Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he wanted his company to have the next Game of Thrones. So much so that he mandated a huge programming shift at the company. That must have been fun to hear for anyone currently working on an Amazon show. Now, it appears they’ve found their series: The Lord of the Rings. It’s so obvious and market research-driven, it seems almost impossible that a human was involved at all in the decision.Amazon announced in a press release that the company acquired the global television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s series of fantasy novels, and has committed to multiple seasons. That’s great news because as you know, the number one complaint about Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was that the movies weren’t long enough. How do they plan to pad out the story? By telling new storylines that precede the events of the trilogy. So does this include The Hobbit or not? If it does, then there is at least one potentially exciting thing about this news. If it leads to Amazon giving us a better Hobbit adaptation, that might make all this worth it. There, I’ve found one nice thing to say about it.Look, I love Lord of the Rings. The books and the movies. I’m not saying those movies were perfect, nor did they have everything I wanted to see from the books. They were the best movie adaptations we were going to get. When you turn a book into a movie, some things have to get cut. Changes have to happen if the story is going to work in a new medium. Things were cut to improve the pacing of the film, or because they were pointless diversions to begin with (looking at you, Tom Bombadil). Even at three hours each, the films moved at a quick pace and managed to hit all the most important moments from the books. If you wanted even more Middle Earth content, the extended editions contain most of the scenes the theatrical versions were missing. Sure, people criticized The Return of the King for having a million endings, but if any filmmaking accomplishment deserves a drawn-out, self-congratulatory finish, it was this one. The movies also had a near-perfect cast, ensuring that any actors in the new series are going to have their work cut out for them. How do you play Gandalf now, knowing that Ian McKellen has already given the definitive performance of the character?Ian McKellen (via New Line Cinema)Most importantly, the Lord of the Rings movies only needed to spend one film on each book, and the trilogy is much better for it. Look at The Hobbit movies. The studio took a standalone novel that was significantly shorter than any of the Lord of the Rings books, and stretched it out into three plodding movies. It was cool at first to see every single word of Tolkien’s book on the screen, but that got old real fast. When the movie took a single sentence about stone giants from the book and turned it into a 10-minute action sequence, it became clear we were watching very expensive filler material. That’s what I’m worried will happen with the series. It will have to stretch even the smallest offhand remarks out into huge sequences just to fill up time. It’ll dig into The Silmarillion and the History of Middle Earth for needless supplemental material, and try so desperately hard to convince us that it’s just as interesting as Frodo’s journey. Of course it’s not. If any of it was, Tolkien would have written it into The Lord of the Rings, or at the very least, he would have published it while he was still alive.Worst of all, it betrays a complete lack of understanding of what made Game of Thrones so popular. It’s not because people were hungry for an epic fantasy series, although that may have been a small part of it. Game of Thrones is successful because it subverts our expectations of what fantasy is. It gives us a world of magic and dragons, and makes it just as bleak as the real one. It’s a reaction to Tolkienesque fantasy tropes and remaking the originator of those tropes isn’t going to produce the same results. More importantly, Game of Thrones was something new. Outside of those who read the books, most viewers had never seen anything like it. No matter how much new material the new Amazon series adds, it’s always going to feel like a rehash. If Amazon wants their own Game of Thrones, they need to be looking for something no one has done yet. But that would require looking beyond the algorithm.At this time, there is no release date nor is there anyone to write, direct or produce the series. Amazon’s deal also the potential for spin-off’s because of course it does. I’m actually curious, does anybody want this? Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.