TV

The Rings of Power Star Responds to Negative Season 1 Feedback


Exclusive: The Rings of Power star Morfydd Clark opens up about the reaction to season one of the Lord of the Rings series.

Elrond and Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Photo: Amazon Prime Video

While Amazon Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power managed to wrap filming on its second season amid an ongoing writers strike that’s delayed productions elsewhere, the show hasn’t really enjoyed the victory lap it hoped in 2023. A tepid response to season 1, both from fans and critics, has put even more pressure on a show that was already carrying massive expectations on its shoulders due to both its beloved source material and its reportedly $1 billion price tag.

In April, viewership data released by THR revealed that only 37 percent of US and 45 percent of international audiences actually watched the first season of The Rings of Power all the way through, a less than desirable result for a show that is said to be the most expensive ever produced. It suggests that, while early episodes attracted a large audience, the majority of viewers on both sides of the pond lost interest in the show long before the season finale that set up what season 2 will be about.

At the time, Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke responded to THR’s story by saying that the “desire to paint the show as anything less than a success — it’s not reflective of any conversation I’m having internally.” In her statement, she also promised a second season with “more dramatic story turns,” calling it “a huge opportunity for us. The first season required a lot of setting up.”

In other words, Salke and Amazon seem acutely aware of one of the biggest issues fans and critics had with the first season: the slow, barebones, and exposition-heavy story. It’s safe to say that Lord of the Rings fans expecting the epic battles and larger-than-life villains found in the Peter Jackson movies were left sorely disappointed by this TV reimaging of Tolkien’s world. Yes, you can see every single cent of The Rings of Power‘s substantial budget on screen — in its impressive sets and costume design, in the digital effects and pyrotechnics of later episodes — but perhaps Amazon put a little too much emphasis on recapturing the look and feel of the Jackson movies and not enough on plotting. Despite a very talented cast that absolutely owned Tolkien’s characters (as well as the original ones created for the series), there sometimes just wasn’t enough for the peoples of Middle-earth to do on The Rings of Power season 1.

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