Amazon's Learning a Hard Lesson

Amazon's Learning a Hard Lesson

November 30, 2021

Streaming services like Amazon and Netflix are currently in an arms race attempting to turn popular book series into TV shows. There's heavy interest in becoming the next 'Game of Thrones', but these services will waste time and money if they fail to respect the original source material and the fans of the original source material.

Streamer's Spotlight: Amazon Is Learning a Valuable Lesson with 'Wheel of Time'

Amazon's new fantasy series, 'Wheel of Time' is based on a popular 14-book long series that started in the 1980s. The megacorp went into the project hoping to create a project as widely popular as 'Game of Thrones'. Although the reviews are generally positive, the company is struggling with the acceptance from the novel's fans, who believe Amazon is playing fast and loose with the source material in its efforts to attract an adult audience.

1. Where Did Amazon Go Wrong?

If you look at the Rotten Tomatoes reviews of 'Wheel of Time', you'd likely assume they didn't go wrong anywhere. A 72% rating from critics and 80% audience score would typically indicate a reasonably good show just getting its legs. As ScreenRant's Thomas Bacon explained last week, "Amazon's Wheel of Time TV series isn't getting the positive buzz it needs, meaning the future of the fantasy adaptation is sadly in doubt."

The problem? 'Wheel of Time' was originally written as a young adult novel. Its characters were younger in age and scenes violent, but never gory. Amazon is targeting a more adult audience with the show

(although the show does have a TV-14 rating), so they've shifted both to favor that type of audience. Fans are not so pleased with this.

Additionally, many fans of the books believe the show is progressing at too fast a pace. Amazon can't be blamed too much for that, as time scales are often hard to translate well into a TV series or movie adaptation (see 'The Expanse'). Still, the company needs to win over book fans to really make 'Wheel of Time' a long-lasting series empire.

2. This Isn't the First TV Series To Miss the Mark

Many shows that adapt a source text to a TV series often miss the mark by attempting to be edgier than their audience wants. This is exactly what happened with the hit series 'Stargate SG-1'. The series originally aired on Showtime and featured a now-infamous scene

. The series dropped that soon after, as it didn't align with what fans of the movie-turned-series wanted from it.

Amazon also found itself in hot water recently for its upcoming 'Lord of the Rings' adaptation. Fans of the series were in outrage when rumors swirled that there would be a

. The response online was loud and angry enough that the show's producers were forced to put out an explanation of just what that nudity would entail and why it was fitting with the show.

3. Big Spending Requires More Care with Source Material

Streaming services are spending huge amounts of money to try to capture audiences with series adaptations of popular IPs. They're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. They have a ton invested. But TV producers need to pay close attention to the fanbase of the shows they're producing. When working with pre-existing content, those fans will only accept so many changes. Unnecessary additions or subtractions to the content's core ethos could reduce the appeal, leading to severely lost investments.

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Award-Winning Animation 'The Summit of the Gods' Premieres on Netflix

The renowned manga has been turned into a breathtaking film experience. Watch on Netflix this Tuesday (Nov. 30). -

  2. Netflix 'Lost in Space' Returns for Season 3 

The revitalized series is back for its third season and more intense space opera action. Watch this Wednesday (Dec. 1) on Netflix. -

  3. The 89th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Is Here 

The long tradition of lights, music, and performance is back. Watch live on NBC this Wednesday (Dec. 1) at 8 PM EST. -

4. The HBO Original Series 'Beforeigners' Returns for Season 2

And this time, Jack the Ripper has returned from the past. Watch on HBO Max this Sunday, December 5. -

News and Industry Developments

1. Amazon Prime Close to a Deal on 'Mass Effect' Adaptation

Bioware's popular game may make an appearance as a TV series on Prime Video. -

2. The Newest Game on Netflix Is An Old Game

The company is reviving Asphalt Xtreme. -

3. FYI: 'Star Trek' Discovery Season 4 Is Also on Pluto TV in Select Countries

And only at a certain time, but free is free. -

4. Spotify now Has a Netflix Hub

It features music from popular shows and podcasts related to Netflix content. -

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