“The Rings of Power” is overrated and too expensive

The new “The Lord of the Rings” series is not living up to its predecessors

The highly anticipated new “Lord of The Rings” show has now debuted, dropping its first two episodes on Sept.1. The series takes place in Middle-Earth’s second age, which puts it thousands of years before the events of “The Hobbit.” So far, general consensus has been pretty good from critics and fans alike, even with the storm of unwarranted criticism in regard to the diverse casting, with many anonymous users online complaining about non-white Elves and dwarves seen in the trailer.

The story mainly centers around Galadriel, with whom fans of the books and films will be familiar. This is a much younger Galadriel, one who is focused on snuffing out what she feels is a looming evil before it gains too much of a foothold in Middle-Earth. Other stories intertwine with this, such as Elrond’s journey to enlist the help of an old friend at the dwarven stronghold of Khazad-dûm, the elven ranger Arondir’s investigation of a mysterious incident in a human town, and (what i consider the best storyline of the first two episodes) the Harfoot Nori’s helping a mysterious look man who has fallen from the sky.

The fact there were so many stories to describe, however, is one of my first gripes with the show itself. It’s a sort of “too many cooks” situation, with many stories that can feel overwhelming or, in most cases, underwhelming to follow. A majority of the show so far is simply two people talking, with very little of the action or adventure that so many love about Tolkien’s world. I think this is why I’ve enjoyed the Harfoot storyline so much more than the others. It actually feels like a compelling story and interesting start to an adventure with a well-struck balance of comedy and drama as Nori and her friend go against the traditions of their people. On the other hand, Galadriel, who seems intended to be the main focus of the show, comes off as rude and unlikeable through the first two episodes.

Hopefully this changes as the show progresses, but I’m not hopeful it will. She comes off as overdramatic at times. Elrond’s story is okay and seems like it could really be fun as it progresses; the chemistry between him and the dwarves with whom he interacts is clear and easy to notice. Arondir the elven ranger, on the other hand, feels way too understated compared to the other characters. He plays an elf as if he were a Vulcan in “Star Trek”. He shows very little if any emotion in situations that most certainly warrant an emotional response from him, which is unfortunate because the actual meat of his story seems really interesting. I still find myself interested in where the storyline will go.

There is also quite a bit of suspect acting throughout the show, and while the visuals and camera work are stunning and absolutely top notch, I wonder where all of the $60 million budget per episode went. There are definitely scenes that don’t look as good as I think they could, but the action where it is sparingly applied is very good. The orcs in the show look fantastic, and the brief look we get of the dark lord Sauron shows an epically evil character that I hope we get to see more of near the end of the first season. Since the show is just beginning, I will give it the benefit of the doubt as it ramps up that things will hopefully get ironed out, but as it stands I can’t really recommend the show unless you are an absolute die-hard “Lord of The Rings” novels fan. This is an important distinction, as I think those who are mainly fans of the Peter Jackson films will strongly dislike much of the series as these are very different actors and interpretations of the characters they love like Elrond and Galadriel. I’m certainly rooting for the series to get better as it goes on, but what I’ve seen worries me for the future of Tolkein adaptations.

Post Author: Zach Sabel