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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Frodo and Sam get a retro laugh track in sitcom reimagining of Lord of the Rings

By Benjamin Bullard
Lord of the Rings sitcom via Funny or Die on YouTube 2019

Sure, Amazon may be working up a lavish, big-budget return trip to the Shire. But the long wait for the new Lord of the Rings TV series just got a little more bearable, thanks to Funny or Die’s hilarious new edit from Peter Jackson’s classic movie trilogy.

Replete with laugh tracks and the standard-resolution image bleed of old-school TVs, Sam and Frodo take center stage in “Northern Expo-Shire,” which reimagines LOTR as a 1980s-style sitcom. And after seeing Gandalf make his entrance in the comedy version, we’ll never be able to watch him hit his head on the ceiling in quite the same way:

While Jackson’s movie take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s high fantasy setting never shied away from the stories' most grave and dramatic aspirations, there was always plenty of good humor to work with in the source material — and Jackson’s cast was chock-full of actors who brought a lilting give-and-take to all that Hobbit banter. With the right edits and effects, it all makes the transition to comedy so seamlessly that we kind of wish we were getting a whole sitcom season of this stuff.

For every dollar Funny or Die clearly didn’t spend to get the sitcom look and feel just right, Amazon is more than compensating with its reported billion-dollar spend on the LOTR streaming series to rule them all. The ambitious project — which Amazon has locked in for at least five seasons before a single episode’s even been made — reportedly doesn’t involve Jackson (at least not yet), and likely won’t arrive on Amazon Prime until 2021.

Set prior to the events of the movie trilogy, the upcoming series is being written by JD Payne and Patrick McKay — both alums of the J.J. Abrams-rebooted Star Trek franchise. Here’s hoping the duo will craft a show that can give Funny or Die plenty of new material to work with. Even though it’s been out for less than a week, we’re already kind of jonesing for a “Northern Expo-Shire” sequel.