When Amazon announced that it had shilled out a king’s ransom to buy the television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, fans took very little time to rejoice before asking questions. How could Amazon possibly narrow down Tolkien’s world enough to make a coherent television show?
Amazon’s newly announced series is said to be a “prequel” to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings — and we know nothing else beyond that. So, confusion is understandable. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options.
Because Tolkien’s collected works span across such a vivid world and encompass so many themes and characters, Amazon’s possibilities are essentially endless. The creators at Amazon could either adapt one of the hundreds of potential stories directly from Tolkien’s works, or they could come up with something entirely original that just so happens to exist in Middle-earth and intersect with beloved characters.
In honor of the oddities found so often throughout Tolkien’s world, we thought we’d throw together some television pitches for Amazon ranging from the reasonable to the reasonably insane. Some of these are, admittedly, a little out there. But, come on, cooking shows are all the rage right now.
8. A total reboot of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit
7. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
Pre-Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil arrived at a land outside of the Old Forest; he set up a home and it eventually became known as his dominion. But how did he get there? Tom was wholly ignored in Jackson’s interpretation of LOTR, though he was a key player and is often a fan favorite character; his mysterious powers were thought by Gandalf to have a sort of dampening effect on the One Ring and its control over others. An exploration of his life and adventures before the events of LOTR would certainly be equally entertaining and telling.
6. The Real Elves of Mirkwood and Lothlórien
The elves are the most dramatic assholes in Middle-earth, so they’d be perfect for a Real Housewives-style television show. Don’t deny it; you know it’s true. Following various Wood-elf families throughout Mirkwood and Lothlórien, viewers would get an intimate look at the passive-aggressive infighting that goes on between the elves. Galadriel is the only one people wouldn’t talk shit about. The Season 1 finale would be all about King Thranduil’s complicated relationship with his son, Legolas, and would mostly consist of footage of tipsy palace servants giving the camera judgmental side-eyes.
5. A year in the life of the Great Eagles
The Great Eagles, guardians of Middle-earth and the king of Arda’s spies and confidants, have to have some of the best stories of all the creatures in Tolkien’s works. They can see through all matter outside of dark magic and save the heroes of Tolkien’s books time and time again. Let’s get an Owls of Ga’Hoole-style look into the lives of the Great Eagles, especially Gwaihir, who’s besties with Gandalf and pops up the most of all the Eagles.
4. Downton Abbey-style drama set exclusively in the Shire
The peaceful Hobbits of the Shire just love their family drama. That’s why they’d do so well in a Downton Abbey-style show that follows the lives of various families across the Shire. They would gossip and whisper about each other and try their hardest to hold onto their peaceful way of life as the world changed around them as the events of Lord of the Rings and the war approached.
3. Singing competition about the creation of Middle-earth
Tolkien’s legendarium details the Ainulindalë, the creation of Middle-earth by the Ainur, angelic beings who, essentially, sang Middle-earth into existence. The story is the first part of The Silmarillion, so you know it’s important to Tolkien’s greater works. The only problem is that no one was there to judge the Ainur for their vocal prowess. How do we know that they didn’t sound like a clowder of cats in heat or a dying whale? It could have been horrible. That’s why we need an expert panel of judges to rate the Ainur’s work; Middle-earth could have been that much better with some vocal training.
2. Literally nothing but dwarves feasting and singing
Imagine it: 24, hour-long episodes of a herd of dwarves traveling around Middle-earth and inundating various groups of men, elves, and hobbits with their company. The unwilling hosts then have to throw together a feast to keep the dwarves happy. The dwarves eat them out of house and home, singing and reciting poetry the whole time as they work their way through gallons of beer. Bonus points if the dwarves can even get through the doors of an elf’s house.
1. Cooking show hosted by Samwise Gamgee where the dishes are all potato based
“Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew,” Sam famously said of his one true love, potatoes, in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. “Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.” Sam Gamgee would be the perfect host for a Middle-earth cooking show, utterly obsessed with the potato-only dishes and endlessly enthusiastic in comparison to the judges, the enigmatic Ent Treebeard, Tom Bombadil, and Radegast, as well as the guest panel of dwarf judges that show up every once in a while. That’s when the food starts flying.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel series does not yet have a premiere date.