Well; I have now watched all eight looong episodes of Season One, Amazon's Ring's of Power; watched it with the kind of salacious and guilty fascination one observes the emergence of a tsunami to overwhelm a town, or the cumulative wreckage of a multiple-pile-up road traffic accident.
I have lowered, and lowered, my expectations of this series. It is, of course, nothing to do with Tolkien - nothing in terms of plot, spirit, lore, and - especially not - moral and spiritual structure.
So, I lowered my expectations down to the point of simply looking-for something that attracts and maintains my attention; I looked for simple light entertainment.
I therefore lowered 'the bar' to the level of such mainstream soap-fantasy tripe as Shadowhunters; but Rings of Power did not reach this bar - except at too-rare intervals.
I found (as I said in the above review) one of the most astonishingly incompetent shows I have ever encountered. There are stunning deficiencies in terms of overall conception, casting, acting, script, plot, direction and editing - the RoP breaks all the standard rules for how to construct a story and to get people involved.
One gets the impression that this was because the makers have no clue about how to make a TV program (or movie), not even at the basic film school level; that they genuinely don't understand that (by their choice to make the show so complex, and with so many 'principal' characters) they have repeatedly painted themselves into a corner; from where it has become, not just difficult, but actually impossible for them even to provide low-level, mainstream entertainment.
They seem to have no idea what works and what does not work; because they give the greatest attention to what does not work (e.g. Galadriel and the Harfoots).
An example of the endemic ineptitude was that the picture advertising the final episode was the Balrog of Moria, which was depicted for a few seconds at the end of a previous episode.
The Balrog did not appear at all in the final episode. Indeed, the episode did not even return to the Moria plot thread in which the Balrog occurred.
It's not as if they lacked time to include it, because the final episode was full of padding - such as a full five minutes of farewell emoting and weeping from the Harfoots; and several utterly disconnected and dramatically futile scraps from the Numenor thread.
Some parts of it were fine, by the standards I set myself. The (at last...) 'revelations' concerning the identity of the wizard (presumably Gandalf) and Sauron were well enough done to keep me entertained and attentive - if morally both shallow and abhorrent in their underlying assumptions.
(But four idiot-fool, unarmed Harfoots catching-up-with and defeating three super-powered and ruthless bad-angels was ludicrously unbelievable.)
But if the makers knew what they were doing; these revelations would have happened in the third or fourth, not eighth, episode; since the absurdity of withholding such 'secrets' got less interesting, more boring, and more confusing.
Contrary to the sophomoric expectations of some early-modern artists and writers; deliberately confusing the audience is not difficult, therefore not clever; and counter-productive to storytelling and script quality.
The longer the deliberate confusion over identity persisted, the longer the pseudo-secret was sustained - the less interested I was in learning the answers (which I had guessed anyway). A script that relies heavily on the chronically-delayed-unveiling of artificially-withheld-information; represents one of the lowest, because least-effective, forms of storytelling.
The Rings of Power was therefore a fascinating snapshot of the Decline of The West, where basic functionality is almost entirely disregarded; and the gap between claims and accomplishment is bridged by massive and coordinated media propaganda...
Yet, at the same time, that media propaganda is itself subject to the same self-imposed corruption, and therefore cannot sustain the lies it is trying to enforce.
Collapse of functionality in one sector, creates collapse of functionality in other sectors - until there is (there must be) general collapse.
Incompetence is no longer regarded as a flaw; so long as failures happen in the context of woke/ politically correct signaling.
Whether in TV, movies, novels, art, architecture, museums or whatever; the audience are required to admire (and enjoy!) the preaching and soft-sell of current socio-political taking points - and to pretend that they are thereby being edified and entertained.
Ours is a world of value inversion; part of which is that the people in charge are picked from the least competent at their purported function. And indeed are appointed without any requirement for competence.
Those 'in charge' of our social institutions are either de facto (or actual) actors (speaking someone else's lines), or were appointed to meet affirmative actions quotas, or else got jobs on the basis of their ability to bullshit in the necessary style.
Thus the root of the problem is not incompetence, but instead actually malign intention; the incompetence happens by deliberate will and choices.
The reason we have incompetent people in charge almost-everywhere, is because those who are ultimately In Charge, positively desire societal destruction; and therefore deploy incompetence towards this aim.
...At least, the use incompetent personnel whenever the motivation to failure needs to be deniable (i.e. when they cannot plausibly pretend that purposive destructiveness is a sensible and positive policy).
Rings of Power might have been a well-made and cunningly-crafted inversion of Tolkien's work; done with the intent of over-writing and spoiling Lord of the Rings in memory and by framing of future expectations...
But in the actual case (for whatever reasons) somebody decided to recruit armies of incompetents, at every level and in most functions, to make the show.
Apparently, it was decided simply to give incompetence its head - to bore the pants off the audience, and encourage them to stop-watching in droves.
Perhaps 'they' are vaguely hoping that this fiasco of a show will stop too many people going-on to read the original Lord of the Rings - by encouraging the idea that it would be similarly dull, pointless and incoherent as the Rings of Power?
I can't say I find this theory convincing; but such a disaster certainly did not happen just by accident: there were just too-many, too-bad decisions for random chance to explain.
Perhaps it is some kind of cunning fraud on the lines of Mel Brook's The Producers... A plan to profit from failure?
If so, and if the scam works; the Rings of Power may just be the first of many such shows!