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Old 05-19-2019, 02:56 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
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Default The battle for the next Game of Thrones is on

...: Will it be The Witcher, Lord of the Rings or Halo?

Game of Thrones is ending Sunday, but Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Showtime have all been "feverishly working to reconstruct the scale, acclaim, relevance and ó not to be underestimated ó subscriber-attracting properties of the HBO smash," says Steven Zeitchik. As one veteran TV executive put it, "There is an arms race going on for event television. There could be multiple winners. Or there could be no winners at all." Netflix has The Witcher, Showtime has Halo, Amazon is banking on a Lord of the Rings TV series, while Apple is finally giving life to Isaac Asimovís sweeping Foundation. "The scramble isnít happening just because the end of Thrones will leave a massive audience looking for their next epic (or, lately, a target for social-media outrage)," says Zeitchik. "For networks itís about taking advantage of a new set of rules. Swords-and-scepters was once overlooked material ó the stuff of a Tolkien adaptation in the movie theater every few years and, at best, a niche show on weekly television. Yet Thrones has turned in to the dragon that lays the golden eggs ó it has averaged some 18 million viewers per episode this season, more than 50 percent above even the much-watched The Sopranos finale. HBO Now subscribers spiked by 91 percent during the seventh season. That success has changed how executives think, increasing the acceptable risks and price tags for a new genre series. (Budgets for a Thrones episode can now come in at more than $10 million, several times that of most high-end series.) Their logic is that not only is it worth making shows in categories like fantasy and science fiction ó itís worth spending a lot on them, too. Given how elusive a hit can be amid the present TV crowds, that means a lot of executives could soon be taking a bath. Consumers? They could be swimming in event-TV content." ALSO: Here are 15 shows vying to become the next Game of Thrones: From His Dark Materials to The Chronicles of Narnia.

Game of Thrones won over viewers by subverting TV rules, but now it's getting backlash for having to capitulate to those very same rules

"To its credit, Game of Thrones didnít change the core characteristics of (George R.R. Martin's) A Song of Ice and Fire to make them more palatable to TV," says Alison Herman. "Instead, it was TV itself that was changed. Never before had a show baited and switched its audience about the very concept of a protagonist; never before had a show included hourlong battles with the financial demands of a feature film; never before had a show carried such an overwhelming mass of detailed lore that it could single-handedly support its own explainer industry. Part of what Thronesí legions of fans have responded to is old-school craftsmanship, in the form of great performances and richly outlined characters. Much of the appeal, however, was novelty: Viewers werenít used to feeling the disorientation that came with Ned Starkís beheading or Jaime Lannisterís gradual redemption, so they stuck around for more. The sheer feat of translating these subversions, and balancing them with the practicalities necessary to create an actual television show, ought not to be understated. Whatever criticisms they faced for their relatively original storytelling, (David) Benioff and (D.B.) Weiss proved themselves to be master adaptors." Herman adds: "A cruel paradox of Thronesí later seasons, then, is that the show effectively trained its fan base to hold it to the same logical, methodical, unsentimental standard as the earlier seasons and books did fantasy tropes. A decade ago, A Song of Ice and Fire so effectively commented on sword-and-sorcery mainstays it changed how some readers saw the genre; now, Game of Thrones has preemptively taught its viewership to reject the shortcuts and workarounds itís taken on the way to Sundayís conclusion. Because many of the flaws in Thronesí home stretch arenít unique to Thrones. Theyíre products of typical TV logicóexactly the kind Thrones initially rejected, and can no longer resist."
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