You're never going to make everyone happy, and that definitely applies to Lord of the Rings fans. Amazon’s billion-dollar TV installment in J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic franchise premiered this past weekend and reception for the series is… complicated. When it comes to reviews from critics, The Rings of Power is receiving praise. However, a number of fans have review bombed the series and, as a result, the corporation behind the show opted to take action.
The review-bombing has been aimed at the show's first two episodes, which were released simultaneously last Friday. Because of this, Amazon opted to disable reviews of the show on Prime Video entirely, as noted by Forbes. A similar situation is actually happening on the popular media review-aggregation site, Rotten Tomatoes. According to the site, 84% of critics gave LOTR: Rings of Power a positive review, a favorable statistic, certifying the series as “fresh” according to the site's metric system. However, the fan score is currently at 39%, indicating a majority of viewer reviews skew overwhelmingly negative.
One probably wonders where this dissonance comes from. Well, there seem to be a number of reasons why some LOTR fans are unhappy with The Rings of Power. Some reviews have claimed that the series is unfaithful to the OG series, particularly when it comes to its depiction of certain characters (some of which are presented as people of color). TROP does indeed feature a much more diverse cast than previous adaptations, and female characters are given much more agency and focus as well. Some fans seem to believe that this differs from how the characters are written in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original work.
That being said, not all of the poor reception of The Rings of Power comes from such places of malice. Some believe Peter Jackson had a better vision for the source material, and fans have such a love for the original trilogy that nothing could possibly measure up. (Jackson has stated he was not involved in the series, claiming Amazon “ghosted” him.) Some also think that the time period in which the show is set is not as compelling as others reverenced in the books. For context, the series takes place during the Second Age of Middle-Earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit.
Regardless of the reason for fan aversion to the series, it's fair to assume that the streaming service won’t be allowing reviews for it anytime soon. The LOTR series was a major investment budget-wise for Amazon, and the powers that be seem quite pleased by it. Company founder Jeff Bezos, who provided notes on the show, also seems to be happy with how things turned out. With that, one would expect him and the creative team to continue to prop the show up in positive ways as they plan for its future.
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