Introducing Middle-earth Television Entertainment Group...
THE RANGER PATROL This is an adventure show set in the wilds beyond Bree back in the days when Orcs were crawling all over Eriador in the 28th century (Bandobras Took won the Battle of Greenfields in the Shire in the year 2747). Four Dunedain travel about the countryside in sturdy carts drawn by two horses each. Both carts have a steel arbalest (heavy crossbow) mounted on back. The show revolves around long patrols and an endless series of cat-and-mouse suspense-filled encounters with various Orc companies, troll patrols, and wolf packs. They'll occasionally visit Bree itself where they'll be on good terms with Oatlaf Butterbur and his Hobbit sidekick, Slimbiz Pickwick. Slim has his ear to the door of every slimy tavern and cave between the Shire and Rivendell, and is always good for a hot tip.
THE FORNOST HILLBILLIES Annuminas has long since been deserted and only a few backwards Dunedain are left to roam the Hills of Evendim. Then one day, while shooting at some food (with his steel bow), Gelion Mapa uncovers the lost hoard of High King Elendil. Parch Imlad (Dry Dell) from Fornost Erain signs a contract with Gelion to dig up the treasure and Gelion takes his family to live in the big city of Fornost Erain. Each episode focuses on how they get used to sophisticated life in Fornost Erain and learn a little something about what's important in life: taking care of the cement lake or wrastling up some Orc-finger stew (just a figurative name).
BARNABY BUTTERBUR, INN-VESTIGATOR Happily retired after many years of keeping up the family tradition at the Prancing Pony, Barnaby takes action when his older son is murdered. Helped by a young Hobbit girl (to be named), Barnaby embarks on a series of adventures which take him throughout the Bree-land, the Buckland, and the Shire as he investigates an unusual string of murders, abductions, and shady joint-stock company deals which reach even to the highest levels of Shire-Breeland society.
THE BRANDYBUCK BOYS Ferdinand Brandybuck is the Buckland's most renowned answer man. There is no mystery he cannot solve, whether it's finding a lost shoe in the deep recesses of an ancient Hobbit hole or figuring out just exactly who owns the mushroom patches growing wild in the Marish. When Ferdinand is not at home and people's ponies go missing, his Tween-aged sons Folco and Ilberic take on the toughest cases this side of the Brandywine. Helped by their good friend Chubby (Ponto Chubb) and his sister Mirabella, the Tweenagers become so good at solving mysteries from the Shire to Bree that they are finally offered jobs by the Shire's premier investigative branch, the Secret Shirrifs. Folco and Ilberic encounter a broad range of pony thieves, boat-jackers, cart-theft rings, and Pipeweed smugglers in their travels.
GREAT SMIALS It's the year 1380 and old Fortinbras II, the Took and 16th Thain of the Shire, has just died (of mysterious causes, though because he was 102 years old no one is really sure his death needs investigating). Lalia the Fat, Forty's widow, assumes control over the Took clan. The show's opening credits will scroll across a panoramic view of the Green Hill country and Great Smials as members of the Took clan are shown briefly (in alphabetical order, of course). The show will document the continuing drama of the Took clan as Ferumbras III, nominally the Took and Thain of the Shire, is relegated to a small bedroom and must live out most of his lonely years in a self-imposed exile under his fat mother's shadow. While Ferry hops from tavern to tavern hoping to find a drunken Hobbit-girl sloshed enough to marry him, his precocious 5-year-old niece Pearl involves herself in scheme after scheme, eventually winning old Lalia's confidence. A passing Elf foresees the Tween-aged Pearl's rumored involvement with Lalia's mysterious tumble down the front of Took Hill many years later, and Lalia alternately plots to marry Pearl off to some old farmer in Southfarthing or elevates Pearl to even greater status above other Tooklings.
EASTFARTHING BLUES In the aftermath of Saruman's attempt to take over the Shire, it's near impossible for Shire-folk to settle back down to their old, peaceful ways. Robin Smallburrow is promoted to Captain of the Eastfarthing Shirrifs and he puts together a gritty, no-nonsense team of Shirrifs who help restore law and order to the Shire's oldest region. Among the many interesting characters in the troop is Hobson Riverward, Robin's trusted but gung-ho lieutenant who is in charge of the local Bounders. Every time a ruffian appears on the border Hobson is ready to bring out the bows, whips, chains, knives, and staves just in case things get out of hand. Robin also relies upon Berilac Bolger, the best (if filthiest) undercover Hobbit in the four farthings. Berilac likes to pretend he's a bit crazy, but underneath that tough exterior he's all heart. This one is sure to win a lot of Emmy awards!
THE WILD WILDS OF ERIADOR Arador, 14th Chieftain of the Dunedain of the North, appoints two of his best Rangers, Hallas and Aglahad, to undertake dangerous missions against nefarious enemies of the peace and security of Eriador. Among their recurring nemeses will be an evil Dwarf who never seems to die no matter how hard they try to kill him, a renegade Ranger who is plotting to overthrow the rightful Line of Isildur (he is himself a descendant of Isildur), a beautiful Black Numenorean Lady who works for the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and an Orc chief who has one or more secret strongholds in the North Downs. Hallas and Aglahad travel up and down the Greenway and back and forth along the Great Road in a lavishly decorated wagon train, each having his own personal wagon home (much like a gypsy train). Hallas is an excellent swordsman, a keen ladies man, and usually the most daring of the two secret agents. Aglahad is usually producing some weird gizmo to help out with their adventures, as he has the last copies of the Scrolls of Numenor to consult.
UMBAR V This remote stronghold was Gondor's last, best hope for eventual peace with the kingdoms of Harad. Established by King Elessar near the ruins of the ancient Numenorean haven, the stronghold serves as a port-of-call for ships from distant lands, a trading post for caravans from the deep inlands, and a refuge for every deposed king and would-be dictator in Middle-earth. Captain Beregil is a veteran of the last Gondor-Umbar war, in which the Umbari mysteriously ceased all hostilities even though they had nearly driven King Elessar's armies back to Minas Tirith and were preparing for the final assault. Beregil is aided and encouraged by the wise and beautiful Diriel, an Umbari princess who has voluntarily left her father's court in order to establish stronger ties with Gondor. Diriel's dark secret is that her people are really Black Numenoreans, and they are allied with an ancient tribe of Eldar who are struggling to stave off another Great War....
SHIP TREK Early in the Second Age, the Numenoreans are just beginning to branch out and explore Arda. Their ships are hugging the coasts of Middle-earth, seeking out new peoples, new civilizations. Boldly going where no Dunadan has gone before. This one may need a little work. Possibly it could focus around the haven of Umbar, situated along the edge of Numenorean influence and caught up in the politics of nearby kingdoms. Or perhaps a Numenorean ship can be caught in a tsunami and sent far across the ocean to previously unexplored regions of Arda so that it will take many years to return home to Numenore. The lead will have to be a strong captain, but he (or she -- no reason why the Numenorean Queens couldn't have appointed a few female captains) can be aided by a wise and gentle ship's doctor who occasionally cracks a good joke and is at odds with one or more of the ship's other officers, perhaps even the First Mate, a member of the ancient Guild of Logicians.
Of course, if these ideas seem a bit trite, we could always put together something with a few Hobbit girls running around in skimpy outfits and call the show CHARLATAN RANGERS....
Michael Martinez is the author of Visualizing Middle-earth, which may be purchased directly from Xlibris Corp. or through any online bookstore. You may also special order it from your local bookstore. The ISBN is 0-7388-3408-4.
And be sure to download your free copy of Parma Endorion: Essays on Middle-earth, 3rd edition at Free-eBooks.Net!