Amazon has a long road ahead planned for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, its billion dollar series with plans to allegedly run as long as five years. But even though the show has set records for Amazon original viewership (it almost had to), as we hit the halfway point of season 1, it seems that audiences, on the whole, have not been swayed by the series.
While I expected the various controversies the show generated to result in a barrage of negative reviews right at launch, the weeks that followed have not brought any sort of relief for The Rings of Power.
By all available metrics, there is no place where fans have rallied to give the show consistently high marks, with scores not having improved noticeably the more episodes that have been rolled out, which you will sometimes see after some initial period of bombing/skepticism.
Here’s where things stand after four weeks worth of Ring of Power episodes:
- Rotten Tomatoes – 85% critics, 39% audiences (up from 36% at launch)
- Metacritic – 71/100 critics, 2.4/10 audiences
- IMDB (owned by Amazon) – 6.9/10
- Google Audience reviews – 3.2/5
- Amazon reviews (initially turned off during launch week) – 3.3/5
Everyone does not like me comparing Rings of Power to HBO’s also high-budget fantasy series, House of the Dragon, but needless to say, despite enduring similar initial race and gender-based casting controversies, its audience scores are much higher. The low scores are generally the product of either fans saying the show strays too much from Tolkien’s original world or just…not thinking the series is very well-written or paced, with its long, slow-building arcs.
It remains to be seen if there’s a moment when Rings of Power will be able to kick into a different gear and convert skeptics. Halfway through season 1, we are starting to bring the characters closer together and perhaps more storylines will intersect, and more big battles will be on the way. But for now, the show has had trouble making the kind of Game of Thrones-level impact that Amazon wanted to see. Not that it doesn’t have its fans, and I know many viewers who are excited to tune in each week, but I’m not sure that’s the majority view.
What’s clear is that Amazon is in this for the long haul, and I would expect them to see their ultimate vision for the series through, barring some sort of massive viewership collapse that even through all this, I doubt we’ll see. They are committed to the project, though perhaps they will absorb the feedback and make some changes in future seasons to attract the sort of audiences that appear to be rejecting the series at the moment.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.