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I Didn’t Make It Past the First Season of Game of Thrones

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It was the biggest small screen phenomenon of the 2010s. Each season, nay, episode, was an event. Discussion of the show would flood social media every night the show aired and the morning after. Premiere parties were thrown. Cosplays were made. Memes were created. Game of Thrones was a cultural icon.

 I didn’t make it past the first season.

GameOfThrones/TheDanceOfDragons

Game of Thrones/HBO                                              Gotta admit this looks pretty cool, though

Game of Thrones was a young show when I stumbled upon it. Season one had recently ended, and I heard rave things about the editing, the production value, the music, the acting, and more. I was told by friends that the show was shocking and would blow my mind; that I’d never be able to see what’s coming next. I jumped in.

As I watched the opening scene, I noted how elaborate the setting was and how detailed the costumes were. Dead bodies started to appear, and soon I was watching a man get decapitated. As his head was tossed into frame, I remember thinking: this feels like it’s trying to shock me. Maybe I was biased by having been told I won’t know what to expect, but the trend of feeling like the show was constantly trying to blow my mind persisted, both in the show’s imagery and jarring character actions.

Westeros isn’t our world, and the premiere needs to establish the environment the story is taking place in. The more shocking the violence, the better we’ll understand what kind of awful place Westeros is. It establishes a world where no good man stands a chance and you never know what’s going to happen next, and it really establishes this. By the time the premiere “Winter is Coming” ends, viewers have witnessed multiple beheadings, rape, incest, and (attempted) child murder. Yes, Jaime Lannister pushes 10-year-old Bran out the window in the final shot of the episode.

This cliffhanger didn’t grip me. It left me disliking Jamie a hell of a lot, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t dashing to hit play on the next episode. I didn’t care all that much about Bran, so the fact that he may now be dead didn’t affect me. It was a bit of a bummer that he’s a child, for sure, but asides from just not being invested in the characters yet, it felt again as if the show was trying to shock me with its brutality. As I understand it, this moment had massive implications on the story to come, so to say it was there for shock value only would be completely false. In the framework of the episode, though, there had already been so much emphasis on stunning me that it was impossible to distinguish between a plot development and a moment meant for shock value, even if in theory they were intertwined. 

Game of Thrones/BeyondtheWall

Game of Thrones/HBO                                              Where was this guy in season one?

This only got worse as the season went on, as the White Walkers and the beheading in the premiere weren’t followed up on. Bran’s storyline also seemed stagnant as he developed amnesia after the fall. The lack of follow up made me question the point of these moments. The blood, violence, and nudity continued as well, and the intense imagery began to make me numb to shocking plot points and character twists. They melted into each other, each trying to outdo the other in blowing my mind. Between watching an innocent canine get slaughtered, watching Danearys eat a heart, and witnessing Little Finger’s betrayal, Ned Stark’s death became just another moment. I wasn’t surprised by this development because the show had trained me to expect these twists.

Part of what makes a twist effective is the pulling of the rug from under your feet. You realize that things aren’t what you thought they were, and now the status quo has changed. Due to Game of Thrones’ method of storytelling, there didn’t seem to be a status quo. Season one established a world with no rug, so I was unable to get comfortable with any situation or any scenario.

This style made the show prime “edge of your seat” viewing, and for some viewers, that lack of security made the ride thrilling, but for me, it felt like there was nothing to hold on to. With Game of Thrones’ “no one is safe” philosophy, I found it hard to become invested in anyone’s story.  You win or die when you play the Game of Thrones, so at any moment their story could come to an end to serve the larger purpose of the show. This isn’t to say that the show never put character at the forefront. It may have; again, I didn’t watch so I don’t know. The emphasis on head trauma and blowing minds in season one, however, implied to me that the show’s priorities were different than my own.

That’s not to say that I hated it. There are several aspects of the first season I enjoyed. I loved that Ned’s role in the story advanced the theme that those who are noble and play by the rules are doomed to fail. Arya seemed pretty cool, and I liked her dog that was still alive. She was so loyal! I considered watching the second season for Tyrion alone (I had my poor sister update me on Tyrion’s journey every week).

Game of Thrones - Home

Game of Thrones/HBO                                               A beast looking at a dragon

I almost jumped back onto the show several times over the last eight years; four times to be precise. Once when I saw the trailer for season two and heard Varys say to Tyrion, “A small man can cast a large shadow.” Once when I heard that Joffrey got poisoned in season four, cause he was annoying AF.  Once when a girl I was into was more into Game of Thrones than she was me. And lastly when season eight was starting, because I bought into a Game of Thrones pool at my sister’s office and wanted to see how I did (I did pretty well). Unfortunately, the characters I was invested in weren’t enough to balance out my fear that the characters would end up serving the show, nor enough for me to put up with the gratuitous violence and the diminishing returns of the shocking moments. 

I kept tabs, though. I was curious about how the show would manage to keep surprising its audience in any meaningful way since I had already been conditioned to expect the unexpected in season one. From what I could gather, it’s almost as if the show became a game itself. Viewers guessed about who would die and when, and speculated over who would obtain the throne, hence my sister’s office pool. Between The Red Wedding, Battle of the Bastards, and “hold the door;” Game of Thrones consistently swerved, shocked, and impressed the audience, or at least that’s what my news feed implied. However, that sort of thrill ride can compromise a story. 

The promise of the unexpected cannot hold universally true if you want to tell a coherent story. Even with dozens of smaller characters, a story will always center around the few meaningful pieces: Danaerys, Jon Snow, Arya, Cersei, my boy Tyrion, etc. The Game of Thrones writers knew this, which is why every name above made it through 8 seasons, and innately most viewers know this, which is why everyone knew Jon Snow wouldn’t stay dead. These are the characters audiences are intended to hold on to, but if your storytelling philosophy relies so heavily on shock and a constantly shifting status quo, what happens to these characters when your plot lines start to wrap up? What happens when the answers are provided, the pieces are in place, and all that’s left to watch is the main players finish their arcs? Characters may end up getting sacrificed to maintain the ride. This is where the crux of my fears and the decision to stop watching lied. After wrapping up the first season, I felt that eventually the characters I was interested in would become subject to the machine, sacrificed to keep the engine that powered Game of Thrones running. 

Game of Thrones/TheWolfandTheLion

Game of Thrones/HBO                                              This is Ned, in case some of you forgot

I didn’t want to get invested in a character’s story only to have them literally axed in the middle of their arc. I didn’t want to watch Tyrion lose his swagger because the plot needed him in a different place than he would want to be. And I didn’t want to watch more beheadings, rape, and thirteen-year-olds drink out of their mom’s. 

I don’t know if characters were sacrificed for plot or philosophy at any point after season one. Considering all the praise Game of Thrones got, I imagine they weren’t, at least not until the last two seasons. The conversation around season seven got heated (I remember a lot of talk about characters warping across the continent), and the internet erupted in season eight. What I saw was mostly negative, such as characters acting out of character, plot lines being rushed, and arguments over the difference between foreshadowing and character development. I don’t know if these complaints were the realization of my initial fears or completely unrelated. I will never know for sure.

Game of Thrones/HBO

Game of Thrones/HBO          How it should have ended

I never made it past the first season.


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Editorials

Emmys 2020 Predictions: What Shows Will Win?

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Emmys 2020 Predictions: Which Show Will Win?

The 2020 Emmys are upon us, but as with everything this year, they’re looking a bit different as they go virtual. 

That doesn’t mean it’s going to be less prestigious or eventful — it’s the Emmys after all; it’s the biggest night in television. 

Each actor is going to come to your living room from their living room meaning that there’s plenty for producers to work with and the night will surely keep you on your toes. 

We decided it would be fun to throw in our predictions into the ring as ever category is highly competitive. 

Check out our Emmy predictions below and let us know who you think will win this Sunday evening:

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Ozark  (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Succession (HBO) – Predicted Winner

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Dead to Me (Netflix)
The Good Place (NBC)
Insecure (HBO)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
The Kominsky Method  (Netflix)
Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) – Predicted Winner
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

 

Outstanding Limited Series

Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Mrs. America (Hulu)
Unbelievable (Netflix)
Unorthodox (Netflix)
Watchmen (HBO) – Predicted Winner

 

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Late Night With Stephen Colbert (CBS) – Predicted Winner

 

Outstanding Competition Program

The Masked Singer (Fox)
Nailed It! (Netflix)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1) – Predicted Winner
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Don Cheadle, Black Monday (Showtime)
Ted Danson, The Good Place (NBC) 
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) – Predicted Winner
Ramy Youssef, Ramy (Hulu)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me (Netflix)
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) – Predicted Winner
Issa Rae, Insecure (HBO)
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish (ABC)

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Jason Bateman, Ozark (Netflix) – Predicted Winner
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC) 
Steve Carell, The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
Brian Cox, Succession (HBO)
Billy Porter, Pose (FX)

Jeremy Strong, Succession (HBO)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
Olivia Colman, The Crown (Netflix)
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Laura Linney, Ozark (Netflix) – Predicted Winner
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Zendaya, Euphoria (HBO)

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons, Watchmen (HBO)
Hugh Jackman, Bad Education (HBO) – Predicted Winner
Paul Mescal, Normal People (Hulu)
Jeremy Pope, Hollywood (Netflix)
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True (HBO)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America (Hulu)
Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable (Netflix)
Shira Haas, Unorthodox (Netflix)
Regina King, Watchmen (HBO) – Predicted Winner
Kerry Washington, Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Mahershala Ali, Ramy (Hulu)
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Hulu)
Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
William Jackson Harper, The Good Place (NBC)
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) – Predicted Winner
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) – Predicted Winner
D’Arcy Cardin, The Good Place (NBC)
Betty Gilpin, GLOW (Netflix)
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Nicholas Braun, Succession (HBO) – Predicted Winner
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
Kieran Culkin, Succession (HBO)
Mark Duplass, The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Matthew Macfadyen, Succession (HBO)
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld (HBO)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown (Netflix)
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies (HBO)
Julia Garner, Ozark (Netflix) – Predicted Winner
Thandie Newton, Westworld (HBO)
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve (BBC America)
Sarah Snook, Succession (HBO)
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies (HBO)
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen (HBO) – Predicted Winner
Jovan Adepo, Watchmen (HBO)
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend (Netflix)
Louis Gossett Jr., Watchmen (HBO)
Dylan McDermott, Hollywood (Netflix)
Jim Parsons, Hollywood (Netflix)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America (Hulu) – Predicted Winner
Toni Collette, Unbelievable (Netflix)
Margo Martindale, Mrs. America (Hulu)
Jean Smart, Watchmen (HBO)
Holland Taylor, Hollywood (Netflix)
Tracey Ullman, Mrs. America (Hulu)

 

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

The Great, “The Great” (Pilot), Matt Shakman
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “Marvelous Radio,” Daniel Palladino
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “It’s Comedy or Cabbage,” Amy Sherman-Palladino – Predicted Winner
Modern Family, “Finale Part II,” Gail Mancuso
Ramy, “Miakhalifa.mov,” Ramy Youssef
Schitt’s Creek, “Happy Ending,” Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy
Will & Grace, “We Love Lucy,” James Burrows

 

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

The Crown, “Aberfan,” Benjamin Caron
The Crown, “Cri de Coeur,” Jessica Hobbs
Homeland, “Prisoners of War,” Leslie Linka Glatter
The Morning Show, “The Interview,” Mimi Leder
Ozark, “Fire Pink,” Alik Sakharov – Predicted Winner
Ozark, “Su Casa Es Mi Casa,” Ben Semanoff
Succession, “Hunting,” Andrij Parekh
Succession, “This Is Not for Tears,” Mark Mylod

 

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Little Fires Everywhere, “Find a Way,” Lynn Shelton
Normal People, Episode 5, Lenny Abrahamson
Unorthodox, “Prisoners of War,” Maria Schrader
Watchmen, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” Nicole Kassell
Watchmen, “Little Fear of Lightning,” Steph Green
Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being,” Stephen Williams – Predicted Winner

 

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

The Good Place, “Whenever You’re Ready,” Michael Schur – Predicted Winner
The Great, “The Great” (Pilot), Tony McNamara
Schitt’s Creek, “Happy Ending,” Daniel Levy
Schitt’s Creek, “The Presidential Suite,” David West Read
What We Do in the Shadows, “Collaboration,” Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil
What We Do in the Shadows, “Ghosts,” Paul Simms
What We Do in the Shadows, “On the Run,” Stefani Robinson

 

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Better Call Saul, “Bad Choice Road,” Thomas Schnauz
Better Call Saul, “Bagman,” Gordon Smith
The Crown, “Aberfan,” Peter Morgan
The Crown, “Cri de Coeur,” Jessica Hobbs
Ozark, “All In,” Chris Mundy
Ozark, “Boss Fight,” John Shiban
Ozark, “Fire Pink,” Miki Johnson
Succession, “This Is Not for Tears,” Jesse Armstrong – Predicted Winner 

 

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Mrs. America, “Shirley,” Tanya Barfield
Normal People, Episode 3, Sally Rooney and Alice Birch
Unbelievable, Episode 1, Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon, and Ayelet Waldman
Unorthodox, “Part 1,” Anna Winger
Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being,” Damon Lindelof and Cord  – Predicted Winner


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One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill: Why Haley and Lucas Were Friendship Goals

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Lucas and Haley are Friendship Goals on One Tree Hill

There are plenty of relationships fans can “ship” on One Tree Hill.

You can be #TeamBrucas, #TeamLeyton, or #TeamNaley, and they’re all great in their own way.

But there’s undoubtedly one relationship that trumps them all — Laley, aka Lucas and Haley.

As with all friendships, they’ve had a fair share of ups-and-downs.

They grew apart briefly, but despite the rocky road, they’ve always managed to come back to each other and never lose the love.

We'll Always be Friends

On One Tree Hill Season 4 Episode 3, Haley asked Lucas to promise her that “matter what happens, you and I will always be friends.” And he kept that promise.

Significant others came and went, but Lucas and Haley remained best friends throughout the entirety of the series.

Even after Lucas and Peyton drove off into the sunset (Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton exited the show on One Tree Hill Season 6), their friendship lived on off-screen.

When it comes to OTH relationships, Haley and Lucas’s was the purest one.

It was the most enduring relationship in the series, having started in childhood.

When we met them on One Tree Hill Season 1 Episode 1, they already had an established connection that was built on a foundation of trust and memories.

Their dynamic would have allowed the writers to easily cross the line and give in to the played-out friends-to-lovers trope (and maybe that was even the plan at one point), but the best thing about Lucas and Haley is that they never crossed that line.

The fact that they remained best friends and never pursued each other romantically made them far more interesting than if they would have ever considered dating.

Never Romantic

In a small town like Tree Hill, it’s almost unheard of for a guy and girl to be “just friends.”

But Haley and Lucas proved that members of the opposite sex could love each other platonically.

These are some of our favorite things about them:

They Were Protective Over Each Other

We first begin to understand Lucas and Haley’s relationship on One Tree Hill Season 1 Episode 1.

They’re the outcasts that always stuck together and had each other’s backs.

When Nathan starts cozying up to Haley after she offers to tutor him, Lucas gets protective and warns her against getting involved with his half-brother because he believes he’s only getting close to her to get back at him.

While Lucas isn’t entirely wrong, he also trusts Haley to make the right decision, even if he doesn’t agree with it.

In turn, Haley’s decision to tutor is fueled by wanting to protect Lucas. She offers Nathan her math tutoring services on the condition that stop bullying Lucas and leave him alone.

They Cheer Each Other Up

Though it would be easy for Lucas to point out that he warned Haley about Nathan’s self-serving intentions, he never does. Instead, he’s there for his best friend.

On One Tree Hill Season 1 Episode 7, when Haley believes that Nathan’s been making fun of their relationship, she confesses that he showed her his true colors and she fell for it because she’s “stupid,” but Luke assures her that she’s far from it.

Smart Girl is Really Stupid

Instead of saying, “I told you so,” he’s supportive and lends her a shoulder to cry on.

On One Tree Hill Season 1 Episode 18, famously known as the “Boy Toy Episode,” Haley taps into her savings from the cafe so that she can buy Lucas during the auction to spend time with him.

At the end of a fun-filled night, Lucas assures Haley that “If Nathan doesn’t see how special you really are, then he’s an idiot cause I think you’re amazing.”

He may not be fully supportive of the relationship, but he always wanted her to follow her heart and be happy. 

Read the full post at TV Fanatic!


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Editorials

Tiger King: Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis or Did Something Else Happen?

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Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis?

If you’ve gotten to episode 4 of Netflix’s eccentric new docu-series,Tiger King, you know all about animal rights activist Carole Baskin and the claims that Joe Exotic latched onto that she killed her husband nearly 20 years ago.

The investigation went unsolved for 20 years as there was absolutely no trace of  Jack Donald “Don” Lewis.

Despite her enemies and Don’s family pointing fingers at Carole, who has also become one of the most meme-able people from the series, Carole maintained her innocence. She denied all the wacky claims that she fed him to the lions (don’t put it past her), put him through a meat grinder (seriously, Netflix has a thing with meat grinders! Please see: YOU), or that she threw him to the bottom of the septic tank.

Look, they’re all plausible guesses and Carole did have plenty of motive considering Don wanted to leave her, he was scared of her, and he wanted to expand the sanctuary to Costa Rica, which is something she didn’t want. She also wrote multiple diary entries indicating that she wanted to escape or find a way out of this marriage, so it’s likely she resorted to extreme measures.

Then, there’s the fact that she laughs every time she’s questioned, which could be a nervous tick to cover up her lies. The evidence was enough to convince everyone on the Internet that Carole is guilty of murder.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-cLpr-lo7B/

And clearly,  Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister has been watching the true-crime docu-series during this coronavirus-forced quarantine and believes someone might know something that could possibly make a break in this cold case.

Chronister announced that he was looking for new leads as he re-launches the 1997 investigation to see if maybe the police missed something.

However, upon watching this, there is a huge possibility that Don wanted to disappear and leave without a trace.

The day after he was never heard from again, police found his van at a private airport, but they said there were no flights recorded and his lawyer confirmed that none of the several planes Don could never make it to Costa Rica without stopping for gas at least four times.  But this could have been what Don wanted everyone to believe!

Think about it, how hard could it be for a millionaire to disappear?

No one knew how much Don was truly worth because they said he would “hide” his money and gold bars (GOLD BARS). Therefore, it’s plausible that he had money buried that no one knew about here or in Costa Rica where he wanted to live and allegedly had a girlfriend (or multiple).

Best and Funniest Tweets About Netflix’s True-Crime Documentary ‘Tiger King’

There were other hints that Don was planning to fake his own death and get out of town including his comment to one of his associates about “if he could pull this off” it would be the legendary and the fact that he made sure to get his will in order.

My theory, which is purely based off of me sitting on my couch and hoping to solve a longtime murder mystery, is that Don planned his escape to Costa Rica with all the money he hid, hoped his disappearance would raise questions and incriminate Carole, and leave his family with the rest of his money.

Of course, that didn’t happen because as the Netflix documentary pointed out, Carole and her father got to the will and changed it so that she got everything including the 69-acre wildlife Big Cat sanctuary they ran together.

We can only hope the recently revisited investigation can bring up new evidence and finally give Lewis’ family some peace of mind.

Do you have any working theories? Share them with us in the comments!


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