Well, Game of Thrones is back (and no, this blog isn’t about Game of Thrones, so if you hate it please keep reading anyway!). I want to watch it but don’t have Foxtel or any other pay TV organised, so I will have to wait till the season’s over, then download it through iTunes and watch it then. It’s what I did last time, but man was it hard to wait!
Not just that – I had to avoid all the newspaper articles that talked about each episode (thank goodness these days they at least have “Spoiler alert” at the beginning). But sometimes even the title of those articles gives something away, and on the very last episode of Games of Thrones last time, something terrible happened that had everyone on Facebook getting angry at George R.R. Martin, the author. So when I finally watched it, I had this sense of dread leading all the way up to the last episode.
In a way that was good I suppose – kept the tension up (not that it needed it, as Games of Thrones has bucket loads of tension – that’s what makes it so good).
It’s interesting, the rise and rise of TV shows in the last several years. I know that TV series have been around for decades, and some with a very strong following (I loved MASH for example) but it does seem that a whole new world of TV series has emerged. They are calling it the Golden era of television, and some of the best scripts (so I’m told) are being written just for TV.
I can’t help myself – here’s a few of my favourites. Deadwood, Breaking Bad and True Detective are possibly my top 3. Close behind would be The Walking Dead, Fargo, The Fall, Game of Thrones (not the best in terms of acting, but the twists and turns and shock factor keep me riveted), Broadchurch, then a bit further back Ray Donovan, The Bridge, The Killing, Borgen, Fortitude….. And the list goes on.
And there’s heaps of shows I haven’t seen yet or heard of (chances are you are yelling at the computer screen right now “but what about (such and such) or (some other show)”. Happy to take recommendations – would love to hear from you what your favourites are.
How do you watch them? Some people watch the whole series in one go, or as close to it as possible. I don’t think I could do that, but I have on occasion watched three episodes in a row (that’s about my limit). And of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, those who are right now watching Game of Thrones Season 6 are having to watch it once a week as each new episode unfolds, and it’s killing them!
So how is this all different from the TV shows of past decades? I think what has made the difference is the varied means in which we can view them. You never could just watch a show when you wanted, and would almost always have to wait a week for the next episode. Now you can download the series, buy the series on DVD, watch them on iView if you have an iPad, rent them at a DVD store (but do they still exist? Our local rental store closed years ago). Or of course, watch them on pay TV.
And as much as I enjoyed MASH, and lots of people enjoyed E.R and other huge shows like them (I wasn’t a fan sorry), they’re just not in the same ballpark in terms of the acting in some of these series (True Detective I thought was just amazing), and the camera work, cinematography, and plots are typically brilliant.
I suppose at the end of the day, the writers and TV show makers just realised this was where the money is, so quality writing and production gravitated towards it, and now we are the beneficiaries.
So I am going to patiently wait for Game of Thrones Season 6 to finish, dodge all the newspaper articles and Facebook comments (or try) and then download Game of Thrones again from iTunes. Or maybe along the way my resolve will falter, and I, like many hapless others, will throw my cash at Foxtel and grab my hit of instant gratification.