Why has the fantasy genre not penetrated Primetime TV? With the success of franchises like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Eragon, etc. we have seen that this genre is profitable in the movie industry. Why has Dungeons and Dragons or Forgotten Realms or some other variant of the fantasy arena been turned into a live action television series? If nothing else; wouldn’t the SciFi network or some other cable channel be interested?
My first thought would be cost. I am sure there are some who would say that the amount of costuming and set design would be prohibitive, in addition the fantasy stories typically take place on grand scales; for example, the Battle of Middle Earth. You can’t have a bunch of studio sets and expect to have a believable setting. In addition the costumes and make-up that would go into every episode might take hours, when you only have a week to ten days to shoot each episode; you don’t want to spend the first 4 hours of each day waiting on your main cast members to get out of the make-up trailer.
Personally I think it can be done. There has to be ways to speed up the process, there has to be enough of an audience that this kind of series will be well received. I also think that the advertisers would be there, the D&D/ Forgotten Realms demographic would be huge because it spans from kids to adults of the Gen X Generation.
How awesome would it be to have an author like R.A. Salvatore write next weeks episode of the latest hit fantasy series.
So here is the catch and here is where I think they might hit a roadblock. The fans of this genre are in many ways like sci-fi fans. They demand quality, consistency, feasibility and have a general don’t screw with the classics mentality. This series would have to be very original. Don’t think for a second that the fantasy people would be tolerant of the way that Smallville has molested Superman. There would be LARPERs rioting in the streets and burning the studios down or at least hitting studio execs with foam covered swords.
I for one would love to see a fantasy show on primetime because I think then it would get the financial backing needed to make it a success. Unfortunately, I have heard absolutely no plans from any studio to try and tackle this. We may be left to our dice and paperbacks.