Do We Need A LOTR Show With Half The Characters?
J.R.R Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings series is one of my favorite things. When I was ten, I discovered them in the armpit of my family's book collection, stuffed behind James Michener novels and a veritable mountain of Foxfire books. And when I brought them to my dad, his eyes lit up and he enthusiastically recommended them to me. See, I'd always grown up thinking that my dad and I were terrifyingly different. He was gifted at fixing machines and carpentry, and he knew how to play about a dozen different instruments. I, on the other hand, loved to sing the theme to Digimon in the shower.
Lord Of The Rings helped bridge the gap that I'd invented between us. He took me to see the movies when they came out, and the only other time that I'd seen my dad so happy while watching a movie was during that scene in Once Upon A Time In The West in which Charles Bronson gets his revenge and kills THE SHIT out of Henry Fonda. Now my wife and I watch the extended editions every Christmas, and listen to the scores instead of holiday music. So I think it goes without saying that I adore the books and the movies.
That said, I think a Lord Of The Rings TV series, which we might be getting, is pretty bad idea.
I think this partly because I fear "It would work as a TV series" reasoning. There are a ton of massive, epic franchises, like Harry Potter, which I see people arguing "would be better as TV shows." However, those people are usually the first to cry foul whenever something is misplaced or removed or rearranged in a book-to-film translation. They forget that TV shows and movies have very different plot structures than books.
For instance, if a TV series has eight episodes, that means it requires eight different climaxes. Sure, the preceding seven climaxes probably won't be as big as the eighth one, but good episodes and movies usually build to something. So now you're caught trying to figure out how to pace your TV adaptation so that you get seven neat little climaxes and one big one at the end. This requires some rearranging and often some replacing, which defeats the purpose of a TV show in the first place, because the whole point would be to provide a more accurate representation of the novel than what the movies gave us.
The Lord Of The Rings works as a series of super long movies. There's not a ton that I'd change about them, and the changes that I would make don't involve just adding more Lord Of The Rings. Do people really want to see the bottle episode in Season 1 of Amazon's The Lord Of The Rings wherein Frodo and the gang have a sleepover at Tom Bombadil's jolly house? Or more scenes of characters pacing around Rivendell, looking for any excuse to chat? Or more of the Houses of Healing and the long-winded discussions about battle strategy? People got on Return Of The King's case for being too long, but imagine a Return Of The King that lasts two seasons.
Then again, that might just be me. Rather than seeing a "fuller" adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, I've always been more intrigued by what different interpretations would've looked like. Like that time that Stanley Kubrick was supposed to turn the Beatles into the Fellowship, or when the director of Deliverance was gonna do the whole trilogy in one movie and make it mostly about fuckin'.
Also, there's the minor detail of not having the rights to all of the characters. This can be inconsequential, as I doubt Amazon would shed any tears if the Tolkien estate said "You got Gandalf and Aragorn, but don't FOR A GODDAMN SECOND even think about mentioning the Valar." Then again, it could also mean that we'd get the ragtag adventures of Frodo, Samwise, Dennis, and Gramlock the Grey.
I should probably point out that as much as I bash the idea now, I will definitely watch this series if it comes to fruition, because I am truly diseased. However, I think there are much better uses of someone's billion dollars than a Lord Of The Rings series which A) can't even use the full cast, and B) will probably air over the course of about six years.
Daniel is definitely a Sackville-Baggins. And he has a Twitter.
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