I think we’re far enough away from it that I can safely post this
essay. The end of Game of Thrones… was it worth it?
Ha ha. This isn’t actually about Games of Thrones, though
we will touch upon it and offer a bit of a critique. And there
may be a few things ahead for those of you that haven’t seen it
and intend to. Sorry. (Consider yourself warned as you decide
whether or not to move ahead.)
this is a judgement on critics, reviews, and those that sit on
the sidelines. Because I recently stumbled across something that
ticked me off. And, unfortunately, I think it’s something that
most of us need to be aware of and shine a bit of a spotlight
Man Standing is entering its final season of new episode
production. First one will air roughly around the time this essay
is finished. A few weeks ago, the entertainment industry was buzzing
with stories about new shows, returning shows, and developments
involving casts. The ones covering Last Man Standing
came with the news that they planned to wrap things up once this
run was complete. I happened to catch a few of them, and one of
them really ticked me off.
person writing the article was highly critical of the show, even
though they had never seen even one episode of it. Seriously.
Never watched a single episode, freely admitted that repeatedly
in the article (to the point of adding in a (my words) “and you
can’t make me” sticking out of the tongue attitude as the bragging
about having never seen the show was mentioned again), and effectively
slammed the show as a waste of time.
the hell assigned this story? And perhaps more importantly, who
paid for it?
not saying you have to like Last Man Standing. But, come
on, a person writing a story about it that’s presented as insightful
industry-based stuff should have caught an episode or two.
wandering too much further down this path, I think we have enough
to set something else up entirely. And that is, how shows end.
honestly, very, very rarely do we see Schitt’s Creek
level bows and ribbons to end a run. Which, in my view, was handled
to perfection. Good timing, great writing, and a show that was
still delivering at its best. And to be fair, I kind of get that.
equally unfair… and often a recipe for disaster… is building a
finale based on fan expectations. Because when you start writing
for the audience, you almost always are going to lose the audience.
can’t be concerned about entertaining (and meeting the expectations
of) people that aren’t watching your show. Sure, increasing audience
size is a wonderful target. But if you have your audience, and
the network and advertisers and so on are pleased with those tuning
in to the show, things are good.
you are involved in the show, however, it’s dangerous to write
and produce content based on exactly what you think the audience
is looking to watch. Maybe it’s because it’s too easy a path to
take, and perhaps it’s something completely different, but the
truth is that sucking up to the audience usually leads to sloppy
of which brings me to my opinion on the whole subject, which is
that I won’t criticize most decisions made by showrunners, casts,
crews, and those associated with creating, writing and producing
a television show or motion picture.
when criticizing, I think it’s important for a person to have
a solid foundation for where they are taking their opinions. Everyone
isn’t going to be in agreement about liking or not liking things.
But you can’t offer sweeping generalities with no experience and
present yourself as a voice of reason.
it is with all of this in place that we arrive at the ending of
Game of Thrones.
or not I agreed with many of the ways storylines and concepts
were brought together for us… and believe me, I was not at all
thrilled with how things ended… I absolutely do accept that for
the HBO broadcast version of the show, that’s the story. (As you
may be aware, the wait continues to see if the books take the
wasn’t my story to tell. I wasn’t invited to consult on the development
or to write the scripts. And we are talking about one of the best
shows ever on television. So, nod of recognition, tip of the hat,
even if privately disappointed.
I do have two pieces of criticism I’d like to offer.
the final season was way too short.
not saying that as some kind of demand for more. I’m saying that
because I actually think my issues about how things were ended
in part come from the idea that the story we were given didn’t
earn these endings. They just happened, rapid fire.
a total run of eight seasons and seventy-three episodes, most
of the character traits we had been given with a slow build—especially
Daenerys—were suddenly twisted and spun around over the course
of minutes. Armies were moved from one location to the next in
the blink of an eye. Alliances and betrayals, which previously
developed and played out over multiple seasons to amazing moments
and payoffs, were suddenly being handled in two scenes or less
of the same episode.
say a few of the ideas being explored would have benefitted from
seeds being planted in earlier seasons. I don’t know if that would
have worked though, as it becomes a hindsight argument. But I
can say I believe that if they used three or more additional episodes,
inserted to allow some of the items to breath a bit more and expand,
the results would have been massive.
toward that idea, consider…)
the deaths of Jaime and Cersei were handled worse than poorly.
crumbling building? Are you kidding? Of all the undramatic, horribly
constructed, emotionally bland endings, the way these two were
killed was brutally bad.
is the couple upon which all the seasons and hours of buildup
were placed. This is the Stark family opposition… the Tyrion respect
and recognition… the pinnacle of character resolutions for the
entire series, and… nothing. We got nothing.
don’t know if my opinions matter. I don’t know if they’re shared
by anyone else. (But at least I watched the show.)