With Amazon’s live-action bastardzation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal fantasy works having under performed by practically every metric, a new rumor suggests that the company will be “retooling” The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for its second season – starting with the sidelining of its current showrunners, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
Word of this apparent shake-up was first suggested by noted film critic, industry insider, and Film Threat founder Chris Gore during an appearance on the 314th episode of the YouTube livestream show Midnight’s Edge in the Morning.
Discussing the series’ first season finale with that day’s panel, Gore was eventually asked by host Andre Einherjar, “What have you heard from your peers in the industry, is everyone so impressed with The Rings of Power like the showrunners suggests we should be?”, to which the critic admitted back, “Uh, no.”
In fact, said Gore, not only were his industry contacts unimpressed with season one, but the reception to it was so generally abysmal that Amazon has set out to course correct for season two.
“I heard from someone who has a connect at Amazon that – if you wanna know – that effectively, they’re going to be retooling,” he explained. “And [Payne and McKay] are more than likely…they’re not gonna be publicly fired, but their role will be reduced.”
“Potentially just remaining in the writers room,” he added, “but my understanding is they’re looking for more experienced showrunners.”
To this end, Gore detailed that Amazon is “well aware of the problems” before noting that while “there’s what they publicly say,” there’s also “what they’re actually doing behind the scenes”.
“And what they’re doing behind the scenes,” he then asserted, “is they’re freaking out that this was more of a failure than could have been anticipated.”
As to what has caused the company higher-ups to ostensibly sit-up and get their act together, Gore speculated that there were three key reasons for this change.
“I think the quality of the show is the number one thing,” he first opined. “[Audiences are] like ‘Why am I still watching this? This is sleep inducing.'”
“The second thing is the total rejection from fans,” he next suggested. “I can’t believe…there has to be very few people who remain who still like it.”
“And thirdly, the direct competition from House of the Dragon, ” he concluded. “Even like pre-seed and post-seed [of the show’s airing], it started earlier and is ending later [thus keeping it in viewers’ consciousness for a longer period of time]”.
Though it may be years before Gore’s speculation is outright confirmed or denied, the damningly low audience scores currently held by the series on review aggregate sites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes make it clear that something needs to be done should Amazon hope to justify their $1 billion The Lord of the Rings investment.
As of writing, The Rings of Power currently holds a collective 2.5/10 rating across 2422 on the former outlet:
While on the latter, 35548 fans have left the series with a scathing 39% “Rotten” average.
Clearly, even without delving in to the massive waves of discourse surrounding the honoring of Tolkien’s work or the cast and crews insulting of the author’s fans, the series has failed to land with viewers.
And while some may feel justified in pointing to its respective 71/100 and 85% Fresh ratings from critics, these numbers are provably suspect thanks to Amazon Studio Boss Jennifer Selke’s own admission that they were censoring reviews from critics who had “points of view that we wouldn’t support“, which suggests an obvious slant in the sentiments communicated by those reviews which were actually published.
Further, that Amazon attempted to slant public perception of the series in their favor, the fact that The Rings of Power still holds such a terminally low audience score speaks volumes to just how little audiences truly enjoyed this slogging ride.
The entire, embarrassing first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Prime Video.