This post is inspired by Game of Thrones, but written to be non-spoilerific.
Last weekend, I sat down on my comfy red couch in my comfy red jumper, and flicked on the teev.
I'd had most of Game of Thrones, the latest HBO uber-series, sitting on the multimedia hard drive player thingy for weeks. I'd watched the first episode months ago and enjoyed it well enough, but last Saturday I finally found myself with enough of a "day off" to sit down and consume some more.
And what a feast. By gum I splurged. If Game of Thrones episodes were calories, then I totally need to join Weight-Night's-Watchers (Geddit, Game of Thrones fans? Geddit?).
For the non-initiated, Game of Thrones is based on a series of books by George R.R. Martin, the first of which came out around the same time as the first Harry Potter. However, there's still two more of Martin's to come. I had never heard of the books; indeed fantasy is not really my genre. I love Xena: Warrior Princess, of course, but since it's virtually historical fact, it doesn't really count.
Anyway, the basic details are:
a) It's set in a country called Westeros, which is divided into seven kingdoms, united under one king.
b) Many people of noble/not-so-noble blood have their eye on the "Iron Throne".
c) There are MACHINATIONS. And NUDITY. Often NUDE MACHINATIONS.
But the main thing to keep in mind is:
d) Sean Bean will F**K YOUR S**T UP.
You want proof? Here's Ireland's favourite son (and the best Bond villain of the modern era, in my opinion), thinking about f**king some s**t up:
|"I'll need my horse."
Here he is again, on horseback, considering his strategies:
|"I'll need my sword."
A quick interlude of machinations nude:
But then, bam! Sean Bean again, just moments away from totally f**king your s**t up:
|"This is what f***king your s**t up looks like."
Now I'm not just a geeky pervert, getting high on a cross between Lord of the Rings, The Sopranos and Westeros Girls Gone Wild. No, Game of Thrones has inspired such gratuitous use of the phrase "f**k your s**t up" because the characters are so wonderfully drawn. Even the vapid, stupid ones have their motivations, their comeuppances and their bring-down-em-ances.
But it made me wonder - how much did the WAY in which I consumed Game of Thrones influence my sudden and frankly disturbing obsession with it?
I grew up in the BD era - which stands for Before DVD Box Sets, or if you're into such things, Before Downloads and iView. Mulder and Scully didn't just watch themselves. You had to really commit to series television.
But then I grew up, and I started university and work and all sorts of creative things away from televisions that made it harder to keep up with regularly scheduled programming. TV started to pass me by. While that may have been somewhat pleasing to my Dad, something happened while he was distracted by international cruising holidays and shiny, shiny gadgets.
Spurred on by targeted, niche programming, better production values and kickass casts - the kind of stuff HBO does so well - and boosted by access on demand, TV-watching actually became an admirable, nay, worthy past-time. Being a TV addict now gives you cred, man.
There's still a place for the weekly series view. For example, there's no way an episode of Doctor Who could go unwatched at Chez Clumsy - the mere suggestion of "holding off" would be enough to send any number of replica sonic screwdrivers hurtling into walls. So hooking up to the TV series drip feed is still a viable option, particularly when you can slot it into your own schedule. And there's a certain sense of payoff in waiting for your next fix.
But is it more fun to save everything up and blow it all across a couple of sittings? I'm not sure. Will I retain this newfound keenness for fantasy, burning brightly after a short but intense exposure? Or will it ebb and grow as cold as the Winter that ominous characters throughout Game of Thrones keep tell me Is Coming?
How do you consume your TV? And how do you choose what to watch?