HBO’s ‘House Of The Dragon’ And Amazon’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Review Scores Are Tied, Exactly

It is pretty clear that the biggest rivals on TV are about to be HBO’s House of the Dragon, its Game of Thrones prequel, and Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series, which it has spent close to a billion dollars on in an effort to find its own Game of Thrones-level hit.

If you were looking to see which of these shows was reviewing better to get some indication about which one may come out on top, well uh, interesting development there.

At the time of this writing, both House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings are boasting the exact same review scores in aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes, 84% each (and House of the Dragon also has an 84% audience score). That’s high, though not extremely high for TV, where we routinely see 95% scores for shows at any given time (currently, The Bear, Harley Quinn, Mo, etc).

If you want a more granular breakdown, we can turn to Metacritic which takes into account the actual score, rather than just whether a review is positive or negative like Rotten Tomatoes. There, we see a slight edge for Lord of the Rings. House of the Dragon has a 68/100, while Rings of Power has a 72/100. Though both have far fewer reviews counted than Rotten Tomatoes itself. Only maybe 8-20% of the total. So take that how you will.

The point being, neither series appears to be a disaster, and both did screen the majority of the season for critics, so we know these scores are not based on just the pilot or something. But both HBO and Amazon need these series to not just do well but really well. HBO is trying to use House of the Dragon to revive Game of Thrones after its disastrous season 8, and establish the idea that they can build their own connected universe across multiple series with spin-offs like this. And for Amazon, this is just the single biggest media investment they’ve ever made, and they are committed to multiple seasons of LOTR already because of how much they’ve sunk in so far. They need it to be the most-watched thing they’ve ever made, more than The Boys, more than Reacher, more than all of it.

It feels like…this may pan out for both shows. House of the Dragon has gotten off to a strong start, with big viewership and fans saying how it reminds them of the early days of Game of Thrones back when it was good. Rings of Power was always going to be huge, and reports are like that it’s essentially a sprawling blockbuster film with the most insane production value you’ve ever seen on TV, and if it’s not a disaster, then conversely, it will probably be a hit. We’ll find out soon enough.

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