One quibble: I don't think we should "blame" the source material for Peter Whatsizface's attempt to make it happen on screen. Did you see the "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series? Wonderful. So glad they didn't try to stick it down our throats in two hours like "Sense and Sensibility." As for all the costs for effects and makeup and all that crap in Tolkien that TV won't pay for, do what the Japanese do. Animate the goddamn thing. Get those fellers what did "Star Blazers" way back when. Hell, we could even pay them to animate it for English and make the Japanese watch the funny, out-of-sync dubbing for a change.
All that said, "Fellowship" was lovely to look at, wasn't it?