And Viacom didn’t even buy the rights to South Park. Just kept it getting made.
The Lord of the Rings TV show on Amazon finally has a release date of September 2, 2022! I really hope they don’t blow it, but they would need Marvel-TV level quality to not let down long time LotR movie fans like me. I’ve been watching them since the animated versions in the 80’s, and I was first in line for the release of every film at the little movie theater in Geneseo.
That’s not to say Amazon can’t make quality content, I enjoy a bunch of the shows they have as originals and they have made some smart choices in picking up content dropped by other studios (I’m looking at you, SyFy cancelling The Expanse). But expanding the story of one of the most beloved film trilogies in a generation is dangerous work. It’s very easy to upset people who are already emotionally invested.
One way to build quality is to just throw money at it, which Amazon has by the spaceship-load. Reportedly the first season is going to set them back $450 million. By comparison, the first season of Game of Thrones cost HBO $90 million.
But money isn’t everything when it comes to production. You need the right talent, and as it seems to me Viacom realized some peoples’ talent you just can’t replace, no matter how much you spend. Why else would they fork over nearly as much as it cost Disney to buy the entire film and TV rights to Star Wars to keep South Park going?
I know that they want exclusives for the newcomer Paramount+ streaming service (where South Park will be shown along with on Comedy Central), but WOW. I can only imagine how much money they spent on scouting replacement talent before they bit that giant bullet. But as we said on the show this week, South Park really is just Trey and Matt. Their production footprint is tiny compared to other shows, and their production pace is insane and absolutely one of a kind. I am 100% certain Viacom tried to find a way to replace them internally and failed miserably.
As for Venom 2, it looks like Woody is going to be the shining star here (assuming he gets enough screen time). To me, Venom still comes off as too much of an animal, all he cares about is eating heads. His character feels more like a pet than a partner, more of a passenger than a symbiotic melding of entities.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Tom Hardy is blameless for Venoms’ issues. He is a fantastic actor, as is Harrelson. The writing of Venom the symbiote ignores most of his actual depth. Venom is not an animal from space who only handles his own physical needs. Venom is himself, but also an extension of his host. Peter Parker may be his perfect match, but Venom can also feel the sting of his rejection. Eddie Brock can feed into Venoms’ hate, and in return Venom can enable Brock’s anger, but Venom still has his own thing going on inside.
Look at The Amazing Spider-Man #317. Venom-Brock has been a thing for a while, but Peter knows that partnering with him is Venoms’ one true desire and uses it to his advantage to take him down in combat. Venom isn’t just “along for the ride” to bite some heads, the symbiotic relationship he shares with his host is far deeper than we have seen on screen so far. Maybe they will get it right this time, if only on the red team.