The wait­ing game

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - TIM MARTAIN

JULY is shap­ing up to be a big month for first-run, big-hit­ting new tele­vi­sion se­ries. That’s the good news.

The bad news – at least for most TV view­ers – is that most of the ac­tion will be on pay-TV.

Pay chan­nel UKTV has al­ready an­nounced it will be fast-track­ing the much-an­tic­i­pated new sea­son of Torch­wood on July 9.

And now Show­case has pulled out the big one: Game of Thrones.

This HBO fan­tasy se­ries, based on the best-sell­ing books by Ge­orge R. R. Martin, has be­come an in­stant hit around the world – not just with the fans who have long been des­per­ate to see Game of Thrones brought to the screen but with those who had pre­vi­ously never heard of the books.

Star­ring Sean Bean ( pic­tured), Peter Din­klage and Mark Addy, Game of Thrones fol­lows kings and queens, knights and rene­gades, liars and no­ble­men as they all vie for power in a land where sum­mers span decades and win­ters can last a life­time.

Two pow­er­ful fam­i­lies are en­gaged in a deadly cat-and-mouse game for con­trol of the Seven King­doms of Wes­teros and their bloody strug­gle for the Iron Throne will have far-reach­ing con­se­quences.

But the joke might just be on Show­case, be­cause the pulling power of this se­ries was so strong there would be very few fans in Aus­tralia who haven’t al­ready down­loaded it on­line and watched the lot.

It pre­miered in the US on April 17. By the time the se­ries starts here on July 17, the en­tire sea­son will have been fin­ished for a month in the US and UK. For some­thing that was al­most guar­an­teed to reach cult sta­tus overnight, three months is a long time to make an au­di­ence wait – and most of them haven’t.

Fox8 has scored an­other big Aus­tralian pre­miere se­ries in the form of Steven Spiel­berg’s new sci-fi drama Fall­ing Skies.

The 10-part se­ries opens in the chaotic af­ter­math of an alien at­tack that has left most of the world com­pletely in­ca­pac­i­tated. In the six months since the in­va­sion, the few sur­vivors have banded to­gether out­side ma­jor cities to be­gin the dif­fi­cult task of fight­ing back.

Fall­ing Skies pre­mieres in Aus­tralia on July 7, sev­eral weeks af­ter its US de­but on June 19.

But with its slightly lower pro­file, there is a bet­ter chance that its core au­di­ence here won’t have al­ready tor­rented it each week.

Pay-TV, like free-to-air, is steadily get­ting bet­ter at se­cur­ing the big TV events and, while the waits are still un­ac­cept­ably long, in most cases they are grad­u­ally im­prov­ing.

But here’s what they all need to keep in mind: the fans will not wait.

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