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Nerd Alert: Amazon Announces a 'Lord of the Rings' TV Series


SourceAmazon has officially greenlit one show that it hopes to rule them all.

The company has made a multi-season production commitment to a television adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings.

It’s a major deal securing one of the biggest brands in pop culture for what’s likely to be one of the most expensive TV shows ever made.

But there’s a catch, creatively speaking: The series will explore storylines set before the events in the first LOTR novel, The Fellowship of the Ring. In other words: The war to destroy the One Ring as chronicled in Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy of films will not be told in the TV version. So this story is either set before The Hobbit or in between The Hobbit and LOTR.

It is with the Wikipedia definition of mixed emotions that I greet this news. It gives me both a raging nerd boner and an overpowering sense of dread that they’re going to ruin the source material on this one, the way Peter Jackson – who is a Geek God to me – did with The Hobbit trilogy.

The Lord of the Rings books were my gateway drug into all SciFi/Fantasy culture from the moment I read them in junior high. They imprinted on me in the same way the One Ring did to Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo. They became my obsession. I bought LOTRs calendars, just for the artwork. I couldn’t cut through the woods behind the elementary school on the way back from my buddy’s house without pretending I was in Fangorn Forest and there were Orcs about.

And I dreamed that maybe someday someone would be able to do justice to them in a movie version. But that was a long shot given the scope of Tolkien’s epic. But in the early 2000s, Jackson delivered. With all the valor of Aragorn, the skills of Legolas and the wisdom of Gandalf the Grey, he delivered. A near-perfect adaptation, both in the way it conveyed the massive scale of the saga and the small, interpersonal stories at the center of it. I’ll fight any man who says I’m disrespecting Star Wars Episodes IV-VI when I say this, but LOTRs is the best movie trilogy ever made.

And The Hobbit was an abomination. A great kids’ novel that should have been maybe a 2 1/2 hour movie, stretched into like 11 hours of watered down, terrible story telling. Jackson admits as much in the DVD extras, saying how they were making the movies up as they went along. Just improvising fight scenes and dialogue out of their asses on the spot, with no advanced planning like they had with the first trilogy.

So therein lies the dilemma. If Amazon is going to keep this to some little side stories set in Middle Earth, some Hobbit tales and Dwarf adventures and Elves fighting dragons or whatever that do no harm to the original masterpiece, I’m in. There’s room for that, in the way Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t interfere with the MCU and Rogue One actually made Star Wars: A New Hope make more sense. So if they stick to something along those lines, maybe turn it into a Game of Thrones-type thing set in that realm, they can have my sword, my bow and my axe. Just keep your hands off my precious.