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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.
The sins of Game of Thrones. Plus: Busy cancelled and SeaChange revived.
Always Be Watching is by Dan Barrett who doesn't drink coffee. He drinks Pepsi.
We can all agree that the two greatest sins in television are:
Dragging out a story-line unnecessarily
Showing characters drinking coffee from empty cups
Well, Game of Thrones this week managed to skirt alongside both TV crimes this week. First, the show embraced the philosophy of ‘why tell a story in 50 minutes when we have 90’ - I think we were all enthused about the idea of there being such an epic scale to GoT’s final season that they needed to push episodes to be movie length, but boy did the show not make a good case for it this week with a plodding episode.
And then there was the coffee cup.
What no one knew about Game of Thrones was that in Westeros there are Starbucks EVERYWHERE. And if you can’t go along with that, but you’re willing to accept the dragons existing, think again.
We know the Queen of Dragons enjoys a cup of joe because we saw the coffee cup on her table in a scene last night.
Obviously, you can check out all of the hot meme action regarding the cup online - or compiled in this handy Gizmodo article.
On this week’s Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast, the special guest was Jimmy Kimmel. The podcast is a great listen for the most part, but my ears pricked up when I heard Kimmel mention that his TV network, ABC, at one point told him that they were looking to replace him with Conan. According to the ginger talk-show host, ABC never spoke to him about it.
Related: I was taken with this tweet by director Corrie Chen:
Brian Lowry has a review of the new HBO miniseries Chernobyl:
Beyond the political and scientific response, writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck humanize "Chernobyl" with tales of people impacted by the explosion and radiation poisoning, including residents, first responders and those dispatched on what amount to suicide missions -- either immediately or from the cancer sure to follow -- to fix the plant's compromised core.
The LA Times has a great article spotlighting the executive talent from NBC’s Must See TV lineup from the 90s and how they are the same executives leading TV’s biggest shows.
The traditional TV landscape where NBC once ruled has been disrupted by the rise of prestige shows on premium cable and online streaming services. All the broadcast networks are scrambling to hold onto their diminishing audiences and cultural relevance. But the demand for the people who developed the arsenal of NBC’s high-quality hits of the 1990s — many of which have sustained their popularity thanks to online streaming — has remained. Must See TV veterans have helped shape some of the most groundbreaking shows of the Peak TV era, including "Homeland," “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Atlanta,” "The Americans," “Orphan Black," “Fargo” and “The Shield.” And five executives from the Must See TV era, are currently running network TV entertainment operations.
That’s partly due to timing. The executives who were in their 20s and 30s during their NBC years are now seasoned pros who have the experience of developing broad-appeal hit shows and maintaining their quality over 22 episodes in a season, an increasingly valuable skill in a market crowded by an explosion of TV programming options.