"it was like a ten year drunk party."
October 27, 2019 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Still wondering why Game of Thrones was such a mess? David Benioff and D.B Weiss talked about the show at the ongoing Austin Film Festival and there were lots of WTFs.
posted by Foci for Analysis (226 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 




They wanted to expand the fan base to people beyond the fantasy fan base to “mothers, NFL players”...

Dying to hear what the NFL players think of that. As for the thread in general, well, now we know why they thought that Confederate was a great idea.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:30 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


But they did a hell of a job making ol' George DoubleR look good while he was sitting on his ass not writing the last books in the series.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:35 PM on October 27, 2019 [10 favorites]


No laws were passed to force people people to tune into HBO on Sunday nights to watch Game of Thrones. Obviously enough people liked that terrible show for it to get the viewership numbers it did.
posted by sideshow at 9:37 PM on October 27, 2019 [38 favorites]


I have to thank them for making me hate the ending so much that I picked up the books and fell into a full-blown obsession.

Sob, what they did to Jaime...they need a visit from Goldenhand the Just...
posted by sallybrown at 9:43 PM on October 27, 2019 [12 favorites]


It occurred to me a little while ago that the Red Wedding never ended up justifying its existence in the narrative other than being a shocking swerve to get ratings up. Robb could have died in battle for all the impact it had.

I don't know if the people who smugly refused to watch the show because the books were better have reckoned with the idea that a currently unknown amount of the books are irrelevant waffle, and that might end up being a very high percentage.
posted by Merus at 9:45 PM on October 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


I never expected the books to be as beautifully written as they are (apart from some cringeworthy sex scenes, yikes). Even if there are a lot of red herrings or Martin can’t bring all the pieces together (or runs out of time), reading them and coming across things like the Broken Man speech was pleasure enough for me.
posted by sallybrown at 9:50 PM on October 27, 2019 [12 favorites]


I wish the ending had either been

1) a 180 camera pan to show tourists in shorts walking by eating turkey legs at the world's most take-itself-too-seriously Renaissance festival;

2) Showing George R.R. Martin, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke sitting around a table playing Dungeons and Dragons a la Summoner Geeks.

If Peter Dinklage could be shouting in from the other room looking for Mountain Dew and Emilia Clarke could be petting her three beloved ferrets, that would be....awesome.
posted by lon_star at 9:51 PM on October 27, 2019 [100 favorites]


people who smugly refused to watch the show

I have no idea what the books are like, but no smugness was required for me to not bother watching the show because of how often the media mentioned tits and rape scenes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:03 PM on October 27, 2019 [101 favorites]


god it's so good i FLOURISH at the thought of everyone finally realizing what useless shitstains they are
posted by poffin boffin at 10:04 PM on October 27, 2019 [31 favorites]


It’s a bizarre tweet roll and must have been weirder in the room. The GRRM-sourced seasons were very well done by any standard with some terrific casting, screenwriting and directing. They got lost, then lazy and then finally bored as the seasons wore on and that’s a shame though.
posted by MattD at 10:05 PM on October 27, 2019 [15 favorites]


As Deray says, "Watch whiteness work."

And people want to give these idiots a show about a world where the Civil War ended the other way. Can't they just leave the rest of us alone?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:27 PM on October 27, 2019 [22 favorites]


Sometimes actors get undeserved credit that more rightfully belongs to good writing and good direction.

Sometimes, actors can salvage and even make excellent some dire, cliched writing.
posted by pykrete jungle at 10:30 PM on October 27, 2019 [40 favorites]


They got lost, then lazy and then finally bored as the seasons wore on and that’s a shame though.

The fun part is if you replaced "seasons" with "novels" you could also be talking about GRRM!

Though you can take the analogy too far, of course, since Martin at his best is way better then Benioff & Weiss. Still, for all the crap they get if it wasn't for B&W we would have gotten nothing at all. Including an ending.

People seem to think if B&W hadn't adapted the series we might have gotten a better one. No, we would have gotten nothing at all. And at its best the show was truly groundbreaking television.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 PM on October 27, 2019 [12 favorites]


Just needed more dragons.
posted by sammyo at 11:06 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]


I mean, even the badness of the last season is somewhat exaggerated. "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" is one of the best episodes of the entire run and it was S08E02.

People like to hate stuff.

'course S08E02 is also the only episode of season 8 not written by benioff and weiss so yeah
posted by Justinian at 11:08 PM on October 27, 2019 [39 favorites]


Gah. Just... I mean... So it's established that Martin gave them a rough idea of how the story was going to end at the time (in his mind, which has supposedly changed, but whatever), but, I mean... Did they actually read the books? Like, honestly sit down and read them, cover to cover? Maybe even once? Because it feels like they didn't or at the very least didn't give them enough thought (like any) to the idea that when you're adapting something (especially that comes with such a built in fandom) you should know it well enough to make a faithful adaption.

In any just world (this isn't, but it'd be nice) this would be their public career suicide. They've just admitted to conning HBO, to not knowing anything, to leeching off the help of people they knew, to acting, at the very least, in bad faith to pretty much anyone and everyone (Martin, HBO, etc). It should be the last we ever hear of them, but it won't be because, yeah, this is one of the better examples of White Privilege I think we've got... oh, who am I kidding. We'll have another, better example any minute now.

All I can think is of all of the people out there who could have done this, taken it seriously, and ended up making something that didn't end with the giant "women-are-crazy-right" wet fart of an ending. In hindsight, though, it does all add up. They didn't give a shit about the characters, or the story, they were just trying to script watercooler chitchat moments. That's how we went from realized characters whose actions match identifiable motivations and past events to a series of automatons doing things utterly out of character to advance the plot. It's how everyone suddenly had magical teleportation powers because these two assholes couldn't be bothered to make a plot that gave a shit about details.

Gah.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:35 PM on October 27, 2019 [40 favorites]


I hated the way season 8 ended, and I was a huge defender of the show for years. "Just wait until it ends!" I kept saying. Well, it turns out they didn't know what they're doing. Ugh!

But, as the months pass, I've come to terms with the showing ending the way it did. It had a good run. And like it or not, they did manage to finish out the series, for better or worse. I think it's hard to come up with really great satisfying ends to live-action TV.

Harlots, for example, had an amazing first season. And it's famous for having an all-women writing room and having lots of diversity in the cast and the storytelling. But I've heard a lot of angry fans complain how season three is terrible and ends the series as ineptly as GOT. Hell, if the showrunner of Harlots can't do it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?

I don't know. I wish I had an answer, but I don't.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:40 PM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]




I had my suspicions about these guys being total dumbasses - having watched their post-show discussions and all. This doesn't fully answer the question of how the first few seasons turned out so well, though - I mean other than the obvious factor that they were following the books. They definitely had some fantastic actors but now I want to know who else was doing the actual good work.
posted by atoxyl at 12:13 AM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


Check out the Last Watch making of season 8 documentary. I don’t care for the show but you got to see the cast of very dedicated and talented people who made the day to day aspects of the production, and therefore the show, work.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:20 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


*kids walking by my house*

YOUNGER CHILD #1: Who is that?
OLDER CHILD #2: Oh, that's Old Man Fizz!
YOUNGER CHILD #1: What is he saying, he doesn't look well.

*loud incoherent mutterings*

FIZZ: "4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42....the man in black...the others... Dharma Station....."

OLDER CHILD #2: No one knows what he's saying. He just keeps repeating that over and over.

*Fizz stares off into the distance*
posted by Fizz at 12:21 AM on October 28, 2019 [41 favorites]


They are open and... proud of failing upward and being mediocre. It’s frustrating to see what white men get away with while creators of color have to be perfect and prepared always.

But did they really? The seasons they wrote were universally panned and everyone hates them now. I heard they basically got canned from the Star Wars gig. Maybe they think they pulled it off but no one else does.

The amazing thing is just how dopey and oblivious they seem to be to all the hate coming their way. Drugs? Burnout? Idiocy? I'm intrigued.
posted by fshgrl at 12:28 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


People seem to think if B&W hadn't adapted the series we might have gotten a better one.

We'd have hardly gotten a worse one, at the very least. The quality of the source material, casting and performances gave them a certain amount of good will to burn, although in the end I suspect the appeal for many viewers was mostly Stockholm syndrome/can't take your eyes from the trainwreck/grim completionism.

Of course it's very likely impossible to find an ending for the saga that won't piss off a least one faction of the fandom, which might well be the reason why Martin won't finish it. I long suspected the ending would be a mess, only wondering if it would be a Lost-type mess, where people would complain about all those plot lines not paid off, or a HIMYM-type mess, where people would complain how the character arcs made no sense emotionally. Lo and behold, D&D managed to botch up both plot pay offs and emotional beats.

Would GRRM be able to tie all the plot strands together in a satisfactory manner? Evidently not, otherwise he'd probably done it already. But he could probably make the Dany-heel-turn feel less forced (even though I would still hate the plot development for all the "women be crazy"/"don't dream too big"-implications) and actually sell Bran as a plausible choice for the Iron Throne.

Ultimately GRRM might indeed not do better than the showrunners, because he's too much of perfectionist to actually deliver the somewhat better version he'd be theoretically capable of. But while a certain amount of disappointment was always guaranteed, I could easily imagine the whole thing might have been quite a bit less disappointing if D&D had done what HBO wanted them to do, which is have an proper writer' s room. As already noted upthread, some of the best episodes weren't written by them; they could have had way more of those.
posted by sohalt at 12:36 AM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


So they did a self-deprecating and honest description of how they had this absolutely HUGE success that we all loved? That seems OK.

I saw Margaret Atwood speak yesterday. She proposed that the final episode should have been Danaerys destroying Gilead with a hundred dragons. I'll leave you with that bit of fan fiction!
posted by alasdair at 12:51 AM on October 28, 2019 [15 favorites]


This evokes the same feelings in me as when I see someone brutally using or destroying something which costs a ton (or represents a large investment of craft by someone or someones) casually and without care. Yeah it's great you're so rich the $5,000 or $50,000 thing you just cratered means nothing to you, but there are so many who would have benefited from using or having that thing.

It's what people who don't respect anyone other than themselves do a lot.
posted by maxwelton at 12:53 AM on October 28, 2019 [44 favorites]


So they did a self-deprecating and honest description of how they had this absolutely HUGE success that we all loved?

Someone somewhere out there probably loves what they did, sure, but "all" clearly don't.

I'm not sure you can call the show a huge success just because most viewers decided to stick with it to the bitter end. My bet is that in the end it was mostly sunk cost fallacy - after watching for so many years might as well see how it ends. What ever merits the show had that made people invest in the first place should be probably credited to any of the many people involved other than D&D.
posted by sohalt at 1:10 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


> I'm not sure you can call the show a huge success just because most viewers decided to stick with it to the bitter end.

I would guess the value of the IP fell off a cliff after the last episodes aired. It's going to be like Dallas or ER or Lost, a symbol of its decade and a trivia question that people below a certain age will never watch.
posted by smelendez at 1:31 AM on October 28, 2019 [28 favorites]


David Benioff is the guy who took the gods out of the Iliad for Troy and that’s why I never bothered to watch it.

The only reason I ever gave GoT a chance was because GRRM was said to be directly involved with making the show.

Here’s hoping The Wheel of Time is at least made by people who like fantasy.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:49 AM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


Fizz, are you aware of this newfangled show by Damon Lindelhof, Watchems?
posted by mwhybark at 1:58 AM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure you can call the show a huge success

It is hard for me to imagine how the show wouldn't be considered a huge success unless you're defining "success" so narrowly as to be meaningless.

I mean... do you think if you administered a working truth serum to a magical HBO avatar and asked them if Game of Thrones was the most successful show ever for them with the possible exception of "The Sopranos" you'd get anything other than a "fuck yes"?
posted by Justinian at 2:12 AM on October 28, 2019 [21 favorites]


Here’s hoping The Wheel of Time is at least made by people who like fantasy.

But if they like fantasy they'd probably want to avoid WoT like the plague, no?
posted by Justinian at 2:13 AM on October 28, 2019 [31 favorites]


It is hard for me to imagine how the show wouldn't be considered a huge success unless you're defining "success" so narrowly as to be meaningless.

Honestly, I think the definition of success in terms of short-term financial gain is the narrow one. This is a story that could have had some real cultural staying power. The D&D version is not going to become a classic.

The ending has left such a sour taste with many viewers that the rewatchability is trending towards zero. Botching the landing can do that for a property.

How I met your Mother didn't have the afterlife of The Office or Friends, and GOT won't have the impact of Lord of the Rings.
posted by sohalt at 2:25 AM on October 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


Bran's story is just so good you guys.
posted by fleacircus at 2:37 AM on October 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


They are expressing regret about putting the baby on the block of ice and him screaming. The mother was not happy bc Dan just kept talking about a close-up of the baby’s penis.

what?
posted by thelonius at 3:06 AM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


GoT was one of the most widely critically acclaimed TV shows of all time, and has been hugely influential. I didn't like it at all, but I'm not silly enough to imagine that this makes it a "failure" in any sense.
posted by howfar at 3:38 AM on October 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


It became kind of a "too big to fail" type thing since so many people had already invested so much. (Critics too. Let's see what happens to the critical acclaim after some time passes. Influence is argueable already. I don't see any of the presumably GOT inspired properties having gained any sort of traction at this point.) Like a big bank during the financial crisis. The question isn't whether GOT was a failure per se (after you get a certain amount of people to buy in, failure in the traditional sense can stop being an option), but whether D&D deserve any credit. I really don't see why they should.
posted by sohalt at 3:47 AM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


It's going to be like Dallas or ER or Lost, a symbol of its decade and a trivia question that people below a certain age will never watch.

But the young people really should watch ER now that’s streaming. The first six (eight?) seasons are really genuinely still great tv.
posted by sallybrown at 4:18 AM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I really don't see why they should

Look if we start holding people responsible for assessing whether they are at all competent to do something they're getting paid zillions of dollars for where will it all end
posted by PMdixon at 4:30 AM on October 28, 2019 [28 favorites]


I suppose I should note that I don't like George Rape Rape Martin's original series of books that much, and gave up halfway through the second one, when it became apparent that he had absolutely no idea where he was going with any of it. I don't think the TV show, from what I saw of it, improved on Martin's failings as much as people wanted to pretend at the time, but if you didn't see that there was absolutely no way for it to end except by rendering irrelevant a huge and arbitrary range of foreshadowing, actual plot points and fundamental character traits, then I don't think you were recognising the flaws intrinsic to the source material and unaddressed in the adaptation.
posted by howfar at 4:48 AM on October 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


I would not have admitted to that shit in public if I were them. Dumb move, but clearly they get away with all dumb moves so what does it matter?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:50 AM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


>> I'm not sure you can call the show a huge success just because most viewers decided to stick with it to the bitter end.

> I would guess the value of the IP fell off a cliff after the last episodes aired. It's going to be like Dallas or ER or Lost, a symbol of its decade and a trivia question that people below a certain age will never watch.

Ask anybody I know and they'll tell you that, since sometime around season 2, I've been saying that the show was a hit only because there was a huge market for serialized TV fantasy storytelling—likely unleashed by LOTR and Harry Potter—and GoT (A) was the only game in town and (B) had admirable production values.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:55 AM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


and GOT won't have the impact of Lord of the Rings.

... perhaps the single most influential piece of fiction of the last century.

The ending has left such a sour taste with many viewers

I think many people are overestimating this for two reasons: one, they're extremely vocal and, two, because they are greatly over represented in the places we're likely to see online.

Just like the Brie Larson hate re: Captain Marvel? You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an online rant about her and how the movie was gonna flop and how the movie was a piece of SJW trash and she destroyed the movie. And then it made a literal billion dollars and got decent though not stellar reviews.

Just like the last couple of seasons of GoT.

Plus the first couple of seasons made a ton of money and got excellent reviews. The weaknesses of the last 2-3 seasons do not negate the strengths of the first 3-4.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 AM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


clearly they get away with all dumb moves so what does it matter?

We can try to make it matter when halfway through the next too big to get canceled cluster fuck, gullible people issue their clarion calls to trust the show runners. Pointing at what turned out in this instance might keep people from assuming things similarto the idea that the sheer fact of the amount of money HBO was spending would mean there has to be competence commensurate at the helm.

Probably not, but maybe!
posted by PMdixon at 4:56 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


To be fair, they brought HBO a show that would cost untold hundreds of millions of dollars, that would be shot out in the middle of nowhere basically unsupervised, that would run for years based on a series that the author apparently had no intention of ever finishing, that would have a main cast of like a hundred people...they broached this project that could well have been laughed out of the room and they made it, and it became one of the most popular and the most critically lauded shows ever on TV. So that's pretty impressive.

It's clear to me that the last season was based on an outline by GRRM that would have killed had they done it correctly. But doing it correctly would take years. There was enough material for two or three more seasons, and for some reason they decided to do it all in six episodes. It didn't work. But it's hard for me to look at the previous sixty episodes and be like, "Clearly, they had no idea what they were doing." They did.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:57 AM on October 28, 2019 [22 favorites]


and GoT (A) was the only game in town and (B) had admirable production values.

CLEARLY YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT CW's "THE OUTPOST".

(plus Shannara but that isn't as funny)
posted by Justinian at 4:57 AM on October 28, 2019


So basically, D&D are a pair of arcane trickster Rogues, whose privilege has given them advantage on Deception, Persuasion, and Sleight-of-Hand checks. Perhaps now that their illusions have been exposed, more will gain advantage saving against their tricks in the future.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 4:58 AM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


but whether D&D deserve any credit. I really don't see why they should.

It wouldn't have gotten made if they hadn't made it, so ipso facto they deserve the credit.

I've compared them before to the X-Files' Chris Carter. Guy went out a limb to get a dubiously prospected risky weird show made. He was the driving force behind it and deserves a ton of credit.... and yet he couldn't write for shit, every episode he wrote was absolute hot garbage, the interminably long run of the series ended with a huge whimper and no bang... and it's still one of the most beloved and influential tv shows of the 90s.

I don't see why GoT should be any different for the 2010s.

(Also Benioff and Weiss are like C+ writers while Carter is an F- but same principle)
posted by Justinian at 5:04 AM on October 28, 2019 [22 favorites]


Dang, we can be unhappy with many aspects of a show and also acknowledge that it's a resounding success and other aspects are beautifully done. The showrunners may have been privileged knobs, but it's clear the rest of those working on it were dedicated and talented and it really comes out in the show itself (the costuming!). There is nuance! That said, add me to the list of people wondering how much better it could have been--especially the ending.

No writer's room? Seriously? That explains a lot. I wish someone asked them how closely their ending hewed to GRRM's plans, or does GRRM REALLY not have any outline himself?

I'd blamed the shit aspects of the show on some of the themes of GRRM himself. Like, he has misogyny problems up the wazoo (e.g. SO much more tits and rape, women falling in love with their rapists, etc) and frankly I think D&B did us some favors, like aging everyone up, depicting rape as ACTUALLY something traumatic, not "sex that women need time to get into", making Cersei and other women villains actual complex characters, that kind of thing. But it looks like there was still just Kyriarchy Bullshit all the way down.
posted by schroedinger at 5:09 AM on October 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


This evokes the same feelings in me as when I see someone brutally using or destroying something which costs a ton (or represents a large investment of craft by someone or someones) casually and without care. Yeah it's great you're so rich the $5,000 or $50,000 thing you just cratered means nothing to you, but there are so many who would have benefited from using or having that thing.
"Breaks my heart to see those stars...smashing a perfectly good guitar."
posted by notsnot at 5:10 AM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Their post-show interviews were always so interesting because you always came away going, "Wow, not only do these guys not understand the characters at all, but they don't seem to understand human beings." Kudos to the actors for making sense of their mess.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:12 AM on October 28, 2019 [37 favorites]


RE: writing for water cooler moments

This is something that Russell T Davies has admitted to doing in the early years of the Doctor Who reboot. Big season finales that made no sense and broke character but had huge effects and movie style set pieces. They were created to get eyeballs on screens and get people talking, and it worked! The show has gone from cult classic to international juggernaut, and while the BBC hates the show’s massive budgets and puts it on hiatus every couple of years, they can’t cancel it because it’s so popular.

But the one-upping of season finales quickly became unsustainable: once you threaten the destruction of the entire universe, it’s hard to go bigger (not to say Moffat didn’t try). It should be a stage you hope to outgrow.
posted by rikschell at 5:24 AM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


I've read the books, and liked them enough to read the last two(?) if they get written, even though I think the first was much the best, then downhill till #4 and some improvement in #5.

I've seen the first season, and wasn't crazy about it.

I'm inclined to think that the fundamental idea (people faffing around with pointless wars while ignoring an oncoming disaster + castles! and dragons!) was so strong that it could survive a slapdash presentation.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:26 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


If you're wondering, like David Benioff does, why George R. R. Martin would be persuaded to entrust his life's work to someone with no experience, perhaps it is because David Benioff's dad is the former head of Goldman Sachs
posted by JDHarper at 5:42 AM on October 28, 2019 [44 favorites]


Gay is right on here, and it's important to note she's not saying "it's terrible that powerful companies take risks on white men who aren't really qualified" -- she's saying it's terrible that's the case when women and people of color are not getting that benefit of the doubt. A new culture of "only people with a long list of existing credentials get money" doesn't help marginalized filmmakers break in; what helps is "treat ambitious could-be-great, could-be-a-disaster proposals from women and people of color the same way you treat those proposals from people who look like the guys who write the checks."
posted by escabeche at 5:46 AM on October 28, 2019 [78 favorites]


a twitter says:

Benioff wasn't a nobody, or inexperienced.

He wrote 25th Hour, City of Thieves (NYT Bestseller), and the screenplays to Troy, and The Kite Runner, all before GoT.


Now the problem with Troy is, I have to go the rest of my life trying not to see Achilles looking like Brad Pitt when I read Iliad.
posted by thelonius at 5:50 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Martin would entrust his properties to a gerbil if it had the cash up front. Seriously, he has never met a licensing opportunity he didn't like.
posted by Justinian at 5:51 AM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


GoT was one of the most widely critically acclaimed TV shows of all time, and has been hugely influential. I didn't like it at all, but I'm not silly enough to imagine that this makes it a "failure" in any sense.

Remember to correct for that twee Fandom Reality Shift wherein disgruntled fans reject your reality and substitute their own (as in, “The Matrix was great. Too bad they never made any sequels...”). I used to see it purely in online genre-centric forums, but it has escaped into the wild and now infests all kinds of discussions: at the loopiest end of it, people are harmlessly convinced that Berenstain used to be Berenstein; at the grim end is Alex Jones promulgating stories about Sandy Hill being a hoax.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:53 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


On the topic of the economic legacy of the show (just one facet of its impact), I’m really interested to see what happens with the follow-on series. Do viewers keep tuning into this universe? At least one of these is going to have a woman showrunner, I believe.
posted by sallybrown at 5:55 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've compared them before to the X-Files' Chris Carter. Guy went out a limb to get a dubiously prospected risky weird show made. He was the driving force behind it and deserves a ton of credit.... and yet he couldn't write for shit, every episode he wrote was absolute hot garbage, the interminably long run of the series ended with a huge whimper and no bang... and it's still one of the most beloved and influential tv shows of the 90s.

It’s had kind of a rebound in the last few years, but what struck me after its cancellation was how it had vanished without a ripple. Admittedly, after The Tragic Events Of, distrusting the government had really been out of sync with the early-oughts zeitgeist. However I seem to recall that around 2004 or so, Duchovny and Anderson and Carter were all basically vanished and unemployable.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


>GoT was one of the most widely critically acclaimed TV shows of all time, and has been hugely influential.

Twelve hundred million people went absolutely bananas for it and it made the careers of everybody's now-favorite actors and actresses who they'd never have heard of otherwise. But the ending wasn't that great, so the two guys without whom the whole thing would never have happened must now be reviled, and everything good about the show must be attributed to somebody else.

Folks could add this show to a list that includes the X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica, and Lost, and The Matrix, and whatever else you want to put on there, and just go, "Well, I guess endings are hard, but it was pretty great while it lasted." But no, the whole length and breath of the internet has to weep bitter tears for six months about how these guys ruined everybody's life.

You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:15 AM on October 28, 2019 [13 favorites]


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

That's right. Fight me.
posted by schroedinger at 6:20 AM on October 28, 2019 [55 favorites]


... perhaps the single most influential piece of fiction of the last century.

You keep saying that, and it certainly generated a lot of discourse at the time, but the question is, will there be a legacy? So for anyone trying to follow in its footstep hasn't been terribly successful. Twiliglight gave birth to Fifty Shades of Grey, what will come after GOT? GOT was arguably riding on the coattails of Harry Potter and LOTR adding some "adult" content, but my impression is that the taste for grimdark has been properly exhausted. I'd be really surprised if the next big thing is epic fanatasy in the vein of GOT. The only lasting impact I can see is a higher bar for production values/costs in TV-shows.

LOTR and Harry Potter are becoming Christmas staples, people make a tradtion of annually rewatching the films. Sitcoms like The Office and Friends are inexplicable popular with people too young to watch the original run. I can easily imagine that Captain Marvel will have a very popular second life on TV, be happily shown by current fans to their own kids, etc. Somehow I don't really see that happening with GOT.

Just saying, there's a test of time that also factors into the credit we tend to give creators. And I'm sceptical that GOT will have the legs. But it's too early to say, so right now your take is certainly as good as mine.
posted by sohalt at 6:21 AM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Are people outside nerddom watching LOTR? Really?
posted by schroedinger at 6:22 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Battlestar Galactica is indeed pretty bad when rewatched. Everything after the miniseries and "33" is downhill with just a couple bumps. I can only assume that my standards of good tv used to be lower.

Win, lose, or draw, I'm tired of long dramatic shows not having an ending. Maybe there should be an ending escrow service?
posted by BeeDo at 6:24 AM on October 28, 2019 [10 favorites]


Also, as someone who only watched the first season, I liked some of what they added, scene-wise. The article mentions the one between Robert and Cersei which I can still picture and really liked.
posted by BeeDo at 6:30 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Mad Men stuck the landing! Well, if “cool” is character-driven dramatic adult television.
posted by sallybrown at 6:30 AM on October 28, 2019 [20 favorites]


Are people outside nerddom watching LOTR? Really?

Do you remember when it won an Oscar?
posted by codacorolla at 6:31 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Remember all the Oscar-winning movies that DON'T become Christmas classics? Winning an Oscar doesn't mean you get obsessively rewatched by the general population.
posted by schroedinger at 6:37 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]





Are people outside nerddom watching LOTR? Really?


Anecdotal: I'm a nerd but I've never been exactly that kind of nerd (full disclosure: I frequently fast forward past the dragons, space ships and superpowers to the parts of genre films to where they talk about politics or interpersonal relationships), but I'll generally rewatch LOTR if I catch it on TV, because it's pretty and soothing and reminds me of my Dad. My friends with kids show it to their kids too, alongside Harry Potter.

I watched all of Game of Thrones. I enjoyed a fair amount of it. I cannot imagine ever rewatching it again.
posted by thivaia at 6:46 AM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.

On the way cooler tip: In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past

On the comparable coolness tip: The Martin edited Wild Cards series is still going on, but the original run ended for many years at book 15 and fucking stuck it. The ending was better than the beginning. (I bought the first GOT book when it came out as (I believe) a mass market PB because I really dug Martin, but I had felt burnt by Jordan going past 6 books, so I opted to wait until the series was finished to start it. I look like a dick for it now, but I'm pretty happy that I stuck to this with the show and the books, at this point.)

If you're going to go, but TV, I don't watch fantasy and only still read Wild Cards because I started when I was 12, but all the same: Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad (both endings). I also really liked the endings of The Sopranos and The Wire, but not everyone concurs. For the most part, 5 seasons is around ideal.
posted by bootlegpop at 6:48 AM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]



You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.

"The Americans"
posted by thivaia at 6:49 AM on October 28, 2019 [45 favorites]


My feelings on the Game of Thrones ending: "At least it wasn't as bad as Lost." But it takes work to be as bad as that, so maybe that's not the best standard.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:00 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]






The last season was definitely terrible. I too am doubtful about the long-term evaluation of the show -- I recently tried rewatching it and made it about 2.5 seasons in, and it was already turning into a slog.

I can understand being self-deprecating, most of us do that sometimes, but from the articles they took it too far and highlighted the extra opportunities that mediocre white guys always get.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2019


Yeah, it definitely turns into a slog in several places, plus there was one season that was entirely too rape/torture-laden even for my high tolerances. Given their lack of a writers room, it makes me wonder if they would've benefited from some skilled assistance in breaking some of the seasons out.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:19 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by how my reaction to the next book will work out. I read the books then watched the show so I can't really judge the show as an independent creation. I do know that I felt the show declined markedly when it outpaced the books. Was that because I didn't have the book knowledge to spackle in the gaps? Was it because Tyrion's dialog became so much dumber? I don't really know. But now that I have watched the poorly done conclusion of the series how will that affect my enjoyment of the next book? If it ever arrives I am very curious what my reaction to it will be.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


You keep saying that, and it certainly generated a lot of discourse at the time

I think I was too laconic.

I was referring to LOTR as possibly the single most influential piece of fiction and that, therefore, saying GoT will not be as influential is kind of unfair. You can still be of monumental importance and not be as influential as LOTR.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


(as in, “The Matrix was great. Too bad they never made any sequels...”)

You know that this is, like, a "joke", right? Comparing this seriously to Alex Jones and "Sandy Hill" (sic) is bananas
posted by ominous_paws at 7:35 AM on October 28, 2019 [15 favorites]


However I seem to recall that around 2004 or so, Duchovny and Anderson and Carter were all basically vanished and unemployable.

Gillian Anderson has played more than 30 TV and movie roles since 2004, including the lead in the The Fall (3 seasons, and has done a lot of theater work. She has been nominated for many awards. This is not vanishing; this is a second act we should all be lucky enough to have.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 7:39 AM on October 28, 2019 [63 favorites]


@NotLikeFreddy: years and years of JK Rowling saying stupid shit hasn't succeeded in killing off the Harry Potter fandom. I say that to provide perspective on how thoroughly Benioff & Weiss fucked up, that they killed their own fandom straight-up dead on their way out the door

Of course, the difference here is that JKR's stupid shit (oh god, why did she decide that pureblood wizards are traditionally not toilet trained) is, at least, largely tidied out of the canon of her original series. It's easier, therefore, to ignore or to decide to forget because it's not in the work itself.

This ending doesn't fit that bill : regardless of whether you decide to argue the author is dead, the ending that ignores the story themes in favor of shock and awe will still be there in the text itself. Of course that's a deeper poison to a fanbase than simply issuing increasingly more bizarre headcanons on concluded material post series.
posted by sciatrix at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


It wouldn't have gotten made if they hadn't made it, so ipso facto they deserve the credit.

For being incredibly well-connected white guys with tons of privilege, enjoying a level of benefit of the doubt completely out of reach for anyone else? Seriously?
posted by sohalt at 7:48 AM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


It wouldn't have gotten made if they hadn't made it, so ipso facto they deserve the credit.

On the contrary, because they made it, they denied someone who was a true fan or experienced producer the opportunity to make it.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:52 AM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


Gillian Anderson has played more than 30 TV and movie roles since 2004, including

“2004” is not a set including “the years 2005-2019”. Her IMDb credits list her as voicing Scully in an X-Files video game that year and nothing else since the series ended. Of course, she was raising her daughter and she would start working more again within a few years, but a multi-year absence from screens after being the lead in the hottest show in the world for a decade does not speak of having a hugely successful career launched by it. Duchovny, it seems had been a guest star in one episode of Sex and the City and had been in a couple of movies I cannot recall at all. Carter was living in a yurt in Mongolia, iirc. They were not hugely successful immediately after the show ended is my point
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:53 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Are people outside nerddom watching LOTR? Really?

"The Nerddom" hasn't really been a thing for almost a
generation and the LotR movies are half the reason for why that's the case.
posted by Reyturner at 8:00 AM on October 28, 2019 [48 favorites]


Successful person saying "I didn't know what I was doing, but I finagled my way into an opportunity and I learned as I went" is not some damning admission, it's really a cliche utterance. (And usually totally true.) People treating this as some damning admission makes no sense to me.

Personally I'd rather see more "nobodies" get shots than hand over another franchise to J. J. Abrams (or Benioff & Weiss, now that they have the resume.) Agree with escabeche above that the issue is who else gets those opportunities.
posted by mark k at 8:03 AM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


it's weird to see people on both sides of this argument accepting the premise that GOT's success, commercial or artistic, is due to the showrunners, when what this mostly reveals is that the auteur theory is epic fucking bullshit, especially when applied to a production of this scale.

they were boy kings leading an army of extremely talented, best-in-class people according to a quite detailed map provided by the original source material, and they've somehow convinced everyone that they were the ones responsible for all the victories.

GOT doesn't have to be a failure for these two morons to be absolute fucking morons.

and please. 25th hour was also garbage. Benioff has had every possible advantage in life (and if you think this didn't translate into publishing, you are wrong), and he has not produced much of value as a result.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2019 [45 favorites]


Successful person saying "I didn't know what I was doing, but I finagled my way into an opportunity and I learned as I went" is not some damning admission, it's really a cliche utterance.

The part about "the people giving me a shit ton of money wanted us to bring in more people who did know what they were doing but we said nah" is cliche too but still damning. When you are given a color by numbers sheet worth billions of dollars and you refuse to color inside the lines despite people doing the equivalent of offering to put the crayon in your hand and move it for you, I am not interested in hearing about your noble amateurism and complete lack of a coherent creative vision beyond "wouldn't the red wedding be cool on teevee."
posted by PMdixon at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


also: the reason that hollywood eats up existing IP is because it's way easier to make money / be a success with an existing audience. The bigger the audience, the easier that is. So you get IP that's been around for a really long time or amassed a huge audience (or more likely, both), and then it's more about not fucking it up.

when the market is saturated with that kind of IP, it's more challenging. (marvel and DC have saturated the shit out of superheroes, for instance.) but GOT had an open playing field. pretty much the best conditions possible.

I keep thinking of those times in history -- or even in GOT -- when there literally was a boy king. i'm wondering about all the other people under the showrunners who made it work.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


I was referring to LOTR as possibly the single most influential piece of fiction and that, therefore, saying GoT will not be as influential is kind of unfair. You can still be of monumental importance and not be as influential as LOTR.

Sorry, completely misread that. I wouldn't have rated LOTR quite so highly, but point taken. Something wouldn't need to have LOTR-levels of impact to count for something.

That said, I can't see GOT having the legs of Harry Potter or even the MCU either. Those stories didn't have perfect endings by any means and caused a lot of fandom grousing as well, and there are bound to be diminishing returns, but people are evidently still up for watching further installments in those worlds.

But who knows, maybe those GOT prequel series will find their fans too. Their are still people who would read the books should they ever be published after all.
posted by sohalt at 8:14 AM on October 28, 2019


Are people outside nerddom watching LOTR? Really?

The worldwide gross for all the LOTR movies is right about $4,000,000,000, so someone besides the nerds are watching them.
posted by sideshow at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


The "making of" special HBO released after the final GoT episode probably got overlooked by lots of people for obvious reasons but I am here to say that it's great and celebrates all of the people who deserve to be celebrated and basically mentions B&W, like, in passing. You see them on screen in the distance one time. Instead we meet all the make-up artists, costumers, background performers, sound guys, the one guy who managed all the snow, etc.... Seriously, check it out and give these people the eyeballs they richly deserve.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:17 AM on October 28, 2019 [26 favorites]


Seriously, check it out and give these people the eyeballs they richly deserve.

It should be noted that every production in history, no matter what your feelings on the show runners, came down to the dozens/hundreds of production people doing the actual work.

I'm seeing a lot of "the dudes were shit but the production people people made it happen" sentiment. If you bring up your favorite TV show of all time in your mind, well the production people made it happen that one happen too.
posted by sideshow at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


It should be noted that every production in history, no matter what your feelings on the show runners, came down to the dozens/hundreds of production people doing the actual work.


This general truth is what is so frustrating about modern big-budget cinema and tv. Just about everyone in your run-of-the-mill summer blockbuster is doing an great job except the goddamn people writing the script.
posted by skewed at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2019 [22 favorites]


We are definitely in Peak TV, if audiences are consistently making ‘good’ the enemy of ‘perfect’ to this degree. I grew up watching shit like Three’s Company and Love Boat and Fantasy Island, so to me, today’s coulda-been-a-contender, almost-great TV show really is yesterday’s priceless treasure. (And I say that as someone who was never a GoT fan, it always looked like a scramble and was just way way too violent for me personally. But it was a hot mess from the start.)

except the goddamn people writing the script.

...except when the people writing the script do a great job, and can’t get what they wrote actually rendered onscreen—the reverse happens as often as not, productions screw up great scripts, too. Not that I think that’s what happened with this particular show. It’s also easier to pull of discrete pieces creatively, I think, e.g., to be a brilliant costume designer on a mess of a show.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:34 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


Duchovny, it seems had been a guest star in one episode of Sex and the City and had been in a couple of movies I cannot recall at all.

Duchovny produced and acted in a show on Showtime called "Californication" for most of that period.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2019 [21 favorites]


See, stuff like this is why all I ever rewatch is Columbo.
posted by holborne at 8:42 AM on October 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


Successful person saying "I didn't know what I was doing, but I finagled my way into an opportunity and I learned as I went" is not some damning admission, it's really a cliche utterance.

They presumably are saying it in the false humility way but a lot of fans of the show think "oh, that's why they fucked it up."
posted by atoxyl at 8:44 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


See, stuff like this is why all I ever rewatch is Columbo.

That edgy Maude reboot on HBO was pretty good
posted by thelonius at 8:49 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I could watch M. A. U. D. E. :2260 or even Iridium Girls, about some folks recuperating from their first deconstruction and rejuvenation who become friends and have hijinks.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


> See, stuff like this is why all I ever rewatch is Columbo.

a while back i had the best idea for a television show that anyone's ever had. here is the pitch:
what if columbo and batman teamed up
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2019 [20 favorites]


I just finished GoT a couple of weeks ago (I started it after it ended, because I was... kind of fascinated to find out what made people so mad? I'm weird I guess). The ending was terrible, I agree, for the reasons everybody has talked about in terms of misogyny and having characters do things they'd never do, but also because it didn't live up to the genre. I'd love to have been able to write the last season and a half. I'd have given every single character a heroic, cathartic death, and had the white walkers win explicitly because Cersei didn't help out. I'd have redeemed her at the end with a heroic, cathartic death, killing the white walker king as he's sending his hordes on ships to other countries. The final scene would have been a pan-out showing that literally everybody on the continent was dead.

I think if you're going to do grimdark fantasy, you should go all in.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:24 AM on October 28, 2019 [36 favorites]


This seems like a good place to drop a link to the lecture Michele Clapton gave a few years ago on the costume design in Game of Thrones. It's absolutely fantastic.

(I agree that the general amount of horror about this is not that D&D took a job that they were unskilled for, it was that they seemed to think that they didn't need to then get other people to help out and learn - and HBO continued to let them fuck around)
posted by dinty_moore at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2019 [10 favorites]


Yiiikes. Is it too late to pull the plug on whatever edgelord shit they're planning for Star Wars?
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


what if columbo and batman teamed up

Isn't this like having immovable object meeting irresistible force? They can't both be world's greatest detective.
posted by biffa at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


1) a 180 camera pan to show tourists in shorts walking by eating turkey legs at the world's most take-itself-too-seriously Renaissance festival;

I think the did the reveal of Medieval Land Fun-Time World back in S01...
posted by FatherDagon at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


After realizing that all the great endings have already been written by Shakespeare, Herman Melville, and Bob Newhart, we, all of us, learn a lesson, that, yea verily, should've been etched into our souls nigh-on 50 or more years ago by The Prisoner, namely that, barring finding some mythical hidden store of cleverness and creativity, the only way to end a well-regarded and beloved tv show is to shoot the final script out of a confetti cannon. It's just tv, right?
posted by Chitownfats at 9:38 AM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


The Last Watch, the documentary about the making of the final season of Game of Thrones, is fantastic and you should watch it. It was directed by my friend Jeanne Finlay, who kept it a total secret for 18 months while she was filming it.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


It wouldn't have gotten made if they hadn't made it, so ipso facto they deserve the credit.

Citation needed. Really. It might not have gotten made that day by that channel. It really doesn't mean it would never, ever have gotten made.
posted by praemunire at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


One day, HBO will do a live action reboot of How to Train Your Dragon, and then we’ll get the dragon fantasy series with a good ending that we deserve.
posted by gladly at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


This seems like a good place to drop a link to the lecture Michele Clapton gave a few years ago on the costume design in Game of Thrones. It's absolutely fantastic.

No joke, I read an analysis about the symbolic significance of various elements of Sansa's coronation gown, which was IMHO the redeeming feature of that last episode - the amount of care and attention that went into these details is truly staggering.

I want to apologize if my habitual slagging off the showrunners comes acrosses as diminishing the accomplishments of all the other actually talented people involved in the production.
posted by sohalt at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think if you're going to do grimdark fantasy, you should go all in.

The Black Company. Less rape, more blood, Cersei has magic. Enjoy.
posted by Ryvar at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


So it's widely acknowledged that Game of Thrones is unwatchable? Oh good, I thought it was just me!
posted by slogger at 10:07 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


After realizing that all the great endings have already been written by Shakespeare, Herman Melville, and Bob Newhart

I read this and laughed, nice quip; then I thought about it some, and it kind of holds water: few endings are effective as those found in either Moby Dick or Newhart. Endings are hard, especially in a creative medium that, by its intrinsic nature, abhors them.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Black Company

Oh shit. David Goyer and Eliza Dushku. Huh.

Welp. Fingers crossed. Again.
posted by Ryvar at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]




If we're talking about the future of written Grimdark Fantasy, I'd say look at The Poppy War.

A Song of Ice and Fire was written in response to a different fantasy climate than what we have today - it doesn't feel revolutionary to say 'actually, Medieval European life was horrible, and the people in power even moreso'. If we're going to still do grimdark, it makes more sense to have it challenge current tropes and ideas of what fantasy currently is.

Bonus - the writer of the Poppy War is exactly as old as A Game of Thrones.

(Someone optioned The Fifth Season a while ago, but no clue if that's actually ever going to show up)
posted by dinty_moore at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


This show succeeded on the strength of the actors because the writing ranged from hateful to absurd. I hope they get fired from Star Wars before it's too late.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


One day, HBO will do a live action reboot of How to Train Your Dragon, and then we’ll get the dragon fantasy series with a good ending that we deserve.

The ending of that series was filled with worse messages about how to adult than your average episode of Dora the Explorer.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:23 AM on October 28, 2019


Justinian: Just like the Brie Larson hate re: Captain Marvel?

GOT was misogynistic because "that's the way of the world," say white men who literally wrote the books and made the show; D&D failed up with the show. On the other hand, for Captain Marvel it was "critics" (angry men online) who were the misogynists, and the movie was actually good (78% fresh per critics, 53% from the audience score). Not a solid comparison there, IMO.


The Nutmeg of Consolation: So basically, D&D are a pair of arcane trickster Rogues, whose privilege has given them advantage on Deception, Persuasion, and Sleight-of-Hand checks.

I read that first line and hoped it was you, Nutmeg! Perhaps the real dragons, or winter, iron throne, or whatever the goal was in the show were the friends we made along the way, shouting at the show. #boattruthers4lyfe
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


I only now learned about David Benioff's dad *running Goldman Sachs*.

I'm reminded of Anderson Cooper being A Vanderbilt.
posted by doctornemo at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


So it's widely acknowledged that Game of Thrones is unwatchable? Oh good, I thought it was just me!

It is telling that the most generous take on the ending is "well maybe it wasn't perfect" and "everyone tried really hard!" I was able to be chipper about the disastrous final season because I moved to actively mocking it a few years ago. (Specifically, after they axed Sansa's Vale storyline and spent several episodes with Bronn's picaresque adventures in bad pussy.) I think I felt outsized irritation about the whole thing because people spent several years insisting that it was a very good show. Everyone is free to their own opinion, of course. But also: that opinion was wrong. GoT is well-acted, expensively made, and very trashy! It's...True Blood, if you nudge all the dubcon sex into rape. (And don't come @ me with comments about Vampire Bill's accent, not after whatever Tyrion and Littlefinger were doing.) I guess we want to raise up what we like (to explain why we like it). The final season wasn't as much of a surprise to me as people admitting it was bad.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:57 AM on October 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


Since the very first season of GoT my opinion has been and continues to be that it was a not-very-good TV show that masqueraded as one due to high production values, "adult" subject matter, and being on HBO. In general, HBO coasts on its reputation a lot.

Westworld is terrible, too.
posted by Automocar at 11:46 AM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


FFS, slow down with the comments people. I am using up 'favorites' like this was a goddamn Trump thread (still floating in bliss watching the "lock him up" chant videos from last night's game).
posted by Ber at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I have a great deal of antipathy toward Weiss and Benioff for their response to complaints from us people of color about how people who looked like us were treated in the show and for their treatment of Missandei, particularly for the way they fridged her.

I have a great deal of disdain toward them for not understanding, as has been noted in this thread, characters or humans.

There was a tremendous amount of heavy lifting done in those early seasons by Headey, Gleeson (Joffrey), Dance, and Dinklage. There was too much weight for Headey and Dinklage to carry alone in those final couple seasons, though they did try.

That Benioff and Weiss don't understand characters or humans was made apparent when they tried to replace Joffrey with Ramsay Bolton as "male character who does, like, totally sick shit you guys!!!1!!! Audiences will eat that up!" not understanding what Gleeson was doing with Joffrey that made us all want to punch him. God, there was waaaaay too much of stupid, boring, invincible "20 good men" Ramsay for waaaaaaay too long.

And then they tried to replace Ramsay Bolton with Sea Ramsay, who was also stupidly boring and invincible for waaaay too long.

I mean, the teleportation issues in the last couple seasons alone is enough to make me give them side-eye forever.

As others have noted, imagine how much better this would have been with people who were competent and gave a damn. As far as I'm concerned, D&D should never mention themselves as responsible in any way for the show's successes, like QBs and RBs who credit their O-lines rather than themselves for their gaudy stats (and who gift their O-lines appropriately to thank them for the things they do that make the so-called "skill positions" look good.)
posted by lord_wolf at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


The thing about GoT is that the entire series started going downhill after the end to season four when Tywin was killed off, because the show was at the border of where the books left off, minus all of the stuff from the last book the was excised by the show runners in their infinite wisdom. So you could see the quality drop-off. Watchers downplayed that drop in quality because they were expecting the ending tie everything up neatly and redeem that dip. It didn't.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:19 PM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


"Themes are for eighth-grade book reports," said the extremely mediocre man who lucked into his job with no appreciable qualifications, and then managed to make a complete botch-job of it.
posted by codacorolla at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


Westworld is terrible, too.

I’m not crying for myself, I’m crying for you. They say that great critics once roamed this Internet, as big as mountains, yet all that’s left of them is hot takes and snark. Time undoes even the mightiest of hipsters: just look at what it’s done to you.

One day you will perish. You will lie with the rest of your kind in the dirt, your dreams forgotten, your horrors effaced. Your bones will turn to sand, and upon that sand I will scrawl “Your Favorite Show Sucks.”

Because this medium doesn’t belong to you, or the gatekeepers that came before. It belongs to the audiences that are yet to come.
posted by Ryvar at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


> Gillian Anderson has played more than 30 TV and movie roles since 2004

“2004” is not a set including “the years 2005-2019”. Her IMDb credits list her as voicing Scully in an X-Files video game that year and nothing else since the series ended. Of course, she was raising her daughter and she would start working more again within a few years, but a multi-year absence from screens after being the lead in the hottest show in the world for a decade does not speak of having a hugely successful career launched by it.


"IMDB" is not a set including "the sole arbiter of everything that an actor can do". In point of fact, in 2002 she moved to the UK and concentrated on doing theater in the West End, debuting in a play called "What the Night Is For" which ran for a year. In 2004 her West End credit was for a new one-person show called "The Sweetest Swing In Baseball". The following year she returned to television in the UK.

Duchovny, it seems had been a guest star in one episode of Sex and the City and had been in a couple of movies I cannot recall at all. Carter was living in a yurt in Mongolia, iirc. They were not hugely successful immediately after the show ended is my point

In 2002 (the year the show ended) Duchovny was coming off of his cameo in Zoolander. He appeared in the film Full Frontal that year, and then started working on writing the script for House of D, which he then produced and directed and appeared in back in 2004. He also found time to be in a film called Connie and Carla at about that time. From 2005 to 2008 he was in three other movies before returning to television in Californication.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:42 PM on October 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


the only way to end a well-regarded and beloved tv show is to shoot the final script out of a confetti cannon. It's just tv, right?

Personally, I am looking forward to being angry about the end of Quantum Leap while on my deathbed.

(I had to stop watching GoT because I really can't deal with depictions of sexual assault or violence so, uh, would wind up watching about 5 minutes per episode not hiding behind my hands, but I frankly love reading discussion of it. I'm desperately curious to revisit this thread in ten years and see how we all feel with more distance.)
posted by kalimac at 12:45 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


(P.S. I cannot speak to the veracity of whether Chris Carter was in a yurt because I could not possibly give less of a shit.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Reading that, starting out, the showrunners had no real experience working with people like costume designers goes a long way to explaining why I felt the show looked so visually impoverished, especially compared to actual Medieval fashions. Apart from one or two stand-out looks, it was mostly "generic fantasy costume made from laced up scraps of leather with bits of metal sewn on," and in very washed-out color palettes.

On the other hand, credit to the show for realizing that Cersei is one of the most complex and compelling villains in modern genre fiction (although, I think a lot of the show's success in this comes down to Lena Headey's outstanding performance).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also, while the 2000 production of The House of Mirth didn't exactly light box offices on fire, it is excellent, and Gillian Anderson's performance in it is magnificent.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Reading that, starting out, the showrunners had no real experience working with people like costume designers goes a long way to explaining why I felt the show looked so visually impoverished, especially compared to actual Medieval fashions. Apart from one or two stand-out looks, it was mostly "generic fantasy costume made from laced up scraps of leather with bits of metal sewn on," and in very washed-out color palettes.

Oh man, I could not disagree more: the clothing intentionally looks worn (because realism, or something), but the costuming and hair is fantastic. The sheer amount of embroidery and care taken for creating a different silhouette for each region, being able to chart who was in power and who was trying to attain power just by looking at what color of dresses the women were wearing; the thought put into what it was like to actually wear and use the clothing - it is so much better than 90% of fantasy series when it comes to creating costumes, especially when it comes to creating costumes for women.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:17 PM on October 28, 2019 [23 favorites]


but if you didn't see that there was absolutely no way for it to end except by rendering irrelevant a huge and arbitrary range of foreshadowing, actual plot points and fundamental character traits, then I don't think you were recognising the flaws intrinsic to the source material and unaddressed in the adaptation.

or ... maybe they (D+D) just botched some of the execution. I may not like some of the plot points that drove (and ultimately resolved) the final season, but I wouldn't argue too hard that they were fundamentally wrong from a literary-dramaturgical angle. My gut tells me that Martin's notes were pretty solid (for him) toward seeing things through to a dramatically satisfactory conclusion ... but something unfortunately got lost in the translation. And if you ask me, this "lost in the translation" problem started popping up as far back as Season Five.

It's annoying that Game of Thrones didn't deliver on the promise of its first three or four seasons (some of the most compelling TV I've ever watched), but rather than get hung up on it, I'll just choose to be thankful that we got those first three or four seasons. Glass is more than half-full and all that.
posted by philip-random at 1:27 PM on October 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


I mean, this is one character! Michele Clapton created a more coherent character arc for Sansa than D&D.

Honestly, if I ever went back and rewatched the first few seasons of Game of Thrones again (I stopped watching around season five or six, I think), it'd be to pay attention to who gets put into what type of textile and what that says about their region and status (I relistened to the lecture I posted earlier, and Clapton points out that in the first episode, Robb and Bran get to wear leather while Theon and Jon have to wear cloth, and Catelyn is the only Stark that wears southern brocade. Details!).

Like, this is some Star Wars level of detail, only this stuff is more comfortable to wear than your average Star Wars costume.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:30 PM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


The thing about GoT is that the entire series started going downhill after the end to season four when Tywin was killed off, because the show was at the border of where the books left off, minus all of the stuff from the last book the was excised by the show runners in their infinite wisdom. So you could see the quality drop-off. Watchers downplayed that drop in quality because they were expecting the ending tie everything up neatly and redeem that dip. It didn't.

The other thing that happened about then was that their budget went through the roof. Battles in early seasons happen off-screen (like in Shakespeare!) and it’s very much television, rather than trying to be “cinematic”.

They were given the cash to film enormous LotR style CGI battles at the exact moment that they ran out of someone else’s dialogue, so we got a lot less backroom scheming and a lot more technicolor explosions.

(That also meant that they could foreground their hyper-accelerated white savior narrative, which depended on having lots of CGI for all the exotic instagrammable backdrops in Slavers’ Bay.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


And that money was for naught as the CGI battles were uniformly terrible. Better to have left them offscreen and saved the CGI money for the dragons.
posted by porpoise at 1:37 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


it is so much better than 90% of fantasy series when it comes to creating costumes, especially when it comes to creating costumes for women.

I would agree with you when it comes to the costumes worn by the Westerosi noblewomen, particularly when at King's Landing, and the designs for Sansa were especially good. But on the other hand, the costumes of the peasantry and urban citizens were just uniformly dirt brown (for significant portions of what we now call the Middle Ages, not only were there multiple status and economic distinctions among peasants and town-dwellers, but some could afford quite elaborate clothing). As well, I found the costumes worn by the Greyjoys and the Freys, for example, to be very generic and dull.

The clothing worn by the Dothraki made no sense at all for a steppe people, but then nothing about Dothraki culture makes any damn sense to begin with.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:47 PM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


I don't really buy into the idea that without D+D, the show couldn't have happened.

The show is awash with actors who did great jobs, often turning shit into gold (sadly in Tyrion's case, maybe too well, which hampered later seasons' use of him because he was a fan favorite and thus couldn't go "bad"). It's also buoyed up hugely by tons of writers who wrote many of the best episodes who aren't D+D, great production designers, great props people, and many hundreds if not thousands of others who had a hand.

Yes, D+D were at the helm, but that doesn't mean it can't be also true that the success of the show is largely owed to the swathes of talented people involved in creating it who didn't write the abysmal last season (and more or less drive the nearly as abysmal couple seasons prior).

The best work D+D did was in the first few seasons, when they had a map to work off of. The moment they had to find their own way, shit started falling apart. I think it's fair to lay that squarely on them as showrunners and writers of the biggest turds in the shitpile.
posted by tocts at 1:51 PM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


The clothing worn by the Dothraki made no sense at all for a steppe people, but then nothing about Dothraki culture makes any damn sense to begin with.

Jason Mamoa probably could have made this outfit work.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:55 PM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Jason Momoa would have looked amazing in that outfit.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:57 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Although, it may have originally been worn by a woman.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:11 PM on October 28, 2019


It's better and worse.

D&D deserve credit for a truly epic set of tasks they for which they were primarily responsible, including selling HBO that heavily-budgeted adult high fantasy was on-brand and would succeed, a nearly-perfect cast of dozens, the master plot through the first three books that elided adroitly and preserved everything critical, the major locations, the visual palette, the tone of the writing.

Had they cared enough to finish well, they would have ended with 30 episodes in three years instead of 13, which would have given their writers' room enough space naturally to make more sense of everything, even if they had to follow a GRRM outline that dictated the dragon massacre.

But they didn't. They knew better and were just too lazy and too bored to finish strong themselves, and too vain to hand it over to someone who could.
posted by MattD at 2:15 PM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


But on the other hand, the costumes of the peasantry and urban citizens were just uniformly dirt brown (for significant portions of what we now call the Middle Ages, not only were there multiple status and economic distinctions among peasants and town-dwellers, but some could afford quite elaborate clothing).

I mean, the idea of judging at television show by the costuming that the extras are wearing aside, they actually weren't - they make a point of having different color palettes for different locations, plus different levels of obvious restitching. Look at screenshots around Winterfell versus Kings Landing - even the extras are wearing blue-grays versus red-browns. It's not realistic to have everyone in the same area wear the same colors, no, but it is good visual storytelling in a show that jumps around as much as Game of Thrones does.

This is also a world largely without a middle class - part of the point of the series is that you have a substantial amount of wealth at the top fighting over power with a lot of people at the bottom suffering because of it. There's only so much you can do to show fabric texture on screen, so we're going to have to go with more visual ways of showing the difference between the haves and the have-nots.

I could go more into the Freys and the Greyjoys, but generally, their stark character costumes are part of the storytelling, plus the way everything in those areas were shot, not much of the costume details showed up on screen (there's a ton of cool and difficult to replicate at home salt-bleaching to the Greyjoy costumes - though personally I would have preferred more knitting/naalbinding on the accessories, for extra Viking).

The Essos stuff was a lot sloppier, yeah (there's a point where Clapton just refers to what she's doing for the entirety of Essos as ethnic costumes, which eugh), but I'd still argue that there was obviously more thought put into the clothing than you're giving it credit for.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


yes, I know knitting and naalbinding are two different crafts, but if I can't get naalbinding, I'll take knitting
posted by dinty_moore at 2:33 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


I absolutely agree about the Greyjoys- they could have used a lot more Scandinavian type details, but instead they just went with a very bland "Tudor doublet + trousers" look.

The lack of either a prosperous peasantry or free urban class in Westeros actually speaks more to problems I have with the books, than with the show itself. GRRM really hasn't thought out the economy or ecology of Westeros very well.

Here we have a mainly agrarian society with unpredictable and sometimes multi-year winters. The main object of all agricultural activity should be preserving and stockpiling as much food as possible. Now, the fact that the nobility of Westeros is dedicating so much of their agricultural surplus to fighting each other is problematic to begin with. However, the activities of a military class don't necessarily have to be rational, no matter how short-sighted they might be. After all, it is a weak feudal system in the middle of a multi-generational succession crisis, that may in fact be reverting to an older Feasting-Warlord model of Kingship.

The real question is how are the Seven Kingdoms borrowing all this money? What are they giving to Braavos as collateral? How are they servicing this debt. Other than agricultural products (which need to be retained to the greatest degree possible to prevent mass starvation during winter), and some minerals, the only other two notable products of Westeros appear to be high-class prostitutes and artisinal stabbings. Neither of those things transport all that well.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:48 PM on October 28, 2019 [13 favorites]


The Lannisters have massive gold mines under their property, and The Reach produces wine that's famous across the narrow sea. Also promising Braavosi bankers land deeds after things are all settled seems like a possibility. But your point seems broadly correct. However for as much as it's handwaved in the books, it's utterly ignored in the show.
posted by codacorolla at 3:03 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fun things to do at IKEA whilst accidentally drunk #5: loudly talk and point at the rug they used for the Night Watch, wait for people to be irresistibly drawn to them
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:07 PM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also, it's one show where theres basically always a bunch of women characters and that is still ridiculously rare.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:10 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


What's that you say? Ridiculously bare?
posted by glasseyes at 3:34 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't get people who say D&D "ruined" Game of Thrones with Season 8 because honestly GRRM himself already ruined the series in 2005 with Feast For Crows, way before the TV series had ever been conceived. I feel like D&D did a reasonably credible job with the story post Storm of Swords... I mean... what was the whole Quentyn Martell storyline? I... didn't care about the Aegon Targaryen storyline either.

The series had moments of brilliance. The choice to change Roose Bolton to Tywin Lannister in the scenes with Arya at Harrenhal was great. So was the choice to greatly expand Oberyn Martell's role. It felt like in those cases D&D were more hands off and allowed those great actors to play to their strengths rather than strictly following the storyline.

There were a number of areas where the books made a lot more sense. I think Jeyne and Robb made a heck of a lot more logical and thematic sense than Talisa and Robb, for example.

End of the day they can both be treated as alternate universes of the same general story and I think the world is a lot richer that they both coexist!

The ending is fitting, in any case. Arguably the entire story kicked off with the Lannisters executing the Targaryens even after they surrendered, and the series ends with the Targaryen executing the Lannisters / King's Landing even after they surrendered.
posted by xdvesper at 3:57 PM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


“ IMDB" is not a set including "the sole arbiter of everything that an actor can do". In point of fact, in 2002 she moved to the UK and concentrated on doing theater in the West End, debuting in a play called "What the Night Is For" which ran for a year.

It is a fairly complete catalogue of appearances onscreen which, again, is what I was talking about. Theatre is a fine and noble way to practice one’s art but if you go from being seen by, what, fifteen or twenty million people per week to being seen by a few hundred per performance... can we agree that this does reduce one’s pop culture prominence? Lea Salonga is the first name that comes to mind for a major Broadway actress who does not appear on screen very much. Will you allow that Lea Salonga could walk through a crowd more anonymously than, say, Julia Roberts?

Duchovny produced and acted in a show on Showtime called "Californication" for most of that period.

*Sigh*. As stated explicitly and repeatedly above, I was talking about the first couple of years after the end of the original series; indeed, I specifically mentioned 2004. Californication seems to have started in 2007.

Can we add “when was 2004?” to the list of Things MetaFilter Does Not Do Well?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:18 PM on October 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


The real question is how are the Seven Kingdoms borrowing all this money?

The real question is why do they keep saying things like “winter could last nine years”.

How do they know what “a year” is, when their seasons are wildly different lengths?

Surely a year ends when winter ends, regardless of its length in lunar months, or whatever other fixed period of time they are able to use?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:19 PM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


The worldwide gross for all the LOTR movies is right about $4,000,000,000, so someone besides the nerds are watching them.

I thought it was fairly obvious I was referring to people rewatching it as a Christmas tradition. Clearly I hit a nerve!
posted by schroedinger at 4:23 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


The series had moments of brilliance. The choice to change Roose Bolton to Tywin Lannister in the scenes with Arya at Harrenhal was great. So was the choice to greatly expand Oberyn Martell's role. It felt like in those cases D&D were more hands off and allowed those great actors to play to their strengths rather than strictly following the storyline.

I think it shows that the show runners are great at fanfiction. Which isn't meant to demean the medium, really. The power in fanfic is that when someone else has already created a consistent world with rules for you, and then gone the extra mile of establishing characters and plots, then you can have the freedom of working within those limits and establishing depth that go beyond the original story. Thus, the best adaptations are partly fanfic in the sense that they go in directions that the original works never had a chance to explore.

So that explains why the best seasons of this show are the earlier ones, where there was a wealth of material that they could work with, and at times depart from or rearrange, to have greater effect. But afterwards, they had no such luxury. They had to write their own original ideas. Which are far more lacking.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:25 PM on October 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


How do they know what “a year” is, when their seasons are wildly different lengths?

Their gran sends them a new kitten calendar.
posted by biffa at 4:36 PM on October 28, 2019 [25 favorites]


A new culture of "only people with a long list of existing credentials get money" doesn't help marginalized filmmakers break in; what helps is "treat ambitious could-be-great, could-be-a-disaster proposals from women and people of color the same way you treat those proposals from people who look like the guys who write the checks."

THIS is what the vast majority of the criticism I've seen has boiled down to.

I've had a few experiences where people have been willing to take a chance on me & my idea despite being a minority, relatively inexperienced, and having to learn on the job. Those experiences have been some of the most profound in my career and really helped me build skills and confidence.

At the same time, I've also been eternally frustrated by being shut out of opportunities (not even interviews half the time) despite being more than qualified, only for the opportunity to go to a Mediocre White Person who doesn't even get the job done in the end. It's like there's something inherently not "enough" - in my case, not White and too foreign.
posted by divabat at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2019 [15 favorites]


Nevermind teaming up with Batman. I want a Columbo reboot with Natasha Lyonne in the title role. GIVE NATASHA A TRENCHCOAT. Imagine her putting her hand to the side of her head and saying "Oh, just one other thing..."
posted by rmd1023 at 5:34 PM on October 28, 2019 [28 favorites]


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

That's right. Fight me.


Space Jesus. Space Demons. Consider yourself defeated.
posted by mwhybark at 6:11 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Did nobody stop to tell them that running a huge production and writing for it are probably two different, intensive full-time creative tasks? This seems to have been overlooked by the producers or whoever are supposed to be checking them before commiting decisions in each season. But I guess that really proves that HBO execs are fine with mediocrity as long as it extracts money super well.
posted by polymodus at 6:20 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Space Jesus. Space Demons. Consider yourself defeated.

No? It may seem strange that a long-running series actually wraps up its plot arcs, but Sisko became Space Jesus in the very first episode, and the groundwork for the last big battle was being laid before the last season even began.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 PM on October 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


The Black Company

Oh shit. David Goyer and Eliza Dushku. Huh.

Welp. Fingers crossed. Again.


Oh fuck yes. I don't care how bad it is. I want to see Shapeshifter, I want to hear Soulcatcher.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:07 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Soulcatcher will need to be an ensemble voice cast, though. Otherwise someone with good physical acting will do since she's in tight leathers and masked morion helm most of the time. If it gets that far, there's always CG/ makeup/ stand-in. Precedent in Matt Bomer's (and Matthew Zuk's?) Negativeman in 'Doom Patrol.'

Croaker's starts out just realizing that he's getting older, gets older through the series, goes into stasis, and ends being old. Can't think of anyone who could pull it off without having to change actors.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau visibly aged a little (albeit one of few characters that did); the youngest of the cast were chosen well, mostly.

I'm oddly ok with Dushku as The Lady/ Lady. I like the callout to a 'cradle of civilization.' Trick would be her makeup, but we know that she can pull a Fin Raziel. Sweet spot for physical age.

For the love of grod, I hope One-eye and Goblin's earlier stuff is forgotten/ their characterizations accelerated. They were 60's/70's college zine caricatures at the beginning. Like I've expounded elsewhere in the blue, Cook's writing definitely improves. One-eye and Goblin are major characters that you learn to adore and care about through the series.

The first third of the series had a weird body horror/ soul horror (when there is evidence that souls exist) story arc. Very heavy metal. 20-yo me, 20 years ago, would have asked for Clive Owen. Now? Nathan Explosion?
posted by porpoise at 8:41 PM on October 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


Oh.

Crazy Jane (Doom Patrol) ~ Soulcatcher.

I liked how they did Jane.
posted by porpoise at 8:48 PM on October 28, 2019


It's like they saw this throne representing the pinnacle of television producing and decided that they would destroy anything to claim it.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:13 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]




March 2015- Game of Thrones: HBO wants more than 7 seasons
“This is the hard part of what we do,” sighs HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “We started this journey with David and Dan. It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go 10 years as both a fan and a network executive? Absolutely.”
September 2018- George R.R. Martin Teases 'Game of Thrones' Could Have Lasted 13 Seasons
“I don’t know,” Martin explained. “Ask David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] when they come through. We could have gone to 11, 12, 13 seasons, but I guess they wanted a life.”

As Martin went on to explain, he believes that the series omitted quite a lot of content from his original novels, which would have theoretically helped the show carry on.

“If you’ve read my novels, you know there was enough material for more seasons." Martin added. "They made certain cuts, but that’s fine."
October 2019- Game of Thrones director actually agrees with backlash to finale: 'It was really rushed'
‘Inevitably, I would’ve taken a different approach to directing. One of the greatest experiences I had with working on both those episodes was that they were so open to bringing my ideas, particularly about battle scenes and how battles worked.

‘I would’ve definitely added my strategy and knowledge to that.’
Hope D&D are happy, the slug heads.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:07 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh.

Clive Owen in 'Children of Men' is basically 2nd half Raven. Cliven Own from Bourne might be 1st half Raven. Can't think of Owen from a "fallen Noble/ Lord" role, though, to complement the first half.
posted by porpoise at 11:08 PM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think it shows that the show runners are great at fanfiction.

They really, really aren't. Because fanfiction is usually all about the relationships, and D&D really sucked at developing those too. I will always hate a story that plays that "men has to kill the woman he loves for the greater good" trope straight, but the whole thing might not have felt quite as hollow if D&D had done anything to actually sell that Jon/Dany romance (Emilia and Kit might not be the best actors of the cast, but you really can't put that on them. The script gave them nothing to work with).

The best episode of the last season, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms, worked, because there were all those call-backs to relationship moments from the good seasons, when there was still source material. A veritable feast for Jaimie/Brienne shippers. And then the showrunners opted to the have it all go down the drain, because Jaime had to be in King's Landing to die with Cersei, because plot.
posted by sohalt at 11:43 PM on October 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


I was referring to the stuff about earlier seasons though. Besides the cited examples, there’s also the Arya and the Hound quest, which was an inspired move. The choices in the new seasons were largely bad.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:59 PM on October 28, 2019


Arya and the Hound is from the books.

I did like the Arya and Tywin scenes and I guess that one Robert/Cersei scene was okay too. But that seems more like a stopped-clock right twice a day situation. The real test of the fanfiction writer is - can they make you ship something? And I don't see that happening for D&D.
posted by sohalt at 12:35 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


How soon you forget Tormund / Brienne.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be a debbie downer but I think The Black Company is in development hell. I haven't heard a peep about it in two years.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am incredibly relieved to hear they're quitting Star Wars.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:03 AM on October 29, 2019 [9 favorites]


They supposedly quit because they are too busy and it's right on brand for them to ignore all the backlash from this interview and say that they are too popular for Star Wars.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:45 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don't want to be a debbie downer but I think The Black Company is in development hell. I haven't heard a peep about it in two years.

Hopefully they pull a Limper and brute force their way through (and they cast Brad Dourif or Mark Hammill as him - proper scene chewing character actors, them).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:41 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


How soon you forget Tormund / Brienne.

Clearly better in theory than in practice. (Unless reciprocity is not an important criterion for your ships). Some people may like the idea because they want a happy ending for Brienne, but sadly D&D didn't manage to include a single scene where Brienne looks even slightly into the idea.

Now, Tormund/Jon, you might have a bit of case. D&D kinda ramped that up compared to the books, and it's the second best thing about the last episode after Sansa's gown. But my suspicion is that was more of an accident.
posted by sohalt at 6:36 AM on October 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


There is zero chance that they quit this week. They quit or were fired whenever -- but a long time ago -- and had an agreement with Disney about timing the announcement.
posted by jeather at 6:50 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am incredibly relieved to hear they're quitting Star Wars.


Personally I'd rather them make some generic trilogy set in the Star Wars universe than take on a previously unspoiled book/comic and ruin that. This is assuming they're going to be adapting something. I don't think Star Wars can really be damaged at this point.
posted by skewed at 6:55 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


You could do a whole spin-off as to whether Brienne is just the miserable victim of her class prejudices. It might be better than season 8.
posted by biffa at 6:55 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really don't see why Brienne has to be into a guy just because he's into her. They just don't have the same values, and I don't think that's about class. Tormund likes her because she's tall and can fight, but can you imagine them having an actual conversation? What would they talk about?
posted by sohalt at 7:03 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


She doesn't have to be into him, but is she rejecting him out of prejudice? She doesn't have murder or rape in common with Jamie, but they still find common ground somehow.
posted by biffa at 7:21 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's refreshing that so many of us have decided not to argue about our opinions, and are instead spending hundreds of words arguing about verifiable facts, like the years that particular performances took place.
posted by sugar and confetti at 7:32 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.

Avatar the Last Airbender.
Steven Universe.

As far as influential shows go, based on what I've seen in the fan and creative community, those two shows have had far more influence than GoT (especially when it comes to diversity).
posted by happyroach at 7:33 AM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

That's right. Fight me.


the adjective was cool. No Star Trek anything has ever been cool. We've had good, fun, engrossing, relevant even ... but never cool. No vision of the future that involves our best and brightest walking around in what amounts to the their pajamas all the time could ever be cool. There's also an underlying earnestness to the Star Trek universe. Earnest and cool are like the Cain and Abel of adjectives ... unable to co-exist in the same basic real estate.
posted by philip-random at 8:26 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


She doesn't have to be into him, but is she rejecting him out of prejudice? She doesn't have murder or rape in common with Jamie, but they still find common ground somehow.

Exactly, common ground like the ideals of chivalry, protecting the vulnerable, responsibility that comes with power, honoring oaths, the difficulty of it when you have obligations towards more than one person, etc. Jaime started out as an idealist, Brienne reminds him of a less jaded version of himself and helps him to rediscover his original values - Brienne learns that things aren't always so black and white, while still trying to preserve her core values, but it's hard, and she becomes less rigid, etc. They have loads of stuff to bond over. Deep, complex stuff.

Just don't see any of that with Tormund. Not saying it's impossible that there might be something there, but the show never bothers to hint at any potential. And that's precisely what I mean by "D&D suck at fanfiction". They give shippers who want to go deeper than "He's into tall women who could beat him up" nothing to work with.
posted by sohalt at 8:28 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


No Star Trek anything has ever been cool.

Herbert!
posted by thelonius at 9:03 AM on October 29, 2019 [10 favorites]


While I liked the idea of Tormund/Brienne, the instant torpedoing of Tormund/Brienne was one of the most hilarious surprises of the whole show. And like...it works?? I know Brienne is the closest GoT comes to a perfect person, but she's also a born-and-raised noblewoman who we know is attracted to pretty men of her class. She knows looks aren't important, really, but she likes what she likes. Part of what she likes are table manners and a specific standard of grooming, and Tormund doesn't qualify. They could've written something else -- especially if they had space to write a couple more Knight of the Seven Kingdoms episodes -- but they didn't. And that's fine, because the look on Gwendolyn Christie's face when Tormund started rudely admiring her was so, so funny.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:15 AM on October 29, 2019 [11 favorites]


The thing with Brienne is that she rejects Tormund out of class prejudice, but also out of self-loathing. She has internalized the patriarchy’s negative evaluation of her appearance so completely that she is incapable of conceiving that somebody might genuinely find her attractive as a woman.

Which Tormund absolutely does, because he comes from a society that assesses beauty purely as a function of survival quotient and on that metric Brienne’s a fucking supermodel.

The hope underpinning all Brienne-Tormund shippers at heart is that she can slay the patriarchy’s dragon within herself, and see her way towards a relationship where she is truly appreciated as beautiful, rather than settling for Jaime humoring her.

Or that plus giant babies. YMMV.
posted by Ryvar at 10:00 AM on October 29, 2019 [13 favorites]


she can slay the patriarchy’s dragon within herself

I promise I will stop being a book-pusher after this, but the book version of Brienne is even greater than the great show version, in part because she doesn’t say any crap like “stop crying like a woman” or the other stuff the show writers often put in the mouths of the strong female characters on the show. I find her romantic interests clearer in the books as well. Her problem is not rejecting herself as a woman or a knight, but that others refuse to accept who she is in full...at least so far ;-)
posted by sallybrown at 10:13 AM on October 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


I'm all for slaying the patriarchy, I just don't think finally being deemed beautiful by a man is so fullfilling as to compensate for a total lack of common interests/shared values. It's my profoundly held conviction that even a plain woman for whom that would have some actual novelty value shouldn't be that easy to please.

That said, we're clearly in very subjective territory by now, and I want to conclude this derail by admitting that my lack of enthusiam for the Tormund/Brienne ship is apparenty a personal issue, and one of the rare things that _shouldn't_ be blamed on D&D. It clearly works for some of you, so I guess I'll have to give them credit for that. They could pull off a somewhat convincing ship after all.
posted by sohalt at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


They could pull off a somewhat convincing ship after all.

I dunno that they could pull off a convincing ship. The water floating this ship appears to be provided entirely by fans carrying buckets. Which is more legit than anything D&D could manage, IMO.
posted by asperity at 11:39 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Wow, damn, the prequel that was getting the most media attention (starring Naomi Watts and written by Jane Goldman) is not moving forward at HBO.
posted by sallybrown at 1:15 PM on October 29, 2019


To have this kind of fallout, the Austin Film Festival must've been one hell of a drunk party.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:26 PM on October 29, 2019


Wow, damn, the prequel that was getting the most media attention (starring Naomi Watts and written by Jane Goldman) is not moving forward at HBO.

Which kind of sucks - were Weiss and Benioff even involved in that? I can imagine the HBO execs' takeaway from this backlash as thinking 'Game of Thrones the IP is dead' instead of 'hey, maybe we should reevaluate our hiring practices' . Though in practice, it sounds like this pilot was already having issues before this weekend.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think they're gonna do the targaryan prequel series instead, it's easier to tie in lots of goofy easter eggs for bookfans, there's already an easy 2-3 seasons worth of materials published by GRRM, and the ending of the whole thing has already been (very broadly) outlined. They could draw it out for years and years and essentially have the last episode of the last season take place 20 years before episode 1 of GoT. Creatively that sounds more boring, but probably more safe. Although having several decades lapse between seasons (or even episodes) could be cool.
posted by skewed at 1:56 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


As HBO was starting its “GoT is ending” planning years ago (before the AT&T merger), there were somewhere between 4-7 potential prequels planned at HBO with various premises, most of which I don’t think we learned much about, but including this Jane Goldman/Naomi Watts one that GRRM was involved in and got the furthest (which was supposed to be about the Long Night / the Age of Heroes and had a female showrunner, writers, star, and directors). According to Variety, all of those potential prequels are now dead.

Then much more recently, the series skewed describes was announced, and GRRM was also described as being involved in that one. I think that’s also at HBO (?) but either way for now that one’s still moving ahead.
posted by sallybrown at 2:17 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


> They wanted to expand the fan base to people beyond the fantasy fan base to “mothers, NFL players”...

Dying to hear what the NFL players think of that.


As someone who's both a mother and a fan of fantasy, I... well, I roll my eyes and go about my day, I can't say it comes as a surprise.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:36 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


> You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.

The Legend of Korra.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:55 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


You know what, just out of curiosity, I'd like to see everybody's list of stuff that's as cool as the X-Files, the Matrix, et al, but that stayed good all the way to the end.

I want to hear recommendations for live-action series that stuck the ending; nothing animated. (Not that animated shows aren't great, but for some reason the scripting seems to be stronger.)
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:00 PM on October 29, 2019


Chernobyl? Like, arguably it got a popularity bump from following in HBO after GoT, and it wasn't a Big Sprawling Thing (but then, I generally think big sprawling things are terrible), but it was cool and stuck the landing, while being a big-budget episodic thing.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:11 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I want to hear recommendations for live-action series that stuck the ending; nothing animated.

This is obviously both extremely subjective and depends on your bar for sticking the landing, but I thought Fringe, Haven, and Continuum all ended basically satisfactorily and in a way that was true to what had happened before.
posted by PMdixon at 4:21 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okay!

So far, so live-action shows with satisfying endings, we have votes for DEEP SPACE NINE; THE AMERICANS; and CHERNOBYL. One is SF/space opera-- and the other two are historical drama (contemporary historical drama?). Both are pretty far from GOT's fantasy/sword and sorcery stuff, but hey, it's interesting to see what people come up with.

I personally think Taye Digg's one-season show DAY BREAK is pretty amazing. That's prodecural/drama/time travel, fyi. It had a very satisfying end.

PMdixon, you're right! CONTINUUM was great. I don't know why I didn't think of it.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:24 PM on October 29, 2019


I also loved SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND, and at the time, I thought that had a pretty strong ending, though I probably wouldn't rewatch because the lead actor died of cancer during the show and to be recast. :(
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:28 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


I thought _Killjoys_ stuck its landing quite well, and while the _Farscape_ miniseries had issues (they should have dropped a lot of plot from their planned fifth season, instead of crowding it), the actual climax was in theme and a satisfying conclusion for the characters.
posted by tavella at 4:36 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Continuum is actually a really great example because the last season felt a little rushed and not up the quality bar of what came before, but they still stuck the landing in a narratively satisfying way.

How about Black Sails? That show had a consistently strong narrative, and the ending isn't as strong in my memory as some of the other points of the story, but it was solid enough.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:44 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


I watched all of Spartacus and thought the ending was good.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:53 PM on October 29, 2019


live-action series that stuck the ending

Orphan Black.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 5:30 PM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


I want to hear recommendations for live-action series that stuck the ending; nothing animated. (Not that animated shows aren't great, but for some reason the scripting seems to be stronger.)

Person of Interest. It's on Netflix.
posted by mikelieman at 5:51 PM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought Leverage stuck the ending. The Americans. Breaking Bad. I actually think the series wasn't good but Angel's ending was perfect. (I thought Fringe's last season was dreadful, so obviously all this is pretty subjective.)
posted by jeather at 6:07 PM on October 29, 2019


I thought that '12 Monkeys' ended way better than it needed to. 'Ash vs The Evil Dead' ended being a hagiographic sendoff for the Ash Williams character.

Seconding 'Black Sails' and 'Person of Interest.

I'd argue that Dollhouse absolutely stuck the ending despite starting off rocky as heck.

'Future Man' ended surreal and one of the actually smarter time travel shows.

The ending of 'Rome' was pretty metal.
posted by porpoise at 6:24 PM on October 29, 2019


The Targaryen prequel got a 10-episode series order from HBO. More on it:
The spinoff, titled House of the Dragon, is co-created by GoT book author George R.R. Martin and Colony creator Ryan J. Condal, and is set 300 years before the original Thrones series, chronicling “the beginning of the end for House Targaryen.” Martin’s companion book Fire & Blood serves as a template for the new series. GoT vet Miguel Sapochnik will direct. Sapochnik and Condal will serve as co-showrunners.

The project is a reworking of the rejected spinoff concept from Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman, which officially got the axe back in April. (Cogman is now serving as a consultant on Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation.)
source
posted by sallybrown at 6:31 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Justified is another show with a solid ending
posted by InfidelZombie at 6:36 PM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


(I do want to see the Fire & Blood stuff but I also feel like it will be super weird to have all that incest in one show...I mean...)
posted by sallybrown at 6:36 PM on October 29, 2019


I haven't read Fire & Blood, but I imagine it could be good to the degree that it draws from GRRM; being really real, GoT didn't start to run into serious problems until it ran out of books to adapt, and it's pretty clear where the best material came from. But I think HBO really dropped the ball on the Jane Goldman show. She's a terrific writer, and it was led by Naomi Watts? THAT Naomi Watts? Only the best actress of her generation? Like, what the fuck is HBO even doing lately?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:17 PM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


No vision of the future that involves our best and brightest walking around in what amounts to the their pajamas all the time could ever be cool.

De gustibus non est disputandum and whatnot, but FFS.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:56 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Breaking Bad ended with a bloody magnificent song -- I'll give it that.
posted by philip-random at 10:09 PM on October 29, 2019


There's a small show in its final season right now that I suspect may end very well but I'm not going to name names lest I tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I second that emotion
posted by bq at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2019


finish the damn books george
posted by mwhybark at 11:10 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]




The thing that pisses me off is that you can, in retrospect, see exactly where the dramatic hole is and the rest of the story is like a warehouse missing a support beam, with half of the roof caved in and rain and rats destroying everything inside.

Book five of the series, released after the TV show started but long before the TV show started writing the bits adapted from book four, mostly revolved around a random refugee in the east named Young Griff as much as it revolved around anybody. Young Griff turns out to be Aegon, son of Daenarys' oldest brother, switched at birth with some random peasant so that Mountain Clegane could take out a poor child instead of the "important" one, although there are also hints that he's just a random poor child who's impersonating the royal baby, or that he's the illegitimate son of Illyrio(the man who sold Daenarys to Aquaman and the Horse Bros) and a woman descended from an offshoot from the royal family, or something even more convoluted.

The point is, Young Griff had a handler, Old Griff, who was actually a general from the last war. The defining moment in Old Griff's life was when he was searching a captured city for Robert Baratheon and the people kept ringing bells and moving Robert around and generally fucking with him, costing him the battle, then the war, then his family and titles and every member of the family he served except for little (fake?)Aegon.

In the finale a conqueror with a reputation for justice hears bells and goes fuckin' crazy, just looting and destroying and executing everyone.

Imagine a finale where fAegon has one of the dragons, his general is the one who goes mad, and Daenarys loses control of her own army instead of just telling them to go be evil in the most pointless heel turn ever.

It still might have been terrible but a four way fight between Cersei's forces and the three different targaryan factions might have at least been consistent with established characters. Of course, this storyline would've taken too long to wrap up and d/d wanted to get right to that star wars project they just got fired from.
posted by fomhar at 9:37 AM on November 2, 2019 [7 favorites]


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