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‘Game of Thrones’ ushers in the death of modern television

Game of Thrones
Winter is here, and “Game of Thrones” characters won’t be its only casualties. (Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly)

When I awoke Tuesday morning, I, like millions of my counterparts around the world, was unaware that today would mark the beginning of the end.

There’d been signs indicating it was coming. Brief glimpses here and there. But no one knew when the countdown would officially commence.

Here we are, 40 days away from the premiere of the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones,” and just 75 days until the end of modern television as we know it.

Tuesday morning, HBO surprise-released the first trailer for the final season, just a day after Entertainment Weekly published its massive 78-page Thrones special. Between those pages and the glorious 113 seconds of never-before-seen footage, the anticipation for the series’ grand finale has never been greater.

The premiere on April 14 will come and go, along with the brief six-episode season, and it’s certain that death will come for many, if not most, of the show’s beloved, central characters. But the most significant casualty to come from the epic fantasy’s finale will not be Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow, nor will it be the broken hearts of superfans everywhere – it will be the death of television’s last piece of monoculture.

As the entertainment world continues to be overrun by streaming sites, and more and more people are deciding to cut the cord and move away from traditional cable services, the way people consume television is undergoing a revolution.

Long gone are the days of families gathering around the TV each night to watch their favorite shows. You no longer have to wait a whole week to watch a new episode – now you can binge through the whole season in an afternoon. And if it is a show airing live? Most people opt to record it and watch it later, or just wait until it’s all on Netflix.

With the exception of massive sporting events like the Super Bowl or the World Cup, from now on, it’ll take a miracle to get people around the world to all simultaneously tune in to the same thing.

I absolutely love television, and I’m still adamant about sitting down and watching each of my favorite shows as they air live. Whether it’s being able to follow along with social media live as things go down on the screen, or just being able to discuss the latest Tribal Council from “Survivor” the morning after it airs, there’s just something about consuming a show in the moment.

When April rolls around, there are guaranteed to be countless water cooler conversations every Monday morning discussing dragons and White Walkers after each new episode. But soon, that water cooler will be pretty quiet.

So when your phone is blowing up while you watch Jon Snow face off against the Night King, cherish those texts. Appreciate those Monday morning articles and podcasts breaking down the latest action in Westeros. Because in 75 days, it’ll all be over, and it’ll be quite some time before a generational show like “Game of Thrones” comes around again.

Oh, and the guy who originally played the Night King went to Dook, but then he got recast. So, Dook sucks for being evil, and then sucks more for not being good enough at not speaking and looking mean. Go Heels!

Zach Goins View All

Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.

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