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.
Stranger Things 3 enjoys New Coke! Also: Will there ever be another Game of Thrones?
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who is less interested in the next GoT and just wants more sitcoms like Caroline In The City
New Coke is coming back thanks to Stranger Things 3.
In a product tie-in, Coca Cola has hitched its wagon to the Netflix show and its 1980s setting by announcing that it will re-released the much-maligned beverage. 500,000 cans of New Coke will be made available via the Coke website and in select vending machines.
500,000 cans will not be enough.
As much of a debacle as the original New Coke was, it will be nothing compared to the issues that will arise from the lack of availability of this.
More people will end up buying cans through eBay than official channels. At a heavily increased price.
Does Coke remember McDonalds and its Rick & Morty szechuan sauce debacle? This won’t be as embarrassingly bad, but it will still annoy customers who can’t buy a can.
Do you remember that TV show that used to be on Game of Thrones? Writer of the books George RR Martin has addressed whether the books he is yet to write will end in the same way as the TV show which ended completely fine in a way that upset nobody.
"I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget," he continued. "They had six hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I’m done… and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I’ll add them."
Maureen Ryan has a great piece talking about what networks can learn from the success of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead when they’re looking for their own Game of Thrones.
Generous budgets and ambitious visions can lead to thrilling results. Part of the reason Martin started writing the Song of Ice and Fire novels is because he was deeply frustrated by TV’s limitations when he was a small-screen writer in the ’80s. The fact that TV has gotten bigger, bolder, and more influential in the last two decades has allowed the culture at large to see how phenomenal, adventurous, and gripping it can be.
But in its desire to take big swings and go after huge properties, I don’t want TV to lose sight of the elements that made it great in the first place: things that are sometimes regarded as “small” but are actually anything but.
On a similar thread, Recode’s Peter Kafka explores whether there can ever be another TV show at the scale of GoT. He explores the release schedule and the zeitgeist-y nature of the show as being core reasons for its success.
Could Netflix ever have a GoT-level success, for example?
So Netflix is already getting large audiences to watch the same thing — if not exactly at the same time. And while Netflix executives repeatedly point to binge viewing as an intrinsic feature for the streaming service, there’s no reason it has to stick with that reasoning forever, or for everything.
Something I think is worth noting is that Game of Thrones was never the biggest show on TV. So, why are networks after the next Game of Thrones and not the next Walking Dead or The Big Bang Theory?
Answer: Prestige and subscriptions. Both The Big Bang Theory and Walking Dead have enthusiastic audiences, but they’re a little more broad and casual in their enthusiasm for the show. Game of Thrones was a huge subscription driver and it brought in upscale, college educated viewers who have the money to spend on products being advertised/monthly subscriptions to TV services. That’s the audience you ideally want.
In the latest episode of US kids cartoon Arthur, he and his fellow students saw their teacher get married to the man that is now his husband. It’s all very progressive and nice to see. Though, those in Alabama won’t be seeing it as the local public TV broadcaster made the decision not to air the episode.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mckenzie tells the site. “More importantly — although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards — parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”