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Random TV Thoughts: The Lazarus Project, House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power behind the cut…
The Lazarus Project
I loved this British scifi tv series! Guaranteed British quality tv series! I’ve waited a long time for this since it was announced, but somehow I missed that it’s name had been changed from Extinction to The Lazarus Project at some point, so I’m only watching it now. Scifi, action and drama asking moral questions & being murky. I love it that it looks at the questions of what it means and when to turn back time to save the world from extinction, and the cost on the persons who remember what has been before and the cost of personal as well as even worldwide losses they have to endure, or the hard work of reliving the same harrowing, sometimes, oftentimes, torturous events over and over and over again in trying to find a working solution. I did feel that the middle episodes (4-6) dragged a little bit as far as Paapa Essiedu’s character goes, but the exploration of the other characters evens it out a lot and then it picks up again with episode 7. I think there’s going to be a second series which I’m looking forward to very much! I hope series two make more use of the other two members of the team (the Dane and the blond girl) and we get to know them better too.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power
First, I haven’t read any of the books, and have only seen Peter Jackson’s movies, and most that I know of The Lord Of The Rings comes from those films. I haven’t read much LOTR fanfic, only a handful, but I know a lot of names and terms from fandom osmosis but have no solid knowledge about what/who they are and whether they’re important and why or why not. I tried to read The Lord Of The Rings (only the first book) 20+ years ago, but didn’t make it through and have forgotten everything I read. So with that in mind…
This show is incredibly beautifully shot, just like the Peter Jackson trilogy is. The scenery is to die for, so many fabulous vistas both CGI and natural – mountains, vales, sea, fantasy cities such as Moria in all its glory and the Elven cities. Just, give me all the scenery porn and I’m a happy gal!
I’m not really feeling most of the characters – I feel like I have trouble connecting with them because whenever there’s someone I think I could like and will be notable going forward, they get killed. Where as the Meteor Man I don’t care about all, and the Harfoots bore me, so whenever the scenes center on the portion of the story, I’m like “okay, let’s go do something interesting already!”. I’ve read that the Meteor Man could be Gandalf and because I didn’t like Ian McKellen’s Gandalf or Ian McKellen (he’s a good actor but not suited for LOTR or Magneto) so that just further reduces my interest in these scenes.
My favorite character scenes so far (1×04) have been with the Darwes. I feel like their characteristics are much more thought out and expressed than any of the others. I love Disa and Durin is good too!
I want to like the Elves… Especially Galadriel and Elrond but I’m having a hard time accepting that these are the same characters that Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving played. Their Galadriel and Elrond were easily my faves in the Peter Jackson movies, and my fave actors in them as well. It doesn’t help that Galadriel’s actress only shows one expression and emotion so far IMHO (determination). Although watching the 4th episode I had better time! Galadriel and Elrond have turned into sort of OC random elves in my head instead of Galadriel and Elrond, so I had easier time to believing in them.
I like the Numenor scenes, love seeing Cynthia Addai-Robinson again and I LOVE her jewellery hair-dresses! The city is beautiful. Although I was puzzled about the mystery around Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s character’s (Miriel? I should check her name) father – a couple of times a scene was shot so that the father wasn’t shown/was circled around to slowly and mysteriously the way tv and films do when there’s a twist such as the character is a corpse or a monster and it’s a revelation. Here’s the twist is that the character is… sick and bed-ridden? Like everyone says he is? That was weird. Maybe I just missed something. The Numenor part of the series is my favorite, and I wouldn’t mind spending the entire rest of the series there! But I guess that won’t happen.
Also the Elven males’ short hair-dos (wigs, presumably?) look absolutely ridiculous! Especially Celebrimbor’s. They take me out of the story every time. The hair-dos looks like those photos in the books of hair models the hair dressers used to have for browsing & inspiration when I was growing up! And I’ve always tought Tolkien’s Elves have long hair? Although I’ve seen the actor who plays Celebrimbor in a lot of British tv shows and I can’t imagine him with long hair…
One big thing that bothers me is that there are so many scenes in each episode where I feel like I should know who this person is, what this term means, why this is an import omen… and I don’t because the story hasn’t gotten there yet, having only passing familiarity with the source material. Like when that new metal Mithril was introduced or character of Isildur – the term Mithril is familiar to me, I know it’s from LOTR but I haven’t know who or what it is or I still don’t know what it means. But the scene played out like the viewer should immediately go “Ooh! They found Mithril/this is Isildur which means this and that and has this and those repercussions X time from now!”. The series is full of moments like this for me, and I think there’s something off about how they’re doing that. It doesn’t feel like just a nod to those already in the know – it feels like if you don’t already know what this means, you don’t really matter. Or at least that’s how if feels to me, a very casual viewer. Maybe the series isn’t intended for casual viewers??
All in all, what’s aired so far is okay as far as I’m concerned but in a popcorn-flick kinda way! The story-telling isn’t wowing me so far. The scenery porn is wowing me! The series itself in general is visually very pretty! But the scenery is honestly the main reason why I’m sticking with the series so far but I can imagine it tipping over a point with those negative-to-me bits where I lose interest and quit watching.
House Of The Dragon
First of all I’m very happy I decided to cap House of the Dragon! It’s my most popular gallery and has gotten more views and bandwidth used in just over a month than many of my sites ever did. Also, it’s a novel experience to be there at the start of a new fandom!
I’m enjoying returning back to ASOIAF world! I love seeing more of The Red Keep, the King’s Landing and other areas. So far I’ve liked what I’ve seen – I like the politicking, scheming and the occasional battle. Helps that I’m familiar with pretty much all the actors playing grown-up characters and like them. Although I’m surprised how well Matt Smith is fitting the character of Daemon! I didn’t think he would be right one to play that character. He’s perfect as a chaos prince! The only actor so far I’m questioning is Milly Alcock who plays the teenage Rhaenyra. She’s so expressionless most of the time in her interactions with other characters that it’s like it’s just a statue there – but then in a few interactions with yet other characters (especially in 1×03 with the Kingsguard while they’re out in the woods) where she gets to show e-motion instead of being expressionless, she’s much freer and livelier and feels like a real person. So I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I also think that for a princess who presumably has grown up knowing and understanding the woman’s place in this world, Rhaenyra seems remarkably keen on blaming her friend Alicent for daring to have married Rhaenyra’s father who is the bloody King – which means, forced to marry the King, actually, by the said King and Alicent’s father. But she’s still a teenager so I guess that explains it. And then later Alicent reaction & feeling betrayed by Rhaenyra not telling her took her bodyguard to bed is overly dramatic too IMHO
The pacing has been odd – there are time jumps when you least expect them and a lot of things happen off screen that you’d expect to see on screen in an another show. Like when Viserys announced his marriage to Alicent and we got reaction shots of both Alicent and Rhaenyra but no dialogue and I think then the episode ended, if I remember correctly. The next episode enough time had passed that Viserys and Alicent had been already married long enough for her to bear a child and that child being like 1 year old or something. So 2-3 years maybe? That’s my biggest complaint – how quickly things are moving. I’d have loved more time with many of the characters such as Daemon’s wife (2 minutes of screentime before she was killed off), and the pacing would benefit from more exploration of any of the major shifts in personal and political situations. Honestly everything feels kinda rushed.
And apparently, going from Rhaenyra and Alicent’s behaviour towards each other, their friendship ended at that marriage announcement and Rhaenyra is really cold towards Alicent. But apparently there’s feelings of betrayal and feelings that there should still be trust between them and things and stuff, from the fews short scenes we get in later episodes? I say apparently because we never actually see how the two faired after the marriage announcement because all the fallout was skipped. So I say apparently because in the latest episode Alicent’s reaction of declaring war on Rhaenyra with that emerald gown is so over the top. I also feel like we don’t actually get to know Alicent – we only know that she does what her father tells her to: get close to the King, marry the King, birth heirs to the King. She doesn’t seem to be into her children, she isn’t into the King, she lost her friend when she married the King. That’s all we know. She may or may not be/have been in love with Rhaenyra, which if true, is maybe the only thing to explain her over-reaction to Rhaenyra taking a lover. Unless she’s very devout (she’s shown praying once, I think) that that’s why unmarried sex disgusts her. I really hope the show explore’s Alicent’s character more going forward!
I’m like the show a lot more than I thought even with the faults! I’m enjoying the political intrugue and machinations, I don’t miss physical battles at all. But I’d like to see more of the dragons – for a story about dragon riders, there’s been remarkably little about dragons! I wish they’d explore more the relationship between a dragon rider and their dragon.
Ahing that I’m curious about is Daemon’s dragon – why is he so differently built from the other dragons seen in Game Of Thrones and even in this show? I supposed I could google it, but I’m hoping for an in-series explanation/information.
I hope we get lots more of Rhaenys! She gave some interesting truths and straight talk to Rhaenyra in an early episode.
I’m both amused and miffed by the opening music – that they were so slazy and creedy they couldn’t be bothered to create music for the theme. But every time an episode starts and episode starts I’m thrown right back into Game ff Thrones world which is fine by me LOL
Oh, and The Iron Throne, the actual chair, is bloody funny – by all means, have a throne which slices and dices your royal self when you sit on it, leading you to literally rot from your unhealing, infected wounds! Nothing like a throne that slices the king of the realm into ribbons! LOL
All in all I’m enjoying the show a lot! It’s my favorite right now, and I’m happy with the views my gallery is getting! Somehow Sunday always comes so quickly now – I watch and cap the new episode on Monday/Tuesday, watch the view counters go up so much the next several days and suddenly it’s Sunday again! I’m having fun!