I ASSUME we’re all familiar with those trendy tapas restaurants where the food is brought out in annoyingly tiny portions which are consistently too small to ever really satisfy? One bite and the dish is gone, and you’re once more hungrily awaiting for the next (also unfulfilling) culinary instalment.
Yes, well in a case of ‘careful what you wish for’ this is exactly what’s now happening to fans of the Prime Ministerially endorsed HBO series Game of Thrones.
After demanding the show be available locally as it’s aired in the US, Australian fans are suddenly missing out on one of the key ingredients that made the show so enjoyable to begin with: binge viewing.
Gone are those heady times when we could (morally, at least) Torrent a dozen episodes of this Westeroisi wonder and sit back as the gripping political power plays and gratuitous sex scenes kept us engaged for half a day.
No longer can we enjoy the quaint and guilty pleasure of borrowing a friend’s burnt DVD with back-to-back instalments of the Seven Kingdoms’ palace intrigue.
We brought this on ourselves.
And last night’s non-episode just added insult to injury. The mood was captured by my friend Zo Zo (reassuringly, not her real name):
The era of on-demand digital media and the notion of being drip-fed a “television show” seems grossly incompatible. Filming for Game of Thrones Season 3 was completed in November2012 – but still we wait! We have the technology, we have the demand… what’s the problem?
Of course, this is just the modern expression of an old urge. When I want to read a book I want to read the whole book. In my time.
I don’t want it serialised. I don’t want to purchase a few chapters, and then have to buy a few more later on. If I want to stay up past midnight to read a few more sneaky chapters, I damn well will.
Wouldn’t it be great if the next frontier in “television” is direct and comprehensive distribution. A season at a time, as they’re commissioned and created.
Traditionalists could still watch episodes on the TV, and good on them. Their slightly archaic viewing habits wouldn’t affect me (and chances that demographic wouldn’t have their viewing experience ruined by spoilers on social media).
Everybody would win.
Well, nearly everybody. Just not the TV industry gatekeepers, who are already moving quickly in the other direction.
It seems those already in control are so busy preserving their power they’re ignoring the chilly winds of change brewing afar.
Sound familiar? Winter is coming.