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New Escapist Column! On “The Rings of Power” and Post-Golden Age Television…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Rings of Power this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at what is effectively the biggest television show in the world, and what it says about the current state of television.

For the past twenty years, American television has gone through an era described as “the Golden Age”, one rooted in moral ambiguity and uncertainty in shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Shield. These were morally complex stories about difficult protagonists that invited the audience into murky liminal spaces. As such, it is interesting that The Rings of Power exists in marked contrast to that paradigm. Instead, it offers a very clear-cut black-and-white worldview.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Rings of Power” Balances Itself Between “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones”…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Rings of Power at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Friday morning while the show is on, looking at the Lord of the Rings prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

The Rings of Power is very obviously a prequel to the events of The Lord of the Rings, and so exists in the shadow of Peter Jackson’s earlier cinematic adaptation. However, it emerges into a very different landscape, twenty years later. Audience expectations have shifted, along with their relationship to the larger fantasy genre. The Rings of Power asks what it means to be a Lord of the Rings prequel in a post-Game of Thrones world, and finds itself navigating the boundaries that have been reset.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.