Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Why is The Rings of Power Boring?

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 15, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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Thomas Mirus, James Majewski, and Nathan Douglas discuss the new Amazon series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The show thus far is not so much offensive as it is bland in ways similar to much popular film and television today. This discussion attempts to understand why the show generally fails to move, focusing especially on its frequent small-mindedness or arbitrariness in characterization and writing, and on its habit of “telegraphing” or signalling emotion rather than genuinely conveying it.

(We apologize for the lip-syncing problems in this episode!)

Topics and timestamps:

0:00 Introduction

3:27 The “Game-of-Thronesification” of character motivation

9:34 Galadriel, Valinor, and the elves’ artistic motivations

18:01 A graceless Galadriel and small-minded writing

29:02 Contrasting performances: Galadriel vs. Elrond

35:21 Failure to trust that virtue is interesting

37:59 “IT’S A SNOW TROOOOOOLL!” The “John-Wickification” of action

41:00 Generic tough girl face; telegraphing emotion rather than living it

52:44 Arbitrary conflict and fussy dwarves

59:06 Starting at level 1: the “video-gamification” of character development

1:06:00 Too much harfoot-talk: cliché TV dialogue with a hobbity skin

1:15:09 The political conversation around the show

1:25:40 Shallow and arbitrary diversity is self-defeating

1:37:07 Erasing womanhood in the pursuit of “strong female characters”


Read Nathan Douglas’s film writing here

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission.

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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