people embedded in an actual history (not what we would want it to be) context. It's a perfect crutch for a GM!

Also, I'd want to point out that there are great ways to leverage an existing fantasy setting in a way that RoP could have done but didn't. The best campaign I ever ran was the 1.5 year Darkening of Mirkwood - also set in Middle Earth, but

1. sticks as close as it can to real world cannon;
2. invents cool stuff, but cool stuff that has references to the cannon;
3. when it references people Tolken invented, they're like Token's invention;
4. when it introduces new people, they aren't OP weirdos, but feel like characters that could have existed.

Did you watch my video? Because I point out how RoP did the opposite of all this, basically.

I did watch the video. I was providing an example where it was done like you described

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2022, 03:15:32 PM »
The thing is, even with just the appendices, if Amazon had stuck to the lore, they had enough to make a good show.  But they wanted to use Tolkien as a cover for their SJW bullshit, thinking they had a built-in audience that would happily consume whatever they churned out while buying their woke messaging.  But it turned out that the true Tolkien fans are smarter than that and have united in their derision of that dumpster fire of a show.

This. They couldn't adapt the other material, but they could have read it and then not directly contradicted it either.

Effete

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2022, 06:38:21 AM »
The thing is, even with just the appendices, if Amazon had stuck to the lore, they had enough to make a good show.  But they wanted to use Tolkien as a cover for their SJW bullshit, thinking they had a built-in audience that would happily consume whatever they churned out while buying their woke messaging.  But it turned out that the true Tolkien fans are smarter than that and have united in their derision of that dumpster fire of a show.

This. They couldn't adapt the other material, but they could have read it and then not directly contradicted it either.

This was never their goal. They don't care about the lore. Not even the stuff they DO have access to. They only wanted the name so they could use a popular franchise to push their message. They are vandals. There is no other word for it. They purposely fuck things up solely for their own selfish enjoyment.

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Re: Don't Let Your Setting Suck like "Rings of Power"
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2022, 02:17:23 PM »
I remember the early buzz where supposedly Bezos said 'I want a Game of Thrones show' and that pretty much ensured it was going to suck as far as I am concerned.

This is a partial misquote, actually. What Bezos wanted was "to get the Game of Thrones audience" after GoT ended (no one expected that it would end so badly, BTW). Anyway, when the rights to (this is the exact quote):

"A television or streaming show, 8+ episodes long, based on what it is said about the Second Age in LotR and the Hobbit"


...Became available directly from the Tolkien Estate thanks to a loophole in the contract owned by Warner/New Line, Amazon snatched them up for $250 millions (the auction started at $200 millions, Netflix and HBO passed). This gave to Amazon Studios the idea of "doubling on fantasy" by doing the "family friendly" fantasy based on LotR and the "adult fantasy" based on Conan. True, they were already headed for the "Wheel of Time" fiasco, but "it was impossible to fail with Tolkien", wasn't it? According to Business Insider, Amazon Studios was already worried that "If we fail with Tolkien, why are we even here?" and "This show will succeed because the management needs for it to be a success, no matter what." Remember this.

So, what do they did? They copied Peter Jackson. They called Weta for the special effects, John Howe for the visuals, and Howard Shore to do the main theme and some "inspirational music" (for internal use only, the main composer being Bear McCreary). And they decided to shoot in New Zealand.

They still had two problems: the wokefication of Amazon Studios and how no good showrunner with enough sanity wanted to commit for five seasons based on a bunch of pages (blaring "We will do five seasons because we can!" is considered among their most serious mistakes: do a pilot episode, evaluate it and move on from there). The solution? The Bad Reboot school of J.J. Abrams (the two showrunners and the main executive producer come from there). Once you know this you can literally see in The Rings of Power the fingerprints of the hand who sunk Star Trek and Star Wars - Mary Sues, mystery boxes et. al.  This led to the order of "grrrl power-ing" the show - and this was bad. Remember: special effects were already been done and paid for, same with costumes, sets, props... Changing the nature of a show when everything is launched requires experience, luck and cold blood, i.e. everything that this production hadn't. Tom Shippey, possibly the greatest Tolkien scholar alive, was sent away. In his place they hired Mariana Ros Maldonado, a Tolkien scholar famous for "Ethics, Femininity and the Encounter with the Other in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth Narratives" - and for her battles for "racial equality in Academia". The result was a mess (they added a daughter to Elendil's family who does... nothing at all; this is only an example).

This still left Amazon without its "adult fantasy" series (I don't even think that you can do woke adult fantasy). For a while they toyed with the idea of "making Tolkien adult" (someone may remember when they were looking for a nudity coordinator for the show) but thankfully they ditched it. And the pilot for the new "Game of Thrones" at HBO, "Bloodmoon", had thanked, so they weren't going to go against another fantasy series.

Then some unexpected things happened. First, COVID struck at the beginning of the production proper, and of course I cannot blame them for this. Then, after the main photography was completed, they decided to move the production from NZ to the UK. The reasons for this move were muddled but it cost them $250 additional millions to build new production facilities from the ground up (Amazon Studios says that they will be used for other shows too). And then, literally out of thin air and amid a pandemic, HBO produced "The House of the Dragon".

Even if refraining from the irony that one of HoD's creators, Ryan Condal, had been sent away from Amazon for the "toxic masculinity" of his Conan scripts, it cannot be underestimated how fast HBO put together its rival show after the "Bloodmoon" fiasco. It caught the whole industry flat-footed - Amazon in primis. True, HBO attempted suicide by trying for a while to advertise HoD as "GoT woke" - but then they stopped. And when the show came out everyone could see how it is not woke at all (the Valeryans were race-swapped, but the characters are well written, the story is good, the acting is good... after five minutes no one bothered anymore; BTW, the race-swap will be important for a key plot point of the show, so it is not just for SJW's sake). HoD also came out before RoP and to general acclaim. Not to mention how each episode was produced for half the money of RoP while beating it in every department: writing, acting, cinematography, battles' choreography...

And this was bad for Amazon Studios, because they had just run the worst advertising campaign in the history of... forever. If you missed the SUPERFANS then, believe me, you missed something. Check them out. Then they had the teasers and the trailers being ratioed on YouTube by - dunno - three millions of downvotes. Amazon and a whole ecosystem of friendly outlets resorted to that old tactic that never fails to gain you new friends: to insult everybody. They called those who criticised the show based on the promotions, black people included, "racists"; those who pointed out that the show didn't respect the lore, like, at all, were called... well, "racists TolkienNazis" too. When you are being obliterated on Amazon Prime India by "racists" you know you have a problem. When this didn't work, Amazon blocked the reviews under 6 out of 10 on the IMDB (owned by them) because "trolls" and "haters" - and decided that the show was being review-bombed by... racists. By then, it was being "review-bombed" by people from Nigeria to Vietnam - all "racists". If anything, if you blare that you are successful in 240 countries around the world, just don't play the race card. And where are Asian characters in the show BTW?

All of this to the chagrin of the Saul Zaentz Company, who in February announced that the rights to "Middle-earth Enterprises were for sale for $2 billions (because "new show by Amazon = more value!") and to the happiness of the Embracer Group who bought them in mid-August for around $650 millions (because "Amazon running its promotional campaign = 70% depreciation"). Managing to totally devalue the Tolkien brand before your show even comes out will be a case-study for ages.

Then came the triumphant news - as outlets like Business Insider had perfectly predicted, given the fact that the very future of Amazon Studios rides on this. The first two episodes had been "sampled" by 25 millions people in 240 countries in the first 24 hours! Let's drop what "sampled" means, and just ask "Well, good! But HBO stated that HoD had 10 million viewers in the first 24 hours in the USA alone, and 20 across the first week. Can we have a direct comparison? No.

Alas, independent analysts, like Samba TV, came up with their US numbers: about 19 millions viewers for HoD Ep. 1 in the first four days, 15 for Stranger Things season 4 part 1 (no one expected for ST to be beaten in 2022), 9.5 millions for Obi-wan Kenobi Ep.1 (!) and 8-9 millions for RoP Ep. 1. Even worse RoP lost about a quarter of its audience between Ep.1 and Ep.2 even if the latter was available on the same day. Four episodes in, and HoD has increased its number to 13 millions viewers in the US for every new episode on the first 24 hours, Amazon is totally silent. No data (they are apparently tracking at around 5 millions viewers in the US in the first 24 hours - maybe even less).

The acting is atrocious (there actually are a couple of good actors in RoP and I suffer for them), the casting mostly wrong, the story is baffling (it is not Tolkien; it is not coherent; they don't even use what they could use - you know, what Amazon paid $250 millions for); the obsession for grrrrl power so all-consuming that the female characters came out as the most stupid around - not to mention despised - and no one running the show is realising this (not that it would matter: the principal photography ended in August, 2021; they are stuck with this dreck for at least the whole first season).

What they are realising is that they have a $1 billion disaster in their hands. The glorifying access press is starting to realise that being associated with RoP is not good for your health ("True, the first two episodes were MAGNIFICENT - 10/10 - but by Episode 4 the story is still plodding and the characters unlikeable, 6/10"). Considering that the "Netflix" streaming model just collapsed, that HBO - even with the breath of air of HoD - is not laughing, that Disney+ is struggling and that a recession is coming (if not already here), Amazon Studios could very well close doors within a couple of years. Amazon Prime just doesn't need them. Failing with Tolkien is up there with failing with Star Wars: you must put a lot of effort in your work to manage the impossible.

There is MUCH MORE that can be said about the Rings of Power Fiasco, believe me, but this is the gist of it.

Absolutely fantastic post.
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