After " Game of Thrones ", many have said that the hit series is dead. not be, but the future of epics might become still the recent past of movies.
Au Spring 2019, as "Game of Thrones " aired its final season, the discussions among TV industry pundits were that the Age of Dragons was not the only era to come. its end. "Thrones," the thought said, might well be the last great TV series of all time : that is, the last blockbuster-level juggernaut that would dazzle and focus the obsession of an audience mass.
Not sure if anyone has told you this, but a lot has changed since spring 2019.
The pandemic has obviously strengthened the status of television as a virtual arena. "Tiger King " was a televised event, as was "Hamilton " and "Godzilla Vs. Kong. " If the strength of theaters is to bring audiences together, the strength of television is to bring together, to separate audiences. And as with the shift to work from home, we don't know how many that floor-standing TV will give in, now that we know how much it is possible to do without leaving your couch. "Dune ", when it releases this fall, will also be partly a TV event, via HBO Max, though theaters have reopenedert.
But if we just focus on the TV part of television - that is, series designed for home distribution and on devices rather than theaters - the post-'Thrones' question remains: does one program, in the age of frenzy, and thousands of choices, pull together a mass audience?
This fall and beyond, several high-profile genre shows - from sci-fi to fantasy to dystopian fiction - are betting on yes. On September 24, Apple TV + presents "Foundation ", based on the novels by Isaac Asimov about attempting to use "psychohistory " to shape the future of a galactic empire. Earlier this month, FX unveiled the ambitious and long-gestating " Y: The Last Man , "about an apocalypse that kills all humans with a Y chromosome except one.
Later at Fall: "The Wheel of Time " from Amazon, another long-running epic, based on Robert Jordan's sprawling fantasy series. Next year: Also from Amazon, a series based on one of the few megamythologies not to have a mass-produced adaptation, "The Lord of the Rings"; plus HBO's prequel "Thrones ", " House of the Dragon ", about Westeros' dirtiest platinum blondes, the Targaryen family. Image From left to right, Emmy D 'Arcy and Matt Smith in the prequel from HBO's "Thrones ", "House of the Dragon ". Credit ... HBO Max
If the era of TV blockbusters is over, the upcoming season has not been notified.
And event TV isn't dead, even though the "events" no longer force us all to gather around our TVs on Sundays at 9pm. Since the end of 'Thrones' we've seen the rise of the next generation of streaming platforms, which have delivered a direct pipeline from the biggest mega-entertainment companies to screens in your living room and in your pocket.
Disney in particular brought about this change. Its engulfment of the Star Wars and Marvel franchises put two of the greatest film universes into one, and Disney + quickly began to transtrain in television. It wasn't that long ago that the appearance of a Star Wars or superhero disturbance was a rare treat; now it's Wednesday . (Still coming this year: a series built around Boba Fett from Star Wars and one about Hawkeye from the Avengers.)
The platform showed that, even in the hard-to-quantify world of streaming, the right TV series can get mass audience chatter. But Disney + shows got big by aiming small. That is, they performed best when they incorporated their big-screen worlds into packages that worked for serial TV - intimate, conversational, or (relatively) silent - rather than two hours of film. . - pyrotechnic house. Image The Amazon wheel of Time "is based on Robert Jordan's sprawling fantasy series. Credit ... Amazon Studios
So " WandaVision " moved a peripheral story "Avengers " to a series of classic TVs , recreating sitcoms from half a century ago to tell a grieving story. (It was less effective, in fact, when it was an action climax, i.e. when it was trying to be a Marvel movie.) The Mandalorian ”builds on the old-fashioned western element already present in Star Wars to make a gunslinger and sidekick bromance. "Loki " distributed the overpowering ham of Tom Hiddleston's cinematic performance in a fun sci-fi story that favored discussions over effects.
Of course, Disney had the advantage of making a great television out of the already significant intellectual property that it owned. It is unnecessary now to distinguish whether Marvel and Star Wars are cinematic universes that extend to television or vice versa; shows and movies are just tributaries of a giant web of content, each promoting the other.
The downside new TV blockbusters, then, maybe they are doomed to look more like movie blockbusters: on the scale of a dragon, on the ambition createdative of a mouse, at least when it comes to anything that doesn't involve an established brand. The efforts of other outlets to create original genre franchises, like HBO's labyrinthine steampunk series " Les Nevers ,” was less successful.
On the one hand, the fact that the next expansion "The Lord of the Rings " is coming to your living room rather than your local multiplex is a sign of a future of
If we're stuck with old rac storiesat great cost, the hope is that they will at least have something to say at a new time. From what we know of the genre epics in the new season (most of which, at press time, critics haven't seen yet), it's nothing cheerful. Image Alfred Enoch in " Foundation "on Apple TV +, which is based on the novels of Isaac Asimov. Credit ... Helen Sloan / Apple TV +
If there is a common thread running through many of them, it is the world Of course, this is often evident in high fantasy and science fiction, but catastrophes at the heart of these series - the revenge of nature, self-destruction by pride - could speak loudlynow (if you can hear them over the extreme weather warnings).
Even shows that aren't prequels are often preludes to a downfall. The films "The Lord of the Rings ", for example, arrived by an accident of time as a kind of rallying call after the attacks of September 11th. The new series takes place thousands of years before the events of the films, in the Second Age of Middle-earth - which, if you know your Tolkien, ended with the legendary kingdom of Numenor being engulfed by the sea in a cataclysm he caused himself.
Likewise, "Foundation", telling the story of a man-made disaster that cannot be stopped, but only mitigated, could have a lot to say to a society that has been lived through and that expects [gestures at all]. We have a royal house condemned to "Dragon"; dans "Y ", a pandemic story that combines an apocalyptic political intrigue with a more gender-specific version of "The Walking Dead ".
And " The Wheel of Time ", already renewed for a second season before the premiere appeared, is built on a mythology that involves a repeated cycle of renewal and destruction. This theme may reflect not only an anxious world, but the rise and the fall of the media trends that produced this series and its peers.
The epic, most elusive and awe-inspiring TV event of Fabled Beasts, may well have been pronounced dead. But that doesn't mean he can't ascend, even if it's in an all too familiar form.