One of the great misnomers in culture is this idea that for anything to be 'relevant' it needs to be the focus of conversation. Now, it's great when a show like Game of Thrones (and the same holds for House of The Dragon) comes along and the conversation propels the show to stronger and stronger viewership. That's a win for fans and HBO.

But real talk: for most of Game of Thrones run, it wasn't the most widely viewed show across the world at the time - that was The Big Bang Theory. A show which garnered very little week to week conversation.

Alex Abad-Santos today writes in Vox about Avatar: The Way of Water. This past week the film passed Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be the 4th highest grossing film of all time. A film that no one is supposedly talking about. Abad-Santos looks at the broader idea of what exactly cultural impact is:

Measuring Avatar against these benchmarks of what we’ve been trained to see as impact fuels the narrative that Avatar has no cultural impact. The fact that we’re puzzled points to how difficult it is for our brains to cleave away financial triumph from cultural significance. Things that are financially successful must be culturally powerful, right?

But what if cultural saturation never was Cameron’s goal? And what if — forgive my galaxy brain — the idea of “cultural impact” is merely a capitalist illusion that studios peddle to ensure their survival?

What the idea of mass cultural conversation misses is that most viewers aren't interested in chatting about their entertainment. Normal people, which is the majority of people and not the very online people I often surround myself with, aren't talking much about the TV or movies they watched the night before. And if you think about your own media diet, even if you are someone who talks about what they watched: Do you talk about everything you watched and enjoyed?

A few weeks ago I saw the movie Operation Fortune - the latest Guy Ritchie film starring Jason Statham. Yes, I talked about it on the Screen Watching podcast, but in real life I don't think any of my friends or colleagues know I saw the film. To be truthful, I saw the film alone and I don't think even my wife knows I saw it.  The film will turn a healthy profit I'm sure, but the conversation around the film is non-existent.

Look at the most-viewed shows on Netflix. Sure, there's shows like Wednesday and Bridgerton that make the list, but there's also huge shows like Virgin River and Ginny & Georgia that nobody ever talks about.

It's better to be in the cultural conversation than not, but also, there are a whole lot of shows relevant and vital to our entertainment diets that just don't come up in conversation for whatever reason. Worth keeping in mind before you write off something because "nobody I know has seen it".

Avatar: The Way of Water made $2 billion worldwide. Wait, really?
How the Avatar franchise can be be wildly popular and still feel irrelevant

Oh, and lets help get Screen Watching newsletter into the cultural conversation - send the email to a friend and tell them to sign up. This newsletter is like the Avatar: The Way of Water of newsletters - millions of people globally are signed up, but everyone's just keeping quiet about it...

Obscure streaming services

The Streamable has a great list of 11 super obscure streaming services. It's a really fun list filled with services I guarantee you did not know were a thing. Oddly, it reminds me of a bit they used to do on Conan O'Brien where they would flip between little-known (made up) cable channels.

Here's a streaming service called First Responders Network, which is nothing but shows filmed from emergency service workers body cameras. The service is free and produced by Axon - the company that makes those cameras.

11 Obscure Streaming Services - How Far Down the Rabbit Hole Can We Go?
We all know Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV. A lot of people know Kanopy, Philo, and Tubi. If you’re a die-hard streaming fanatic, you may even know about BroadwayHD, MUBI, and Sensical. Here at The Streamable, we …
  • Fox Nation will be home to the next Roseanne Barr comedy special. Rightio. Read: Next TV
  • RIP Lisa Loring. The original Wednesday Addams died at age 64. Read: THR
  • A live action series based on anime One Piece will debut on Netflix in 2023. Read: Variety
  • CNN will broadcast Overtime on Friday nights at 11:30pm. Overtime is a post-show show produced as part of Real Time with Bill Maher where his panel guests have further discussions and answer questions from listeners. Real Time airs on HBO Friday nights at 10pm, meaning Overtime on CNN will not be live. Read: TV Insider
  • Amazon Studios is going ahead with a body swap comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts. Read: THR
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan has joined the voice cast of Invincible. Read: Dark Horizons
  • Power Book II: Ghost has been renewed for a fourth season by Starz. Read: Variety
  • In 1974 Robert Opel became famous for streaking during the Academy Awards. Whatever happened to that guy? But also - whatever happened to streakers? They used to be everywhere, from football games to award shows. Is this another thing millennials have ruined? Read: New Yorker
  • Aardman (the animation company behind Wallace & Grommit) has hired former former NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. exec Laura Taylor-Williams to head up sales to digital platforms like FAST channels - this suggests we are likely to see a whole lot of Aardman cartoons on our TV very soon. Read: TBI Vision
  • Paul Schaffer and The World's Most Dangerous Band will sub in for The Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon so Questlove & co can attend the Grammys. Read: Rolling Stone

Murder Mystery 2 debuts on Netflix March 31.

That's all the news fit to regurgitate. The newsletter will do what it does again tomorrow.