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TV Notes
Why HBO Renewed Game of Thrones Despite Its Mildly Disappointing Opening-Night Ratings

By Josef Adalian, New York Magazine's 'Vulture' Blog - April 19th, 2011


Final numbers are in, and as Vulture reported exclusively Monday, GoT did not roar out of the gate a Boardwalk Empire-level blockbuster. Per Nielsen, a little more than 2.2 million HBO subscribers caught the initial 9 p.m. telecast of the network's lavish adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novels. That's less the half the audience for last September's similarly hyped Boardwalk Empire (4.8 million), and below other big recent HBO events such as night one of mini-series The Pacific (3.1 million) and John Adams (2.5 million). Game even finished behind the most recent season finale of modestly rated HBO comedy Hung (2.3 million). So why was HBO so quick to renew GoT?


Well, even if the numbers were mildly disappointing at least relative to the massive marketing campaign for the show, whose budget one veteran cable hypemeister told Vulture was "at least $15 million" the 2.2 million bow is still a very solid number for an HBO series. The similarly geek-friendly True Blood, for instance, bowed to a mere 1.4 million viewers back in fall 2008; within two years, it had become the network's biggest hit, attracting more than 5 million viewers on a weekly basis. HBO has also trained viewers to know that they don't need to watch a show at one time: It aired the GoT opener three times in a row Sunday (boosting its overall viewership to 4.2 million, vs. the 7.1 million who caught Boardwalk during its similar triplecast back in September). HBO also aired the GoT pilot nearly a dozen times on its various channels within a day of its premiere, while HBO subscribers have been repeatedly educated to keep in mind HBO series are available any time via HBO On Demand. Meanwhile, it's always worth remembering that HBO does not live on ratings alone: Media buzz and Emmy recognition are at least as important to the premium network, which relies on folks believing that if they cancel their subscription to the channel, they'll also cancel their self-image as A Smart, Hip Consumer of Television So Smart, It's Not Really TV.


The test of GoT will come in the weeks ahead, as word of mouth about the show spread. HBO execs are no doubt betting the show's ratings will build, the way True Blood did. That's a possibility, of course, but True Blood didn't arrive with anywhere near the same level of hype as GoT; its marketing campaign was much smaller, and critics weren't nearly as orgasmic in their praise of HBO's bloodsuckers. What's more, while Blood built buzz as a guilty pleasure with frothy, sexy fun, most media about GoT has focused on how complicated and layered the series' plot is. Is it really a good thing when magazines and websites are printing elaborate guides to a show before it's even premiered? We'll soon find out.

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment...of_throne.html
 

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This will be the best-selling Blu-ray box set of a TV season ever. It is unbelievably deep, textured, detailed, and nuanced. I've already watched the first episode three times, each one as rewarding as the last (and I already knew the story from the books going in).


Game of Thrones, is, among other things, about turning the fantasy genre on its ear. It's brutal, it's coarse, it devalues human life, it celebrates nothing except survival and victory. Nothing is sacred, including the conventions of the genre.


I thought this first episode set the table very effectively.


Special kudos for the sound design. It's exceedingly rare to get such immersive surround sound from a TV show, even on HBO, yet the dialog was always right there.
 

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Just a reminder that this thread is for discussing the show with no spoilers whatsoever - even tagged spoilers.


If you want to discuss spoilers found out about the show, or derived from the books please use the other thread (I'll re-title it).


Any spoilers posted in this thread with, or without, tags will be deleted.
 

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Really enjoyed the first episode and was left in shock. Never read the books but might start now. Finally a show I can't wait to see the next one. Acting, cinematography, sound, set, clothing, story... pretty much everything top notch. A+ HBO
 

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I also enjoyed this first episode, but I wasn't able to catch it when it debuted.
 

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I liked it, but it's going to take a minute for me to get the characters straight. I'm not a huge fantasy fan--more scifi--however this just might be different enough to keep my attention.


I know one thing, that opening was plenty spooky...can't wait til they get back to what ever was going on in those woods!


I just knew he was about to push the kid out of the window...
 

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I totally ignorant of the basis for the series and I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but I did enjoy the series premier. It was very well done. It will be interesting to see which way they let the ending of the episode unfold. Given the comedic comment made before the push, I'm leaning towards the kid not being dead from the fall. If that's not the case that would be a "plus" for me as it would show they're not going to pull any punches.


larry
 

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I found the opening to be very powerful as a setting to whats to come.


Hope they don't keep the Ancient enemy and us waiting...
 

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I enjoyed it, little slow with lots of talking which is to be expected with so much to setup. Very light on action. Hopefully things pick up and get intriguing.
 

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I really, really want to see this show, just can't pull myself to pay for HBO for this one show. Guess I'll have to wait for the BD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper /forum/post/20329932


I totally ignorant of the basis for the series and I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but I did enjoy the series premier. It was very well done. It will be interesting to see which way they let the ending of the episode unfold. Given the comedic comment made before the push, I'm leaning towards the kid not being dead from the fall. If that's not the case that would be a "plus" for me as it would show they're not going to pull any punches.


larry

I'm fairly sure that in the end-promo for the next show, one of the characters made a specific comment on that which directly answered that question. Even though it's not truly a spoiler, I won't say which way the kid's fate fell, so to speak, in case you don't want to know in advance.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by flint350 /forum/post/20332444


I'm fairly sure that in the end-promo for the next show, one of the characters made a specific comment on that which directly answered that question. Even though it's not truly a spoiler, I won't say which way the kid's fate fell, so to speak, in case you don't want to know in advance.

It's not a spoiler since it was in the previews - and I also won't be the one to say it since apparently it was missed. But the outcome of the fall was made clear.
 

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I usually don't watch post show previews just so I can have a little more of a surprise the next week. No big deal to me if someone mentions what's in the preview and depending on the show, previews are sometimes deceiving. Although in this case, if the preview did make the outcome of the fall clear, then you have to think "who goofed?". Clearly, the show ending with the fall was supposed to be a cliffhanger of sorts but if the preview reveals the outcome, what was the point?



larry
 

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I have read the books, but I've always felt that previews and commercials are spoilers. Especially with already existing stories like this -what's to stop someone from posting major spoilers and claiming they saw it in a commercial. If it didn't take place yet, it's a spoiler.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjonsnow /forum/post/20335004


I have read the books, but I've always felt that previews and commercials are spoilers. Especially with already existing stories like this -what's to stop someone from posting major spoilers and claiming they saw it in a commercial. If it didn't take place yet, it's a spoiler.

Only the preview immediately following the original airing is considered fair game. We tried years ago to include the preview as a spoiler, but it was impossible to maintain.


It usually isn't a problem - unless the show is on NBC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper /forum/post/20334962


I usually don't watch post show previews just so I can have a little more of a surprise the next week.

Word. I used to watch end-of-episode previews all the time but have gradually been phasing them out. They're typically done not by the show's creative team but by the network's marketing department. Those two groups may have competing goals.


Besides, if it's a show I like, I'm going to be watching that next episode anyway. The magic machine (DVR) ensures I won't miss any episodes and even if I do, there are multiple ways to view them on demand or online. So why would I watch a preview and potentially have a plot point spoiled just because some marketing drone is trying to get the Luddite crowd excited enough to tune back in next week? Doesn't affect me, but having a plot surprise ruined would.


Bottom line: previews are so..... yesterday.
 

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^^^ Plus on some shows, the previews are sometimes misleading. True Blood is like this from what I remember.


larry
 
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