A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Game of Thrones most eye-opening sex scene! Also: Spike Lee's time-travel Netflix show! And RIP Steve Golin.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett from the ABW home office in Sydney, Australia.
Something shocking happened in the most recent episode of Game of Thrones: Arya got laid. This is a character we’ve been following from the start of the show as a pre-pubescent girl. Viewers, more comfortable seeing her become a ruthless murderer than to actively pursue sex, were all surprised by the scene. And I’m not above that - it kind of felt creepy watching it.
Show co-creator David Benioff:
For us, what was interesting about this episode was that this is our last night together, and I think everyone would face the end in different ways. Some characters want to make love for the first time because they've never done it before, and other characters are getting drunk and singing songs.
The scene has sparked off a whole bunch of thought pieces online, which is fine - it’s how the Internet/culture writing works. But, I was kind of annoyed by this one specifically from gaming site Polygon.
Vox writer Lux Alptraum:
The key thing that Game of Thrones fails to understand here is that for young women, sex — particularly the kind of caring, intimate sex that Arya and Gendry are supposed to be having — requires vulnerability, a vulnerability that a young woman like Arya seems unlikely to be interested in. To open up to another person, both physically and emotionally, requires a willingness to put yourself at risk, one far more scary than the bodily harm that Arya routinely subjects herself to throughout the show.
Her argument relies on two ridiculous ideas:
That all women require the same emotional conditions to be in place before experiencing sex for the first time.
That everything we have seen as viewers on Game of Thrones represents every aspect of the character. Over the 8 seasons of ensemble drama GoT, we’ve probably seen, in total, maybe 120 minutes of Arya actually on screen. Off-screen, there is a whole lot of walking and bonding (and vulnerability exhibited) that characters do in-between the scenes that are actually interesting enough to account for the 5 minutes we may see her on screen in any given episode.
And for those who don’t pay that close attention to Game of Thrones - you are going to want to watch the next episode as soon as possible. It will be the most spoiler-filled hour of the series if you don’t watch it as soon as you can.
What to expect? This is the episode that will feature an episode-long battle. It’s the one that took months to film. And of this final season, it will have the longest running time at 82 minutes. A whole lot of your favourite secondary characters are almost guaranteed to be brutally murdered during the episode and it’ll be interesting to see which of the main characters are also disposed of within the episode. Jamie Lanister did tidy up all of his loose ends in the most recent episode…
Rest easy - NCIS: New Orleans and Los Angeles have both been renewed for their 6th and 11th seasons, respectively. Any day in which Linda Hunt is confirmed to continue to entertain millions is a day that’s great to be alive.
As most of you reading will be aware, I’ve been on holiday for the past month. This meant that when I touched down on Sunday morning, I’ve been doing a whole lot of catching up on TV. I’m still not through my priority shows yet. But, a couple of thoughts:
The Good Fight had a really slow and clunky start to its third season, but from episode 4 onwards, the show has absolutely found its groove once more. There’s some wild things going on in the episode - this most recent week’s episode with Melania Trump as a potential client was exceptionally clever.
If you haven’t seen the Hulu show Ramy, you need to get on that. The show is a half-hour dramedy with comedian Ramy Youssef telling autobiographical stories of a young Muslim man dealing with contemporary life while maintaining faith. While that sounds really dry, the show is funny and can be exceptionally dirty.
I watched the first episode with my mother in the room and hadn’t expected the first episode to end with him making out with a woman demanding he ******* her while ********* her *****. It was confronting.
I really need to catch up on Veep and finish off Star Trek Discovery. I hear Spock rocks sideburns in the season finale.
Speaking of Veep, series creator Armando Iannucci’s new space-orientated comedy Avenue 5 has been picked up to series by HBO.
See You Yesterday is a new time travel drama from Spike Lee that will debut on May 17 on Netflix. The show is about a girl tries to time travel back to save her brother from being shot by police.
Please take some time to read this obituary at Indiewire for TV & film producer Steve Golin. He’s the producer responsible for a whole lot of your favourite movies and TV shows from the past 30 years. He died over the weekend from cancer.