Assuming Amazon is the Network to take on the show: Worried or Excited?


#1

It looks highly likely that Amazon is working on developing the show, based on what has been reported and rumored. So given that, what worries or exites you most about Amazon being the network?

What worries Narg the most is the LotR’s deal Amazon did with the Tolkien estate. They not only paid an estimated $250 Million for just the rights, but they also committed to at least 5 season with each season estimated to have a budget of around $150M. Given the money involved there is no doubt that they expect this show to be their flagship over the next decade.

Amazon’s budget for original content though is in the billions each year, so $150M is still only a small slice of the overall pie, but will they be willing to invest the same amount in “The Wheel of Time”? If they don’t, will “Wheel of Time” come off looking like LotR’s poorer cousin? Narg used to think, WoT could get away with 5-7 Million per episode, but TV show budgets have been ballooning over the last few years and GoT’s final season is estimated to be up to $15M per episode. At a minimum WoT might need at least $10M per episode. Anything less and the visual production values might turn people off before the story can hook them.

Another question is, does Amazon actually want to have both shows on air? Could they have taken up the option to air WoT just to stop someone else from doing so? As far as we know Sony Pictures Television is still the production studio and one would assume there is some sort of use it or lose it clause as Sony only makes money if they actually produce something. How long that lasts for, could determine how long we have to wait before we find out if Amazon is actually going to Greenlight the show. They could just sit on it and let their option lapse.

Amazon could also be hedging their bets by doing both shows. While there is little doubt that the LotR’s spinoff show will attract viewers just on the name recognition alone, the question is, will it actually do more/be better than the average TV show? It’s unlikely any fantasy of Sci-fi show that follows GoT will be able to match it’s numbers. Westworld for example only had 3 million viewers for it’s season two premiere compared to 16 million for the finale episode of GoT last year. Would Amazon be happy with that given their huge upfront investment? Most likely not, but they’ll be stuck with it for at least 5 years and given that the content of the shows will be new material from new writers and not a direct adaptation of Tolkien’s own words, then there is a possibility that it could bomb big time after the initial excitement wears off. WoT on the other hand, assuming Rafe remains fairly faithful to the books, has a proven story line that has been proven to be both addictive and compelling. As long as the writers don’t go down the “Legend of the Seeker” or “Shannara” route and the production values are high, then there is a good chance that WoT could outperform the Middle Earth show and help offset a poorer than expected performance by it.

What excites Narg the most, is that assuming Amazon, don’t sit on the show or show favoritism, we should see “Wheel of Time” hit our screens before the Middle Earth based show. We know from Harriet, that a script has been done. Even if it’s just for the first episode and a season one outline, that’s still far ahead of where the LotR’s show is at. As far as we know they don’t even have a writer attached to the project yet. If Amazon greenlight the show anytime soon, it could also get out before the next wave of fantasy shows from other networks(Witcher, Kingkiller Chronicles), which will give it some room to nab an audience share before the field becomes overcrowded.

Anyways Narg has rambled long enough. Your turn :wink:


#2

I think they are willing to develop and fund the shows. One of the reason’s for this is the worry that studios like Disney will eventually pull all their movies from platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, and market them on their own streaming sites. Disney is already in the process of doing this now. For all the shows that Netflix is putting out their original content is really hit and miss. The quality is all over the board, and they don’t really do a good job of marketing that new content. Amazon seems to be hitting for the fences with Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, and Dark Tower to name a few big name shows they reportedly have in production. These are big name properties with built in fan base that will garner a lot of attention once an announcement is made.

I believe that Amazon’s goal with these shows are to keep people signed up for the long term. Right now I can sign up for CBS All Access and watch the entire first season of Star Trek Discovery, then let my subscription expire until next season. I think Amazon is aiming not at a flagship show, but flag pole shows, several of them that will be spaced out over the course of the year and keep people signed up because new popular content is always on the horizon. Lord of the Rings leads to Wheel of Time which leads to Dark Tower, which leads to another property. There is a lot of overlap in these fandoms, and that isn’t including the non-reading Game of Thrones fans who will be looking for similar content after the next season.

Another reason for Amazon to go all in on these adaptions is that they will also benefit from the increased book sales and merchandise that each of these franchises will bring to the table as well. The only question left really isn’t whether they have the money, but if they can pull it off. Lets hope they can.


#3

I’m slightly worried that Amazon bought the rights to WoT more as a way to stop some other studio being able to take it. Given they have the TV right to the Lord of the Rings, which are now classic books as well as classic movies, and The Dark Tower, which just had its own blockbuster movie come out, that they don’t want a new fantasy style to take over ratings


#4

I don’t think so. Amazon has put forward a huge, massive budget that can afford many of these shows. No doubt if the Wheel of Time script isn’t good that they will pass on it, but that’s kind of what we want as fans, in my opinion of course. I don’t want a show if it’s going to drive people away from the source material. I only want a show produced if it excites non-readers to go out and buy the books and live through the words of Robert Jordan. Of course, I want an awesome live series.

I think it really comes down to the writers, directors, and producers understanding their audience. TWoT is written almost as Young Adult novels, but most fans are adults now, and want a more adult series. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think I am correct. I don’t necessarily need gratuity sex and nudity scenes, but I would love the Trollics and dark friends to have me on the edge of my seats as almost watching a horror show. Not gory, but definitely suspenseful.