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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
The Dark Crystal series and what it means for the Amazon series

The Shire

Sep 23 2019, 4:01pm

Post #1 of 9 (1290 views)
The Dark Crystal series and what it means for the Amazon series Can't Post

The Dark Crystal is the first high profile fantasy series since Game of Thrones and has been, for the most part successful with critics and audiences. Now, the world of Dark Crystal is nothing like Tolkien but the success does have some implications, namely audiences and critics still enjoy a good, high fantasy epic, and that in the gritty TV environment, thereís still room for earnest heroes like the core Gelfling trio.

Chen G.

Sep 23 2019, 6:22pm

Post #2 of 9 (1244 views)
But the lighter approach [In reply to] Can't Post

fits the hightened style of The Dark Crystal, and its core demographic. Middle Earth is much more tangiable, and therefore lends itself to a less "innocent" interpertation.

Tolkien is many things. Lighthearted isn't one of them (outside of the likes of Roverandom). His Middle Earth, certainly his Second Age, is full of themes of human corruptability and decadence, of death, destruction, encroaching evil. There's even the odd piece of incest towards the end (Ar Pharazon), a catacylsm resulting in many deaths, etcetra.

You don't need to give Tolkien the Game of Thrones treatment, outright. But something more along the line of Braveheart and Gladiator could work very well: Lots of graphic, unceremonious violence; while profanity and sexual elements (including taboo ones) are delivered, but in moderation, yet still clearly present.

Could work very well.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Sep 23 2019, 6:29pm)


Sep 24 2019, 3:08am

Post #3 of 9 (1144 views)
Lighthearted [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not certain the original poster was advocating that Amazon adopt the tone of the Dark Crystal series, or the original film. Certainly they could be said to be more fantastical than Tolkien's works, which are more grounded in historical reality. That said, "lighthearted" is not a description I would apply to the Dark Crystal in either form. The violence is not as explicit as it could be, if that's what you mean, but it is certainly present. And the themes of the Dark Crystal are in fact very similar to the themes of the Second Age, although there are no humans per se in the Dark Crystal.

One lesson I think that could be taken away from the Dark Crystal series is that, while telling a new story, it remained quite faithful to its original source material even while expanding on it. Of course, that may be easier to do when your source material is a film. In Amazon's case, they have both Tolkien's original writings and Jackson's films (and DVD extras) to use as reference material for how to develop the Second Age, which is a bit more complicated situation. But then again, the Dark Crystal series apparently used more recent novels as well as the original film for ideas.

HÍl‚ Auriwandil, angilŰ berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!

The Shire

Sep 24 2019, 6:09pm

Post #4 of 9 (1027 views)
Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant more in how one goes about creating what essentially is a new story in an existing fantasy universe and doing it in a way that appeals to long time fans of said universe but also appealing to a new audience. As well as adapting that story when the audienceís sensibilities has changed.


Sep 25 2019, 4:54am

Post #5 of 9 (985 views)
Dark Crystal is dark [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure if you actually saw the Dark Crystal Age of Resistance, but it is VERY dark. The core characters are standard heroic types, but corruptibility is at the heart of the character of Celidon. The crystal itself is corrupted through the corruption of the Skesis and the Gelflings.

Anyway, i think it shows that it is possible for a good television show to be made which respects the source material / world and vision of the original creators.

The series started getting a bit hand-wavy and plot hole-ish toward the last few episodes, but overall it was so beautiful and had such a lofty intent that it is hard not to give it a pass and appreciate the artistry and spirit of the world of Henson, Oz, and Froud. Bodes well for LOTR the second age series, I think and hope.

One Forum to Rule Them All.

(This post was edited by merklynn on Sep 25 2019, 4:55am)

The Shire

Sep 25 2019, 2:49pm

Post #6 of 9 (934 views)
What did help [In reply to] Can't Post

Jim Henson is gone and Oz is more focused on his own projects, but Lisa Henson was the exec producer and she tried to bring back as many of the original people as possible, starting with the Frouds.

It also helped that a lot of the celeb voice actors they got were big fans of the original film. Simon Pegg got what was the most iconic character of the original film and managed to not only sound like the original voice actor.

Some other interesting things. According to the Making of documentary, one if not both writers did not have TV experience, much like Payne and McKay. And the director, Louis Leterrier, didnít exactly produce anything memorable before the show. Which I guess the lesson is, a less than impressive resume can be overcome if the vision and team are there.


Sep 25 2019, 3:11pm

Post #7 of 9 (929 views)
Seladon [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I'm not sure if you actually saw the Dark Crystal Age of Resistance, but it is VERY dark. The core characters are standard heroic types, but corruptibility is at the heart of the character of Celidon. The crystal itself is corrupted through the corruption of the Skesis and the Gelflings.

As much as I love that Tolkienesque spelling (almost identical to the spelling I had in my head), the princess' name is Seladon, voiced by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. But, yeah, I'm digging her dark character arc.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 25 2019, 3:14pm)


Sep 26 2019, 4:46am

Post #8 of 9 (891 views)
Celadon [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it was "Celadon" at first because I once knew a girl with that name. It refers to a light green color, or a type of pottery with a light green glaze.

I must admit, Seladon's arc kept me on pins and needles during the latter part of the series. I don't recall any similar character from the movie. Likewise, I would be interested to see some characters in the Amazon series who are neither Galadriel/Elrond/Gil-galad nor Sauron, and who could conceivably go either way.

HÍl‚ Auriwandil, angilŰ berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Sep 29 2019, 1:35pm

Post #9 of 9 (760 views)
Dark Crystal movie [In reply to] Can't Post

For me the original Dark Crystal movie was always a bit like a traditional epic fantasy in itself (sheltered protagonist of a diminutive species, takes upon himself a responsibility of a quest, carries the important artifact, in this case shard of crystal to the castle of the enemy in the center of evil land :) to save the world), it's like the muppets meet Lord of the Rings :), jokes aside, I always loved the original movie, the new prequel series I haven't yet finished watching, but it certainly is quite impressive (the world of Thra is fantastic looking, Jim Henson's vision come to life in full glory). It;s certainly a success for Netflix (though mind you they also want to get a hit with their adaptation of Witcher books, a franchise that I also like, not only because it's written by one of my fellow countrymen ;), so the Netflix seriously wants to fill the void after that GoT ending, and the first season of Witcher is bound for release soon, at the end of this year, Amazon has still WAY to go), the general favorable reviews of the Dark Crystal series make it seem it was well received and who knows maybe the series will have big impact, it shows that the production quality was high so it would encourage I guess great projects, but Amazon already committed to it and wants it big as far as we know, whether the themes of Age of Resistance (which are usually universal in such stories) will influence other works, including Lotr on prime, we don't yet know, but both the prequel series and the material for Second Age, Tolkien stories from that period have something in common already, both are full of darkness and tragic events, portray corruption endangering the world, both are also as events preceding the known storylines, bound to end in a downer way, as Tolkien wrote about his earlier legends, "nearly all are grim and tragic, a long account of the disasters that destroyed the beauty of the ancient world" with bits of hope gleaming through those horrible events and promise of a grander adventure yet to come.


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