The Lord of the Rings TV series from Amazon Prime Video must be one of the most expensive if not THE most expensive TV series ever produced. Based on the novel and extensive appendices written by J R R Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings core story has already been translated into a successful film series directed by Peter Jackson. Thankfully this TV series is not a remake of the movie adaptations as it would have otherwise seemed a futile effort to try and reproduce something that was already excellent. The TV series covers the period thousands of years before the events we all went through in the movie adaptations of J R R Tolkien’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As such the series compliments what we already know from the movies by providing us with a remarkable back story that spans literally thousands of years.
Now, J R R Tolkien never wrote any novel about this period of time. What he did come up with were elaborate accounts of the word of Middle Kingdom and its history in the form of appendices. The TV series formed a creative team to come up with a storyline that contains elements from his appendices as well as familiar references to people and places that we have encountered in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We just need to stretch our imagination a bit when we have characters from The Lord of the Rings like Galadriel and Elrond from the Elves community as their younger selves. Presumably they get to live for thousands of years!
These creative liberties to the source material will no doubt annoy the die-hard J R R Tolkien fans and purists. The best thing here is to set aside such nagging discontentment, and just sit back and enjoy the ride. The film makers have put in a lot of effort in making the series look amazing. We also have an engaging storyline to keep us committed to finishing the series. Like so many of such TV series, there are several parallel stories running concurrently and these are well paced and edited. The acting and script is top notched, so it is all good. The cast is excellent and looks and act the part.
I cannot help comparing this to the excellent Game of Thrones series. While this LOTR may not have the sex and violence that was so much part of the GOT series, it shares the same energy and multilayered stories, amidst a magical world that is populated with strange creatures, and even stranger “human” species. Perhaps what the series lacked were more all-out action sequences, and one to one confrontation. There are a few stand out fight sequences like the scene where Galadriel shows off her mastery of her swordsmanship and fighting ability to the men of Numenor.
The LOTR TV series is obviously a hugely ambitious project with intentions to last many seasons. This first season is titled The Rings of Power, and only scratches the surface of what’s to come next. TV have never been so lavish and epic. It’s a pity the series cannot benefit from being watched on a big screen with all its glory. Much of the production values and details will be lost on the small screen. Heaven forbids, those who watch this on their handphones! I have yet to watch GOT spin off series, House of the Dragons which is LOTR closest rival in terms of scope and target audience. What a bumper year 2022 is turning out to be for TV entertainment.