May 12, 2014
Is Game of Thrones Just Killing Time?

Our roundtable on “The Laws of God and Men,” the sixth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Is Game of Thrones Just Killing Time?

Our roundtable on “The Laws of God and Men,” the sixth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

May 8, 2014
Why Nobody Writes About Popular TV Shows

On TV, the concept of “popularity” is easy to measure and hard to understand.
In music, the most popular songs are inescapable, and their artists become national celebrities. In movies, the most popular films are feted in the Monday papers and widely acknowledged, even if they only compete for the special-effects awards in March. But on television, the world of criticism and the world of viewership aren’t merely askew; they’re mostly on different planets. No self-respecting TV critic writes about NCIS: Los Angeles, ever—ever—even though the all-time most-popular episode of Game of Thrones (which is, itself, the all-time most-popular HBO show) got fewer viewers than an NCIS: LA rerun. As I wrote a few months ago, the most essayed-about show (Girls), most tweeted-about show (Pretty Little Liars), and most buzzed-about show (at the time: House of Cards) sum to half the average audience of NCIS (which is hardly essayed, tweeted, or buzzed about at all).
More than other entertainment industries, TV seems to play by the rules of a peculiar Faustian bargain: Be popular and scarcely acknowledged; or be praised and scarcely watched.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Why Nobody Writes About Popular TV Shows

On TV, the concept of “popularity” is easy to measure and hard to understand.

In music, the most popular songs are inescapable, and their artists become national celebrities. In movies, the most popular films are feted in the Monday papers and widely acknowledged, even if they only compete for the special-effects awards in March. But on television, the world of criticism and the world of viewership aren’t merely askew; they’re mostly on different planets. No self-respecting TV critic writes about NCIS: Los Angeles, ever—ever—even though the all-time most-popular episode of Game of Thrones (which is, itself, the all-time most-popular HBO show) got fewer viewers than an NCIS: LA rerun. As I wrote a few months ago, the most essayed-about show (Girls), most tweeted-about show (Pretty Little Liars), and most buzzed-about show (at the time: House of Cards) sum to half the average audience of NCIS (which is hardly essayed, tweeted, or buzzed about at all).

More than other entertainment industries, TV seems to play by the rules of a peculiar Faustian bargain: Be popular and scarcely acknowledged; or be praised and scarcely watched.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

May 5, 2014
Just How Game Changing Was That Revelation on Game of Thrones?

Our roundtable on “First of His Name,” the fifth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO]

Just How Game Changing Was That Revelation on Game of Thrones?

Our roundtable on “First of His Name,” the fifth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO]

May 2, 2014
Game of Thrones - Sex and Violence = ‘European Castle Documentary’

This week, China Central Television (CCTV) made an uncharacteristically bold move: It aired the first season pilot of Game of Thrones, the popular HBO fantasy drama renowned for gruesome violence and graphic sex scenes. The move is likely part of a broader plan to help boost the audience for the country’s state-run traditional television stations, whose notoriously dull, heavily regulated programming has lost viewers to video streaming sites.

Yet CCTV evidently had to hew to rules on “public morality” that the Community Party endorses; the pilot episode of the first season, “Winter is Coming” is about 11 minutes shorter than HBO’s and is dubbed in Mandarin.
If the internet response to CCTV’s tidied-up Game of Thrones is anything to go by, viewers are way too used to watching both pirated and licensed versions of foreign shows to swallow Communist Party-approved drama.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Game of Thrones - Sex and Violence = ‘European Castle Documentary’

This week, China Central Television (CCTV) made an uncharacteristically bold move: It aired the first season pilot of Game of Thrones, the popular HBO fantasy drama renowned for gruesome violence and graphic sex scenes. The move is likely part of a broader plan to help boost the audience for the country’s state-run traditional television stations, whose notoriously dull, heavily regulated programming has lost viewers to video streaming sites.

Yet CCTV evidently had to hew to rules on “public morality” that the Community Party endorses; the pilot episode of the first season, “Winter is Coming” is about 11 minutes shorter than HBO’s and is dubbed in Mandarin.

If the internet response to CCTV’s tidied-up Game of Thrones is anything to go by, viewers are way too used to watching both pirated and licensed versions of foreign shows to swallow Communist Party-approved drama.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

April 28, 2014
Game of Thrones Goes Off Script—for Better or for Worse?

Our roundtable on “Oathkeeper,” the fourth episode of the fourth season of the HBO show.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Game of Thrones Goes Off Script—for Better or for Worse?

Our roundtable on “Oathkeeper,” the fourth episode of the fourth season of the HBO show.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

April 24, 2014
Spoilers: Six Game of Thrones Moments to Look Forward To

A book reader reminds other book readers of what’s (probably) to come.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Spoilers: Six Game of Thrones Moments to Look Forward To

A book reader reminds other book readers of what’s (probably) to come.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

April 22, 2014
Game of Thrones Stumbles Into Rape

So, about what happened in the Sept of Baelor…

If you watched “Breaker of Chains,” the Game of Thrones episode that aired Sunday night, you were probably shocked by a scene in which Jaime Lannister rapes his twin sister, Cersei, by the body of their dead son, the murdered kinglet Joffrey. Not that this would necessarily be a great surprise: Game of Thrones is famous, after all, for its ugly shocks (beheaded Ned, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding…)

But this shock, I think, was unintentional—or rather, not the particular shock that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had intended.
The scene was based on a passage in the George R.R. Martin novel A Storm of Swords (from which this season of the show is principally adapted). But the scene is different in a few relatively minor details and in one major one: in the book the sex, however illicit and appalling, is consensual.
Read more.

Game of Thrones Stumbles Into Rape

So, about what happened in the Sept of Baelor…

If you watched “Breaker of Chains,” the Game of Thrones episode that aired Sunday night, you were probably shocked by a scene in which Jaime Lannister rapes his twin sister, Cersei, by the body of their dead son, the murdered kinglet Joffrey. Not that this would necessarily be a great surprise: Game of Thrones is famous, after all, for its ugly shocks (beheaded Ned, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding…)

But this shock, I think, was unintentional—or rather, not the particular shock that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had intended.

The scene was based on a passage in the George R.R. Martin novel A Storm of Swords (from which this season of the show is principally adapted). But the scene is different in a few relatively minor details and in one major one: in the book the sex, however illicit and appalling, is consensual.

Read more.

April 21, 2014
Game of Thrones Is Just Getting Bloodier—and Better

Our roundtable on “Breaker of Chains,” the third episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO]

Game of Thrones Is Just Getting Bloodier—and Better

Our roundtable on “Breaker of Chains,” the third episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO]

April 14, 2014
That Big Game of Thrones Moment: Better For Book Readers, Or Not?

Our roundtable on “The Lion and the Rose,” the second episode of HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

That Big Game of Thrones Moment: Better For Book Readers, Or Not?

Our roundtable on “The Lion and the Rose,” the second episode of HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

April 7, 2014
The Pure Pleasure of Game of Thrones' Season Four Premiere

Our roundtable on “Two Swords,” the first episode of HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

The Pure Pleasure of Game of Thrones' Season Four Premiere

Our roundtable on “Two Swords,” the first episode of HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »