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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday November 14 2017, @10:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the Bilbo-and-Frodo-and-Gandalf,-oh-my! dept.

From Deadline.com:

In its quest to launch a hit fantasy series of the caliber of Game of Thrones, Amazon has closed a massive deal, said to be close to $250 million, to acquire the global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The streaming service has given a multi-season commitment to a LOTR series in the pact, which also includes a potential spin-off series.

The LOTR original series, a prequel to Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which produced the hugely successful LOTR movie franchise.

No details about the deal were disclosed but it believed to be dwarfing any TV series pact to date with a whopping price tag attached.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:20PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:20PM (#597052)

    The article was scant on detail, but amazon's original content is available for streaming on amazon right? Have they purchased a TV network?

    What qualifies this series as "TV"? The mere fact that its episodic video content?

    Are podcast series "TV" now?

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by isostatic on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:23PM

      by isostatic (365) on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:23PM (#597053) Journal

      What qualifies this series as "TV"?

      The transmission of dynamic or sometimes static images, generally with accompanying sound, via electric or electromagnetic signals?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @12:21AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @12:21AM (#597068)

      Are podcast series "TV" now?

      Is Youtube less a television because there's no tube?

  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:25PM (17 children)

    by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:25PM (#597056)

    I grew up reading the books, and the movies didn't nail it 100% to be kind. They've already done the Hobbit and LOTR, and beyond trying to nail it 100% again, I don't think they're going to accomplish much. I don't believe you could try something like that with a normal TV budget. It would cost as much per episode as Carnival, and if it cost any less, wouldn't deliver the production quality we already got used to in the movies. That, and what actors? Be really hard to follow up on some of them. Sean Astin is fairly forgettable, but Gimli, Aragorn, and Gandalf are already cemented.

    I also seem to recall somebody summing up the books like so, "three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano". I love the books, but honestly cringe at hearing a TV adaptation in the works.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Arik on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:48PM

      by Arik (4543) on Tuesday November 14 2017, @11:48PM (#597062) Journal
      I don't think they're even going to try that.

      The article I read on this a few weeks back indicated they were pursuing this because they envied GoT, and thought the LoTR books would give them enough pre-written material to base their GoT killer on. Roughly paraphrased. The clear implication was they planned to sex it up to match GoT standards.

      So, if that's anything like accurate, I'm not interested. GoT was a trashy series of books, so the trashy screenplay fits, and obviously a lot of people like it.

      But LoTR sexed up to try and compete with it? That would not be in any way true to JRR, just cannibalizing his text and rewriting it badly in an attempt to woo the audience of another show. Sad.

      --
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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:18AM (1 child)

      by looorg (578) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:18AM (#597082)

      I also seem to recall somebody summing up the books like so, "three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano". I love the books, but honestly cringe at hearing a TV adaptation in the works.

      That is a line from the movie Clerks II; Randal Graves: Oh, I'm crazy? Those fuckin' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano.

      That said. I guess it could be good. I'll probably watch it. I'm just afraid the pitch meeting went something like .. OMGZOR LOTR MOVIES ... GAMES OF THRONES ... DRAGONS ... EPIC .... oh sweet here is a bazzllion buckaros .. go make content for us now ...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:07AM (#597166)

        That was THE pitch, not a meeting.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:56AM (4 children)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:56AM (#597096) Journal

      I grew up reading the books, and the movies didn't nail it 100% to be kind.

      "Nailing it" can never be done. The books are an individual experience in your mind. You will never be satisfied accepting someone else's version of it.

      Ask 500 people who saw these films and they will tell you they were awesome, and probably can't be improved upon, and should probably just be left alone.
      I consider that "Nailed". I consider Jackson's career successfully completed. There's not much he can or need do to improve on this.

      There is this unfortunate tendency in Hollywood to never leave well finished alone. Always want to screw it up, cheapen it, trying to wring more money out of it rather than pick up a new book (there is no shortage of them) and start over. There are literally thousands of random sifi and fantasy series that could serve as a vehicle for a new franchise. I see no reason to drive this Bently over the cliff of repetition.

      --
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      • (Score: 4, Informative) by edIII on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:19AM (2 children)

        by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:19AM (#597121)

        No, I can accept somebody else's version of of what my brain fills in with my imagination. What I meant by nailing it, was just keeping to the damn book. Extremely large departures from the book, like adding a character and plot dynamic that didn't exist before, or entirely missing important events that happens in the book is hard to accept. Adaptation is part of the term film adaption, but you can take it to far and lose the essence of the book. LOTR and the Hobbit came close with some expendable elements, but still lost quite a bit of substance. It left me feeling parts of the story were missing. Plus, adding a new character rarely works, and in this case it didn't work.

        LOTR you need to keep to the damn books, or stick to the facts as they say.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:35AM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:35AM (#597127) Journal

          The books are inferior! They didn't even have cell phones and neither did the author! What savages!

          More hot nympho elves!!!

          TV adaptation in theory should allow for a more faithful retelling since a TV season is typically somewhere around 12-25 hours and the Jackson trilogy was around 9 (maybe a bit more after director's cuts).

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:03AM

            by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:03AM (#597164)

            so.. just *how many* of the battle scenes do you need to watch?

            LOTR was a boy's own adventure, with no girl-germs to mess it up. 12-15 hours of tv with boys camping, not washing and occasionally being slightly sensible, with a battle every one or two episodes would mean no one would even notice if it were played out of order!

            --
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      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:24AM

        by Arik (4543) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:24AM (#597145) Journal
        ""Nailing it" can never be done."

        Yeah no, that's a tiny kernel of truth exaggerated far beyond reality, as an excuse for shitty craft.

        It's certainly not easy to adapt a good book to the screen, but it's been done. Hollywood, today, never even tries.

        "Ask 500 people who saw these films and they will tell you they were awesome, and probably can't be improved upon, and should probably just be left alone."

        500 people who have never and would never read so much as a chapter of Tolkiens prose? Probably.

        My reaction was a bit different. I gave them points for exceeding my extremely low expectations, but not many points, because it really wasn't good. It just wasn't quite as awful as I expected.

        "There is this unfortunate tendency in Hollywood to never leave well finished alone. Always want to screw it up, cheapen it, trying to wring more money out of it rather than pick up a new book (there is no shortage of them) and start over. There are literally thousands of random sifi and fantasy series that could serve as a vehicle for a new franchise. I see no reason to drive this Bently over the cliff of repetition."

        The reason is simple incompetence. Hollywood has no craft left. There may be competent writers in the town but they certainly aren't working in the business. You might check the homeless shelters.
        --
        "This font is your font, you can't see my font."
    • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:02AM (3 children)

      by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:02AM (#597098) Homepage Journal

      But I saw all three movies because I wanted to see what happened in the end.

      --
      Remember: Soggy Jobs is your one stop shop for fake jobs that don't exist.
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:39AM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:39AM (#597154)

        The LotR books are a bit tedious, and definitely not written the way modern books would be.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @12:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @12:49PM (#597261)

          I wish the corporate overlords would stop beating dead horses and bring something refreshing to the big screen. I'd love to see an adaptation of Malazan Book of the Fallen [wikipedia.org]. I'm on the 8th book in the series now, and it remains still very interesting, even if Toll of the Hounds is a bit slow and plodding. My favorite so far has been the 5th book, Midnight Tides, which contains two characters, Udinaas and Tehol, who, even though they don't meet, have an extensive dialog on the nature of capitalism and wealth. I posted an excerpt of that book where the Crippled God gives a monologue that foreshadows the events in the 7th book, Reaper's Gale, which continues the themes of Midnight Tides to their inevitable conclusion of fascism.

          All this in a fairy story. LotR is basically World War 2. I think we need something like Malazan Book of the Fallen that has themes that are more relevant to the present situation in the world.

          Of course, everybody is too busy pigging out on 'member berries, hiding away from reality in the blanket of nostalgia. Something as contemporary as Malazan would threaten to burst the bubble of escapism.

          Oh... I should also mention. I'm certain feminists will hate Malazan because of how much gender equality there is. Girls chasing boys! Lorraine McFly would not approve!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @10:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @10:20AM (#597245)

        I think I'm about 15 years younger than you are, but I found the books great to read. It's true that I never read them a second time, and I don't feel the need to (I read Asimov for instance at least three times each or something like that. Hell, I read the full discworld series twice...).

    • (Score: 2) by Fluffeh on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:31AM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:31AM (#597107) Journal

      "three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano"

      Clerks II.

      Randal Graves: All right, look, there's only one "Return," okay, and it ain't "of the King," it's "of the Jedi."
      Hobbit Lover: Oh, Star Wars geek.
      Randal Graves: Oh, I'm the geek? Look at you two whipping out your preciouses.
      Elias: You'll have to excuse him, he's not "down" with the trilogy.
      Randal Graves: Oh, what the fuck happened to this world? There's only one trilogy, you fucking morons.
      Hobbit Lover: You know what, maybe we should start calling your friend Padme, because he loves Manakin Skywalker so much, right?
      [in robot voice]
      Hobbit Lover: Danger danger, my name is Anakin. My shitty acting is ruining saga.
      Elias: [chucking] Yea-Yeah, you're crazy, Jar-Jar.
      Randal Graves: Oh, I'm crazy? Those fuckin' hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a fucking volcano.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:37AM (3 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @04:37AM (#597153)

      I grew up reading the books, and the movies didn't nail it 100% to be kind.

      The LotR movies were excellent, but no, not quite 100%. But they were very good, though unfortunately the first one was the best, and the quality dropped a bit in #2, and even more in #3.

      The Hobbit movies weren't even close to 100%. Really, the Hobbit movies kinda ruined it all. So disappointing that they came from the same director too; at least if it was a different director like with the Aliens sequels, we could just discount them that way.

      That, and what actors? Be really hard to follow up on some of them. Sean Astin is fairly forgettable, but Gimli, Aragorn, and Gandalf are already cemented.

      That's a big problem. Sean Astin is irrelevant: this is supposed to be a prequel, so the hobbits we know wouldn't have any place in it, plus hobbits are short-lived creatures. However, Legolas and Gandalf are immortal, so if those characters appeared in this show it'd be a bit of a problem. Gimli too is old enough to possibly have a role. Aragorn at least is human, so you could replace him with a younger actor, but I'm pretty sure he really isn't supposed to have any significant role in Tolkein lore until FotR.

      Honestly, I can't imagine what this show would be about; there's no really great story written by Tolkein before LotR that could be adapted, except the Hobbit, which already has been. So are they just going to make up something in the same universe? Fill in the back-story on some plot point from LotR or Hobbit? Go all the way back to the Silmarillion and try to write an engaging character-based story from that material?

      • (Score: 2) by WalksOnDirt on Wednesday November 15 2017, @07:06AM (1 child)

        by WalksOnDirt (5854) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @07:06AM (#597185) Journal

        Hobbits generally lived longer than people, although not as long as Aragorn's line.

        If they wanted to start just before the Hobbit, there were Aragorn's adventures with the Dunadain. Or, you could go back farther and cover the Akallabeth. Of course, you wouldn't have JRR around to write the details, but that would just give modern writers a chance to show their quality.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:30PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:30PM (#597305)

          but that would just give modern writers a chance to show their quality.

          Yeah, good luck with that one.

          That's not to say that all modern writers suck (GoT has pretty good writing), but their overall track record isn't great.

          The other thing that's likely to happen is they'll write a pretty interesting story that follows a long "story arc", and then they'll cancel it halfway through suddenly. Most modern TV shows seem to follow either that format (e.g. Firefly), or they jump the shark after a few seasons when it becomes painfully obvious the writers were just making shit up as they went along, season by season (e.g., LOST and Battlestar Galactica).

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Wednesday November 15 2017, @08:54AM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @08:54AM (#597212)

        Honestly, I can't imagine what this show would be about; there's no really great story written by Tolkein before LotR that could be adapted, except the Hobbit, which already has been.

        Great stories in books do not always translate to great movies. However, Tolkien wrote books like the Silmarillion which were essentially light outlines of tales that could be greatly expanded to make a TV series. All they would need are competent writers...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:32AM (6 children)

    by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:32AM (#597086) Journal

    From the summary:

    The LOTR original series, a prequel to Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

    -- What Amazon wants a Tolkien fan to imagine when hearing "prequel" to LOTR:

    "Finally! I wonder what Age of Middle Earth it will focus on? Maybe someone's going to make the Silmarillion or maybe The Book of Lost Tales. Just imagine the stories of Beren and Luthien or Turin Turambar finally brought to life! Or maybe some tale about the High Kings of the Noldor, or maybe the stories of Numenor? Imagine... perhaps it will all begin with the Ainur singing the world into being!..."

    -- What Amazon will ultimately offer to Tolkien fans:

    An "original tale" of Bilbo's grandpa getting involved in some lame imitation of a Hobbit-like adventure, having some sort of crazy unnecessarily violent fight scenes, before being seduced by a hot nymphomaniac elf.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:54AM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:54AM (#597093)

      An "original tale" of Bilbo's grandpa getting involved in some lame imitation of a Hobbit-like adventure, having some sort of crazy unnecessarily violent fight scenes,

      Marvel but with Hobbits, you say? I think I'm gonna pass.

      being seduced by a hot nymphomaniac elf.

      Wake me when this episode comes up, please.
      I'll give it a search on TPB or whatever'll be the standard location of the time.
      But I doubt I'll keep it for longer than 1 month - waste of storage space is still a waste, even when the storage space is cheap.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:54AM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday November 15 2017, @01:54AM (#597095) Journal

      Ditch the rest but leave the hot nymphomaniac elf.

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    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:37AM (#597111)

      The Fellowship of the NuvaRing coming soon to a pornhub near you! Watch as the Dildo Slaggins, a diminutive resident of Hobbiton, along with trusty friends, such as Goddaril Bigstaff the wizard, Gimpli the dwarf, and Trilegolas the elf, make an epic journey deep into the Crack of Sumbytch to return the NuvaRing to the cleft from whence it came!

    • (Score: 2) by WalksOnDirt on Wednesday November 15 2017, @07:24AM

      by WalksOnDirt (5854) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @07:24AM (#597193) Journal

      Bilbo's grandfather? I don't think that Mungo had any ... wait, you must mean on his mother's side. Yeah, lots of stuff happened with old Gerontius Took.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:05PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15 2017, @02:05PM (#597277)

      My first thought was: "LotR Babies"

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:43PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 15 2017, @03:43PM (#597317)

    Here's hoping that the series will be the Elf of fantasy, then. Gimli needs Legolas!

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:30PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 15 2017, @05:30PM (#597367) Journal

    The Fall of Gondolin, tales from Numenor, Turambar, all of those would be good material for screen adaptation. But the announcement made it sound more like they were going to cover the period between the Hobbit and LOTR. I can't imagine what they'd fill that with. Hijinks with Tom Bombadil? Palace intrigue in Minas Tirith? Naked and afraid among the Wild Men?

    --
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