All anyone on the internet could talk about for a decade was Game of Thrones, and now it’s like it never happened. If I told you less than a year ago, when the finale aired, that 33,000 journalists were going to lose their jobs in a month, you’d nod and say, “Yeah, because Game of Thrones is ending.”
Instead, those journalists are inside, like anyone else, watching a shitload of TV and, apparently, not a second of Game of Thrones. HBO seems to know this. You can barely find the show on its streaming app; under “Obsession-worthy drama series,” Thrones is behind Westworld, The Plot Against America, My Brilliant Friend, Watchmen, The New Pope, The Young Pope, His Dark Materials, Succession, The Deuce, and Chernobyl. While obviously this list is pushing new HBO shows, at least three of them, like Thrones, ended in 2019. In the “TV on your to-do list,” section it’s behind The Sopranos, The Wire, Big Little Lies, Boardwalk Empire, Sex and the City, True Blood, Six Feet Under, Veep, and Entourage. Thrones, by far the most-viewed and most-discussed HBO show ever, is not featured in the carousel of shows at the top of HBO’s app at all. (I logged out and double-checked this on several devices to make sure this wasn’t an algorithmic recommendation.)
And why would HBO push anyone to watch Game of Thrones? Every plotline in every episode was blown to bits by the heinous last season. The White Walkers were exterminated in a single leap without killing a major character. Daenerys got stabbed by her nephew-boyfriend because she went from woke girlboss to Hitler overnight. Jaime and Cersei Lannister, two of the best-acted and fully realized characters on television–I tried to think of what happened to them for 10 minutes and drew a blank. I only remembered what happened to their brother Tyrion because of his participation in a tribal council that elected a creepy child king of the world.
Even as the show was badly listing heading into its final season, it remained immensely rewatchable. Yes, it had probably jumped the shark before 2019, but during the final season it jumped the shark, mounted it, and fucked it to death. The episode where Joffrey gets poisoned is one of my favorite TV episodes ever; the idea of watching it while knowing that no Lannister plot point has any purpose or meaning is unimaginable. The episode where the Mountain fucks up Oberyn Martell’s face is an undeniable classic; I’d rather watch a Phillies game from 2002.
Plenty of shows have bad seasons or even bad stretches. Any Showtime series runs about five seasons too long; but knowing what, say, Homeland or Dexter ultimately became doesn’t diminish the pleasure those shows can still provide when they were at their best. With Game of Thrones, though, it’s impossible to imagine enjoying any of the earlier episodes, because what propels Thrones as a show is its central mysteries, and knowing that all those central mysteries eventually add up to a puddle of crap makes the show impossible to rewatch.
I recently watched all eight episodes of Too Hot To Handle in a single sitting. The show–which one person accurately described as a televised version of the “u get to live in a mansion and get five million dollars but you can’t go on Facebook for a week wyd” posts–has to be one of the biggest pieces of shit ever filmed. That’s the point of releasing it in the middle of a pandemic: There are too many hours to fill in the day, and just about anything will get the job done. All people can do, really, is sit in their house and watch TV and post about it. There used to be other things you could do, and Game of Thrones still ruled the world then. Netflix just had its best quarter ever; any TV show readily available has been gifted the lowest bar in world history. Thrones isn’t even close to clearing it.
DJ Mc says:
This is also how I feel about How I Met Your Mother.
April 24, 2020 — 2:17 pm
Hifumi is best girl says:
HIMYM actually has SOME rerunability, if only because so many of the individual eps had nothing to do with the actual mystery. Robin’s entire character is phenomenal, and Marshall has some standout episodes.
April 24, 2020 — 4:41 pm
My partner is rewatching now and honestly, totally watchable still.
April 24, 2020 — 9:36 pm
HIMYM’s problem is that its protagonist is so selfish, uninteresting, and all-together terrible. On their own, episodes tend to stand out. But the story arc itself was always a throwaway.
April 25, 2020 — 6:53 pm
April 24, 2020 — 10:17 pm
Rex Manning Day says:
See also: Battlestar Galactica.
April 24, 2020 — 2:23 pm
April 24, 2020 — 7:07 pm
Pat Rick says:
and fucking Star Wars
April 24, 2020 — 2:36 pm
I forget where I saw it said, but both the final season of Game of Thrones and Rise of Skywalker were so bad it invalidated all the prior seasons / movies that came before it. Game of Thrones probably worse than Skywalker – The Last Jedi still slaps and I can pretend it ends there and it’s fine – but this blog is very correct.
The slapdash sprint to the end of GoT made me feel silly that I ever cared about that show at all.
April 24, 2020 — 2:57 pm
Fortunately, there’s another epic fantasy out there featuring war, politics, betrayal, genocide, and moral ambiguity, AND which sticks the landing!
It’s called “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and it’s a Nickelodeon cartoon. And it’s ten times the show “Game of Thrones” ever was.
April 24, 2020 — 2:42 pm
Zuko's Pet Platypus Bear says:
I just booked binged it… With it’s horrible movie adaptation included, it is both the best and worse thing ever made. It’s so good it can be both.
April 24, 2020 — 3:00 pm
April 24, 2020 — 6:53 pm
LA Dodges says:
Sorry your theory/fanfiction did not make it into the show.
You’ll get over it.
April 24, 2020 — 3:14 pm
April 24, 2020 — 3:46 pm
Garfield Thelonius Remington III says:
On the other hand, nice to see the greys are still getting some play here on UTSB.
April 24, 2020 — 3:55 pm
Blog the Bounty Hunter says:
It’s comforting, in a way.
April 24, 2020 — 4:48 pm
The show was actual shit. It was objectively terrible.
April 26, 2020 — 11:50 am
Too right. Not just the OOC behavior, but the impossible logistics and violations of military common sense and previously established continuity.
April 29, 2020 — 12:50 am
Honestly, I thought the storyline for the final two seasons was fine. It was nice that the final conflict was between humans instead of an apocalyptic battle between the living and the dead.
The problem was that the show attempted to stuff 20 episodes worth of story into only 13 episodes, making a lot of the actions in the final two seasons feel abrupt and unwarranted. Ugh, can’t believe that I’m still frustrated by this over a year later.
April 24, 2020 — 3:21 pm
Also, I’m tired of people saying that D&D became shit after they went past GRRM’s book. “Winds of Winter” and “Hardhome” are the two best episodes of the whole series, and they barely had anything from the books (season 6 in general was really great).
No, the real why D&D went to shit was their idiotic insistence on rushing the show’s ending, killing off any character development or buildup that could have made certain plot points more understandable or satisfying.
April 24, 2020 — 3:30 pm
Caviar SmokeBoy says:
This is how I feel about Lost and anything JJ Abrams for that matter. Waste of time.
April 24, 2020 — 3:22 pm
Game of Thrones squandered what was one of my favorite episodes of TV ever, Hardhome. Sure, it’s still probably great and I’ll watch it again some day (I watched it probably two or three additional times after it aired and before the last season), but the show’s treatment of what should have (HAD to have) been the central threat to humanity( army of dead) is a crusher. At some point, I’ll probably try doing with GOT what I’ve done with Lost: try to put myself back in the mindset I had when I first watched it, in order to enjoy some of the more impactful episodes. But I don’t think I’ll be interested in trying that with GOT for the next few years. To hear GRRM more or less confirm that the show’s ending follows that of the books is also terribly worrisome for the books themselves (beyond the fact that he still has no pages, of course).
April 24, 2020 — 3:26 pm
I actually liked that the series ended with a conflict not with the supernatural but between humans. It’s kind of tragic that even a near apocalypse would not prevent humans from trying to slaughter each other. It’s something that really jives with GRRM’s idea of a bittersweet ending
…a sentiment the show was utter dogshit at conveying because there were only three fucking episodes left and hey, we have a city to burn.
April 24, 2020 — 3:48 pm
Definitely. In theory I’m also fine with the dead going away and human conflict serving as the culmination of the series. But they threw away what they’d been building up since the very first scene of the very first episode in the woods beyond the wall. The Night King was taken down painlessly. Just, done….like that. Yeah, I know they ran out of time/money/patience and the young actors and showrunners were bored and were intent on moving on to the next thing in their careers.
April 25, 2020 — 4:20 am
Same thing happened to Lost, Star Wars, and Thrones. Terrible endings poisoned years of incredible rewatchability.
April 24, 2020 — 3:30 pm
Perhaps it’s because Game of Thrones sucked shit from the beginning and everyone finally caught on
April 24, 2020 — 3:45 pm
Ain’t you the lord of edgy for hating the popular thing, sport.
April 24, 2020 — 5:38 pm
Lemonaid into Lemons says:
Just because it’s popular doesn’t means it’s good, buckaroo.
April 26, 2020 — 5:18 pm
As it turns out, your trite, shallow quip is exactly the same flavor as the GoT last season. But you don’t understand that because the taste of trite shit in your mouth is ever-present and you cannot understand the distinction between shit and not-shit.
Do yourself a favor and get checked out for Covid-19. They say that loss of taste is a symptom, and if you can’t tell the difference between the first 4 seasons and the last season, then you not only might be afflicted, but you are also spewing shit particles from your mouth as you bloviate on shit that you clearly don’t understand.
April 25, 2020 — 11:23 pm
The final season of GOT is the 28-3 of Peak TV.
April 24, 2020 — 4:57 pm
Derry Murbles says:
A very belated +1
May 20, 2020 — 12:52 pm
Every time I read about how the last season was fucked up, it reminds me how much the show just sucked in general. “The White Walkers were exterminated in a single leap without killing a major character.” Please never show me anything about any of that.
April 24, 2020 — 5:02 pm
Nah. Season 8. First 7 seasons were great.
April 26, 2020 — 11:52 am
Lee Tables says:
Is “The New Pope, The Young Pope, His Dark Materials” one, two, or three separate shows? I’m hoping for 1 to 2.
April 24, 2020 — 6:12 pm
firecest is still bad says:
April 24, 2020 — 6:54 pm
Shawn M says:
GoT got hit with what I’ve been calling the “Rattle & Hum” curse, which is when a follow-on piece of media sucks so bad that it goes back in time to ruin what had previously been accepted as a great piece of media (Joshua Tree).
April 24, 2020 — 7:18 pm
Nobody, probably yourself included, will read this, but saying anything ruins Joshua Tree is nonsense. Joshua Tree has nothing to do with R&H, Achtung Baby, etc. It is pure awesomeness because of itself.
GOT nullified itself because you can’t watch old episodes the same way after season 8 aired. I can enjoy JT and never think of R&H.
May 14, 2020 — 8:52 am
I wish my roommate shared this view, but unfortunately she just started watching from the beginning yesterday. I’ve never wanted to leave the house more.
April 24, 2020 — 10:08 pm
I think the first three or four episodes of season 8 should actually have been the last three or four episodes of season 7. Season 7 was ALL about the Night King and preparing for the AOTD, so why not just give us it all at once? We could have gotten a solid enough leadup to a MAJOR season climax.
Ten more episodes for a last season after that would have provided enough room to tie-up most of the major plotline sufficiently. Sure, some of the more esoteric stuff would have probably been left out to dry, but what we received could have been more satisfyingly and thoughtfully done. But D&D stuck to OnLy 73 EpiSodEs.
April 25, 2020 — 8:13 pm