The waiting game
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.