While Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power, may have been a mixed bag of its reception by audiences and its overall viewership to justify its cost, it appears Citadel may be having an even harder time.
Despite debuting with numbers only behind The Rings of Power, after nearly three weeks, Citadel has failed to chart at all on any of Nielsen’s Top 10 lists for streaming series.
The implication here is that at least in the US, an audience has not really picked up steam for the series. Unlike broadcast TV, we cannot fully see how viewership may be rising and falling week to week given that all this official data is private, but this would indicate it is probably…not going up.
While these lists are usually dominated by Netflix series, given the market share of the service, Prime Video has previously charted for big hits like The Boys or Jack Reacher. Currently, the final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is #6 on the “original streaming programs” list, while Citadel is nowhere to be found.
There was this idea that Amazon has pre-investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Citadel as a sprawling, international action franchise. But the showrunner has recently said that despite previous reporting season 2 was not a sure thing, and nothing has been officially announced about that. There is already one international spin-off about to arrive based on characters introduced in the main show, Citadel: Diana, which will be based in Italy. Several of these are planned, but it’s unclear just how many may make it to the finish line. Or whether Amazon will continue to throw money at the “Citadel universe” at all if it’s not performing.
Amazon Prime Video has been in a weird place for a while now. The hits its found are often shows that came out of nowhere to blow up, Mrs. Maisel, Jack Reacher, The Boys. But lately it feels like Amazon, in order to try to better compete in the streaming arms race, has attempted to buy their way to cultural impact, which is just not working in the two highest profile examples. You may be able to justify at least the idea of spending a ton on a Lord of the Rings series (though I probably wouldn’t have given it to two first-time showrunners), but it feels like a much bigger reach to attempt to use a wholly original IP like Citadel to create a sprawling universe before the main series has even proven itself. And unfortunately, the show is just not very good. It may have some people that enjoy it (mainly Priyanka Chopra fans, from what I’ve seen), but it’s clearly not a hit at the level they needed and wanted. I do not see a long lifespan for this idea, no matter what expansions it has in the short term.
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