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Rings of Power: A New Thread to Rule them All


Ser Drewy
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11 minutes ago, IFR said:

I'm not sure it's worth much. She-Hulk has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Obi-Wan Kenobi has 80%. Considering that those two shows are so awful I think they may constitute as actual Hollywood war crimes, critics collectively are hardly to be trusted when it comes to putting a numerical value to their opinion.

Those are the "tomatometer" scores which only measure how many reviews are favorable or not.  It's a dichotomous variable as opposed to an ordinal one like zero to five stars.  Basically, an approval rating.

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6 minutes ago, DMC said:

Those are the "tomatometer" scores which only measure how many reviews are favorable or not.  It's a dichotomous variable as opposed to an ordinal one like zero to five stars.  Basically, an approval rating.

Sure, I know.

I also would point out metacritic, which gives a score average. She-Hulk is at 67 and Obi-Wan is at 73, which compares favorably to Sandman and House of the Dragon.

Opinions are subjective, of course, but Obi-Wan Kenobi for me (and the one episode of She-Hulk I saw, to a somewhat lesser extent) are perfectly watchable if the intent is to gather with friends and ridicule the numerous bits of lazy writing and general absurdity, but to be compared seriously to shows where there seems to be actual thought put into them...well, I feel like there's some substance to my mistrust of the opinion of critics (when quantified).

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Sepinwall and James Poniewozik are both united in that they think The Rings of Power is a better show than House of the Dragon, which is an interesting take, though Sepinwall being down on HotD still feels a bit odd (his main concern is that Smith isn't very good, which I would say is also palpably untrue, and the show doesn't  have any levity to lighten the mood, which I do agree with to some extent).

I haven't seen anything from Hibberd yet, but the fact that someone else reviewed it makes me think he decided not to cover it.

Edited by Werthead
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https://www.vulture.com/article/lord-of-the-rings-the-rings-of-power-prime-video-series-review.html

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.... The whole kit and caboodle is simply too big to be a failure. The story is expansive enough to fill up the show’s huge map, and where its fantasy premises promise impressive set pieces, like a battle with an ice troll or ships sailing into the Undying Lands, The Rings of Power lives up to those promises. Its emotional core, though simplistic, is just as big and openhearted. It is a forthrightly sincere show, with no room for cynicism. Everything is about Friendship or Honor or Greed or Strength, and it’d be so easy for it all to read as completely goofy if it were not utterly committed to that sincerity in every single beat. Even if that kind of unflinching earnestness isn’t to your taste, it’s impossible to say the show doesn’t achieve the emotional and tonal palette it set out to create.

At the same time, every aspect of The Rings of Power’s immensity is also a steely-eyed refusal to be ignored, an effort to ram itself past the split attentions of Peak TV through sheer, undeniable size. It seeks to consume all the oxygen. It is storytelling by monetary brute force. It is TV that has no interest in being TV — a quality I suspect will extend to embracing the exhausting “eight-hour movie” style of plotting, though I would be happy to watch episodes beyond the first two and be proven wrong. It is TV that would be best seen in a theater, TV that far outstrips the scope and resources of any other fantasy series (even The Wheel of Time, which seems to have been sent out as Prime’s Lord of the Rings trial balloon and now looks sweetly amateurish by comparison). It is TV by virtue of being an audiovisual production released in serialized episodes, but at what point is a television show so big and so uninterested in being TV-shaped that it essentially becomes another species? Years ago, the New York Times’ James Poniewozik suggested that streaming TV was becoming its own genre. The Rings of Power feels like the clearest, most unequivocal realization of that claim, the point at which a streaming series hits escape velocity from the rest of TV and floats off into becoming its own thing, with its own aesthetic values and formal models. Is it even right to call it streaming TV? I’m not sure. Streaming serials, maybe. But if creators are so insistent that eight-hour movies are the model they’re chasing, maybe it would be better to just call titles like this “slow-ass movies” and be done with it. ....

 

 

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I'm confused. All the other reviews I've read say they saw 2 episodes to review from, but Robert Lloyd in his LA Times review has seen six of the eight. Anyone else reviewing from all six? FWIW, his review is rated a 50 of 100 by Metacritic.

I find Sepinwall's review of HotD very odd but it basically seems that after becoming increasingly down on GoT he holds a residual distaste for what GoT became, thinks HotD is more of the same, and so would rather have something very different in that world  (he'll like Dunk & Egg, I figure, if that goes forward) and if he doesn't get it he's not going to like it. In that sense, he's marching to the beat of a different drummer from the mainstream audience.

Edited by Ran
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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

his main concern is that Smith isn't very good...

But that's absolute nonsense. People can argue whether Matt Smith is the right actor for the role, but nobody can question his acting ability. Speaking only for myself, I still don't think he looks the part, but he is gradually winning me over purely with his performance.

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37 minutes ago, Ran said:

I'm confused. All the other reviews I've read say they saw 2 episodes to review from, but Robert Lloyd in his LA Times review has seen six of the eight. Anyone else reviewing from all six? FWIW, his review is rated a 50 of 100 by Metacritic.

That came across as more of a 70-ish review. 50 seems unduly harsh.

But interesting catch on the 6 episodes thing. Even the papers Bezos owned only seem to have gotten 2, so I wonder what's going on there.

Unless they have gotten 6 and are only allowed to review the first 2 at this juncture, and maybe this guy didn't get the memo.

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8 hours ago, IFR said:

I'm not sure it's worth much. She-Hulk has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Obi-Wan Kenobi has 80%. Considering that those two shows are so awful I think they may constitute as actual Hollywood war crimes, critics collectively are hardly to be trusted when it comes to putting a numerical value to their opinion

The tomatometer is utter nonsense, as a score. It is very binary, and reviews are almost always more than "positive" or "negative". 100% on Rotten Tomatoes means most reviewers don't think the show is awful, at best. 

6 hours ago, Ran said:

I find Sepinwall's review of HotD very odd but it basically seems that after becoming increasingly down on GoT he holds a residual distaste for what GoT became, thinks HotD is more of the same, and so would rather have something very different in that world  (he'll like Dunk & Egg, I figure, if that goes forward) and if he doesn't get it he's not going to like it. In that sense, he's marching to the beat of a different drummer from the mainstream audience.

I dunno if he is. I thought I'd be alone in my distaste for HotD, but every one of my friends, as well as colleagues at work, feel ho hum at best, and not because GoT ended badly but because no one is in the mood for the relentless dourness of the show. Rich and powerful people doing awful things to remain rich and powerful isn't exactly a draw, post-pandemic. And I think that's reflected in the actual content of the reviews of the show, too. 

5 hours ago, Ser Drewy said:

From the reviews, both the positive and less-so, it does seem like Payne and McKay have tried really hard to make this resemble LOTR (and PJ's trilogy) as much as they possibly can. 

That makes me cautiously optimistic that if I go in without expecting fidelity to the books, I'll get a reasonably entertaining show that is beautifully shot, at least. I'll settle for that. It's what I'd hoped Wheel of Time would become. 

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3 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

I dunno if he is.

About his being down on GoT? He definitely was. The show migrated downward and eventually entirely out of his yearly top shows listing as it progressed, and in the end he was fairly critical. His bit in his review about how he wants a show focused on just a Tyrion- or Arya-type charater suggests not only does he want something lighter, he wants something very different from the paradigm of familial politics and warfare in the setting.

Hence why I suspect he'll be likelier to enjoy a Dunk & Egg series. But the audience so far seems hungry for "more GoT-paradigm stuff", and that the show is certainly giving.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Firebrand Jace said:

I like that HotD has no Joss Wheedon dialogue.

I want characters to have shit to say when actors open their mouths.

I agree. We have too much Marvel-flavored stuff as is.

11 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

But that's absolute nonsense. People can argue whether Matt Smith is the right actor for the role, but nobody can question his acting ability. Speaking only for myself, I still don't think he looks the part, but he is gradually winning me over purely with his performance.

When I heard he was cast, I was a bit puzzled because he doesn't look at all like the Daemon I had in my head. Right now I'm completely on board however, as he's stolen every scene he was in. I think he'll do great things for a character that is more or less a cipher in Fire & Blood.

 

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11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

The tomatometer is utter nonsense, as a score. It is very binary, and reviews are almost always more than "positive" or "negative". 100% on Rotten Tomatoes means most reviewers don't think the show is awful, at best. 

DMC also pointed this out earlier. I'm aware of how Rotten Tomatoes scores work.

The point being that whether it's in terms of approval or disapproval, or an actual average (such as metacritic) I find that attributing a numerical value to the collective opinion of critics is misleading, and I've given a few brief examples of why (there are many, many more occasions where I find critics grossly overrate or underrate content: see the Marvel oeuvre for several instances).

Where critics are useful is that they will go into extensive detail regarding their opinion. This allows the individual a more detailed preview of whether they will like or dislike a show - not because the critic likes or dislikes something themselves, but by paying attention to why they formed that impression. For me negative reviews are often a selling point, and positive reviews turn me away from something.

Critics do not in any way have a special insight on what makes content "good". Only you can decide for yourself what is good.

11 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

I dunno if he is. I thought I'd be alone in my distaste for HotD, but every one of my friends, as well as colleagues at work, feel ho hum at best, and not because GoT ended badly but because no one is in the mood for the relentless dourness of the show. Rich and powerful people doing awful things to remain rich and powerful isn't exactly a draw, post-pandemic. And I think that's reflected in the actual content of the reviews of the show, too

I suppose we'll see how the ratings game pans out for both shows.

I hope you are wrong. I'm quite enjoying Hot D. Cynicism alone isn't what makes it good. An interesting plot with dynamic characters who seem consistent (so far) make it good.

That said, naive optimism is hard to do right, and there are so many examples of failures out there. Inhumanly good heroes such as has populated the fantasy genre for much of its existence is difficult to relate to because humans are pretty far removed from being good. I mean, we are casually at war with the world, destroying it and causing mass extinction, and enslaving billions of other creatures in miserable conditions for our own pleasure. There are genocides, apartheid and an extensive list of other atrocities being committed as we speak. We are all thoroughly Sauron's minions if anything.

It is possible to make something entertaining from naive optimism. But I continue to be skeptical that Rings of Power has what it takes.

Edited by IFR
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51 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

I think this review can be summed up by the following quote:

Quote

I have a couple of small reservations. On occasion, there is a whiff of “smell-the-fart” acting, which is perhaps hard to avoid when every other line is a poker-faced aphorism such as: “A dog may bark at the moon, but he cannot bring it down.” The pace, too, is a little all-or-nothing. It either races through astonishing action scenes, or lingers on a single conversation or meaningful look. But these are quibbles and, in the end, the spectacle wins.

If bad writing is a minor quibble because the critic is so busy worshiping Bezos' bank account, I think the critic and I are looking for different things in a show. 

And interestingly, The Guardian critic is basically making the same observations as the Murrel review, but Murrel seems to desire actual substance in the show.

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