Does The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power join the list of costly TV fires?

Cards on the table: I quite enjoyed season one of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power. It’s certainly not without its faults, but it hardly deserves some of the criticism it has received.

the reason that CGI looks cheap doesn’t match what I’ve seen on my big screen TV. Of course, racist trolls hate it (because they’re racist trolls and that’s what racist trolls usually do), while Tolkien scholars and die-hard fans of the book is divided over whether it complements the author’s original works or betrays them.

In one piece in Guardians this week, Stuart Heritage described the series as “a stinker,” which is a strange conclusion. It looks like there’s a lot of major jumps going on right now.

It’s true that the pacing in the early episodes is often annoying, while the Harfoots, with their banter songs and fake Irish accents, are never less than annoying. But things have ramped up dramatically in the last three episodes.

Now that we know that Halbrand is really Sauron and that the Stranger who fell from the sky is almost certainly Gandalf, Rings of Power has finally taken some shape, setting up what will hopefully be a dominant second season.

But will it be enough to change the minds of naysayers and save Amazon $60 million per episode from joining the list of TV’s most costly failures?

Data analysts say its audience numbers are trailing HBO House Of The Dragon. It also failed to appeal to viewers under the age of 35, and social media rumors were muted.

However, ‘failure’ is a relative term. You can be sure that the audience for Rings of Power still huge, even if it falls below expectations.

And it will take a big fall before the series is mentioned in the same breath as these five expensive fires:

Cop Rock (ABC 1990)

Two million dollars per episode was a lot to spend on a TV series at the time, especially one that combined a police show and musical. Creator Steven Bochco mixed harsh police procedure with explosive characters in the song to crack down on numbers specifically written by the likes of Randy Newman and Mike Post.

“Bold” is the word used to describe the test. “Bad” is what critics and viewers decide. Cop Rock bombed and deported after 11 episodes. Three years later, Bochco hit gold with NYPD Blue, where the only characters who sang were the poop pigeons.


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell failed

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Supertrain (NBC, 1979)

The most expensive US series created to that point, this was an attempt to port the formula of Love boat – drip type, but extremely common – for a train. The result is also dripping, but dripping is extremely uncommon.

Three model trains, one of them life-size, were built at great expense and kept running off the tracks. Then a train wreck in every sense, it was towed after nine episodes and nearly bankrupted NBC without being able to recover a dime.

Marco Polo (Netflix, 2014-16)

One of the biggest failures in TV history, this is Netflix’s attempt to make it Game of Thrones own, with an initial sum of $90 million. After two seasons of scrutiny and low views, the ax fell, costing the streamer a total of $200 million in damages.

Games, Set-ups and Matches (ITV, 1988)

Critics’ praise won’t take your turnips off. Critics generally love Len Deighton’s 13-part spy trilogy, shot in Berlin, Mexico and London and starring two directors.

Unfortunately, viewers stayed away. Deighton himself was not interested in casting Ian Holm as the main character Bernard Samson.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (BBC1, 2015)

More proof that if you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

Said to be BBC’s most expensive TV series ever – and looks like it – a seven-part historical fantasy about rival wizards in 19th-century England, where magic is real, has everything: great source material (the bestselling novel by Susanna Clarke), excellent narration (Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan) and great special effects (surfing horses) wave is a highlight).

First episode aside, it has struggled to attract more than 1.7 million viewers. Does The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power join the list of costly TV fires?

Fry Electronics Team

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