Game of Thrones Season 4 viewership ratings overview
By Hear Me Roar on in Editorial, Speculation.

Graph

Bang! We start with the graphics right away (click to enlarge, first hour only, shows with >10 episode runs condensed to fit, yada yada). Are you suffering from the post-season blues already? This Sunday will be about numbers instead of about a new episode – and I would prefer it to be the other way around as well.

This season, the show quietly passed one of the million marks already before it started airing again, between seasons; it premiered to an audience of (much) more than 6 million for the first time (6.64 million to be exact). The next watershed was passed midway through the season, when 7 million were broken by episode 405 (7.16 million). The absolute record was reached by episode 407 – 7.20 million people tuned in during the first airing. After that, the numbers stayed in the same range, with the finale seen by 7.09 million viewers. Some percentages:

  • Increase between seasons 21%
  • Increase during current season 8%
  • S4 record vs S3 record increase 31%

Other, perhaps even more important records have also been set. This year, Game of Thrones became the biggest show in HBO history in terms of total viewership. The number has increased since, and the latest count stands at 18.6 million viewers across all platforms. The final episode of the season, likewise, set a new piracy record and is on the way to becoming the most shared episode of any TV show this year.

Hear Me Roar: As always, we turn to next season speculations at the end. Where do you think the numbers can take us from here? I believe there is still potential for new viewers to join between seasons, so the 7.20 million can definitely be beaten (early?) next year.


45 Comments

  1. jentario
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I think next year will mark the peak of the show’s popularity, and after that it will dip a little. It won’t go much over 8 million for the first viewing and 20 overall.

  2. Kerim Katica
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    jentario,
    Yeah i think you’re right events slow down abit while the final chapters of the story are set up.

  3. Boojam
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    18.6 !
    Last I saw was 18.4.
    One notes that’s Neilson’s for a week, episode viewings, premium viewings, seems they count DVR viewings , don’t know how them know that?
    That’s USA numbers only.
    We really have never gotten any non-USA numbers, even for Canada!

    Not counting pirate stuff.

  4. joanmassa
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I, for one, won’t be watching next season, unless Winds of Winter comes out a bit before. I’m going to do what I, among countless other people, have repeatedly told purists when they whined: I’m going to keep my shit to myself, stop watching and focus on the books. It’s for two reasons, mainly:

    Besides my dissapointment with the show writers for making totally unnecessary changes for the worse, and essentially killing my expectation and excitement for next season, the following will most likely get ahead from the books in some storylines (Brienne and Sansa for example) and could hint at how relevant/irrelevant current book storylines are, and what can we expect of them.

    I want to enjoy the books unspoiled.

    On another note, and as a suggestion for the site: Perhaps for next season you should include some sort of guide to explain or warn book readers where the show has gone beyond the books, in case anyone who wants to keep watching can do so but also skip the scene where there are book spoilers.

    Cheers!

  5. Ser Tahu
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I think upper-mid 7s average is a reasonable expectation for S5. I think we will see it much more flat next year as the viewership reaches its peak. If there is a particularly eventful episode we might see it hit just above an 8.0 at some point, but if it does I think that will definitely be the last million marker we see the show cross. On the other hand, I think we will also see a noticeable dip for mothers day like in seasons 3 and 4, with the numbers dropping to the low 7s (making it the first season to have an episode viewed by less people than an episode in one of the previous seasons). As for total viewers, I think 20-21 million is a reasonable estimate.

    Overall I think season 5 will be the peak for viewership, with the show very steadily declining over the following 2 (3?) seasons, finishing with approximately the same range of numbers as the second half of season 4.

  6. Caravaggio
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict a milestone 10 million viewers for the Season 5 finale. The only basis I have for this is the binge-watch phenomenon. It worked for Breaking Bad’s final run, with new viewers binging on the first four and a half seasons prior to the airing of “Blood Money,” propelling that episode’s ratings to 5.92 million viewers. The finale, “Felina,” closed off the series with a powerhouse 10.28 million viewers.

    Game of Thrones hasn’t entered its final season yet, but with the show at its most popular, and with cultural osmosis simply at work, new viewers can binge-watch all four seasons and bolster the Season 5 premiere. More than ever, the current library of four seasons deliver a complete narrative arc: the beginning and end of The War Of The Five Kings, Act I of ASOIAF. Anything goes at that point, and with many audience favorites setting off into uncharted waters, figuratively and literally, viewership will be at its strongest come Season 5.

  7. Turncloak
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    joanmassa,

    Get ready to live under a rock if you seriously plan on tryjng to stay unspoiled when the show eventually passes the book. That will be a tall order indeed

    Do I bitch and moan when the show changes things or does things differently that I don’t like? Absolutely. Will I still watch? Ofcourse. ASOIAF is an addiction for me and I will stay to the bitter end

  8. JJT
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    joanmassa:
    On another note, and as a suggestion for the site: Perhaps for next season you should include some sort of guide to explain or warn book readers where the show has gone beyond the books, in case anyone who wants to keep watching can do so but also skip the scene where there are book spoilers.

    That’s not a good idea at all. This is a site for the show. It’s like a show watcher reading the books and asking which chapters they can skip because they’ve already seen it on the show or asking which to skip because they want to see it on the show first.

    If you’re not going to watch the show in it’s entirety you should stay off this site. Also it’ll be almost impossible to remain 100% unspoiled unless you avoid social media, the internet in general and even people.

  9. outdoorcats
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the trend is there are big jumps in between seasons, when we gain new viewers from binge-watchers who finally catch up on the show, but not huge increases in the middle of seasons. That’s probably due to the nature of the show–you can’t just tune in during a random episode and figure out what’s going on. We did get a huge boost from Joffrey’s death which had the internet buzzing so loudly that I think a bunch of people who had never watched the show took notice.

  10. Kay
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    What an impressive growth from Season 3 to Season 4! Extremely impressive! I hope that as the show enters the true spoiler phase, that is, it goes beyond the books, that there will be another increase in viewership. This will hopefully happen a little next season, and then in full effect from Season 6. I too hope for 10 million viewers!

  11. Tatters
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I predicted 8 million this year,
    but I guess there is something such as purists.
    Ive found clickbait articles full of whining.

  12. Tatters
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Im sure it will kill the 9 million barrier next year.
    It is the preeminent Drama on TV.
    Everything else dont stand a chance.

  13. kingthlayer
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    JJT,

    Um, screw you. The book readers on this site have made significant efforts to protect the Unsullied from spoilers, it would be nice to expect the same treatment. Surely something can be worked out. This site is for ASOIAF fans, NOT just fans of the show.

  14. Delta1212
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Kerim Katica,

    I don’t know. I think it’s going to depend on Dorne. The Red Viper was even more popular on the show than he was in the books, which is saying something. That’s largely on the casting Pedro Pascal.

    In the books, Dorne drags a bit, not because it isn’t interesting, but because it’s a sudden mass of new characters that barely seem connected to the rest of the story introduced in a book that is missing a lot of popular characters and plotlines.

    The latter is not a concern on the show, and I know a lot of people who want to see some follow up on Oberyn’s death with the Martells. If they cast the Dornish half as well as they did the Red Viper, they might actually reinvigorate the show by injecting some new people to root for.

    There’s not really a concentrated force of good on the show right now. When you’re in the heads of the characters, it’s not quite as big of a deal, but on the show it’s a lot easier to see “sides” and Tywin’s death and Tyrion’s exile, the Lannisters still have more of a side than the Starks, and Stannis is still basically a lobster. He might pick up at the Wall a bit, but even so.

    Throw in Jaime and Bronn to introduce Dorne and tie it into the main story a bit, and I think they might actually improve the story instead of being a drag.

  15. Omar Brown
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I want to enjoy the books unspoiled.

    Good luck with that, enjoy when WoW comes out in 2020.

  16. Valaquen
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212:
    Kerim Katica,

    Stannis is still basically a lobster. He might pick up at the Wall a bit, but even so.

    Anecdotal, but pretty much every unsullied I know either love or really, really appreciate Stannis now after his swaggering entrance in the finale (my brother said, “You know… thinking about it… he really is the true king.”) Stannis’ problem so far is that he has been utterly remote from the main plot for a year and a half. He has been mustering his forces since season 2. Now he’s at the Wall with a host of other interesting characters. Next season should really see him blossom.

  17. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    kingthlayer:
    JJT,

    Um, screw you. The book readers on this site have made significant efforts to protect the Unsullied from spoilers, it would be nice to expect the same treatment. Surely something can be worked out. This site is for ASOIAF fans, NOT just fans of the show.

    No this is a show site. It will be impossible to enjoyably discuss the show if we’re required to not discuss entire story arcs. There are indeed a lot of book readers on this site, but that doesn’t mean this is an ASOIAF fan site.

    I’m all for shielding book readers who’ve quit the show in other spaces. However, this is not the place for that. Because this is specifically a fan site for the TV show.

  18. Huck
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    joanmassa,

    This site has always been predominantly about the show — it was started when the first rumours that there might be a ASOIAF TV show came up, specifically for the budding show. If you are looking for show-spoiler free ASOIAF discussion, asoiaf.westeros.org and reddit.com/r/asoiaf (they are discussing how to best deal with the show potentially spoiling the books next season), for example, will be a safer and more interesting place.

  19. Huck
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Wow! True detective is doing better than GoT in its first season. I’ve never seen it — is there any more growth potential? It’s spiking for the last episode seems to indicate taht there was some word of mouth and people got caught up just before the finale?

  20. Josla
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Huck: Wow! True detective is doing better than GoT in its first season. I’ve never seen it — is there any more growth potential? It’s spiking for the last episode seems to indicate taht there was some word of mouth and people got caught up just before the finale?

    I watched the first three episodes and I was totally bored by all of them. Needless to say I stopped watching. May be that after that it got interesting or it could be just me.

  21. Delta1212
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Huck,

    That is indeed the case. I was even one of those people. The show had very strong word of mouth going into final episodes and was probably helped along by having an even shorter season than GoT. At 8 episodes total, it was very easy to catch up for the finale.

    I don’t think True Detective is going to reach the heights of GoT or Sopranos, but the seasonal anthology style is something that I think should give it pretty good staying power. The fact that actors only have to commit to a single season and the show doesn’t have to worry about on-going plotlines means they can bring in some pretty big name talent on a consistent basis and can easily retool things that don’t work from one season to the next.

    I’m expecting it to be a pretty solid and popular show, but not one with a rabid genre-style fanbase except possibly on a season by season basis.

  22. Dude
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    True detective is def a love or hate show I enjoy it because nothing is simplified for the audience its like the showmakers made the show for themselves and were like we dun care who keeps up or even likes this story f@$k em

  23. Delta1212
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Josla,

    It’s not just you. I loved it to pieces from the first episode. My girlfriend got so bored that she gave up 30 minutes in, which she very rarely does especially when watching something with me.

    My parents and her uncle, who is a retired detective, actually, loved it as much as I did, but her father had the same reaction she did.

    So it seems like a very “love it or be incredibly bored by it” first season.

  24. Streetad
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I am actually really looking forward to the show getting ahead of the books – not knowing what will happen next week will add a whole new dimension to the show. I will obviously read the next books if they ever come out but I would very much like some resolution to the story at some point in the next decade…

  25. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Delta1212,

    The series’ creator said he doesn’t see it lasting beyond 3 seasons. I think a lot of the show’s success will depend on what actors/actresses they get to star in each season. The star power of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was why I started watching the show.

  26. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Streetad,

    Me too. Knowing what is going to happen has not diminished by enjoyment of the books during rereads. I don’t think the show spoiling events will hurt my ability to enjoy the future books either. TWOW and ADOS will still have plenty of details not in the show and plot points that didn’t make it to the show will be there. It’s only the major events that will be spoiled on the show. At least with the show in existence we will know the outcome of the series in 2017. Who knows how long it will be until the books are finished?

  27. Zack
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Boardwalk Empire’s ratings are criminally low.

  28. Winter
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    GOT will break the 8 million barrier early next season, bookmark me! The wait between seasons whilst painful, helps drum up hype and anticipation, and audiences will flock to watch it once it returns.

    It’s quite literally THAT show!

  29. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Game of Throne is my favorite show on TV.

    But True Detective was very, very good. If I didn’t have a bias for epic and consequential stories like GoT, I might say that True Detective was my favorite.

    But no matter how hard I try, a murder mystery in Louisiana simply cannot top an epic mytho-historical account of great men and great women.

  30. The Dragon Demands
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Well, what we could tell in earlier seasons was that it was a mistake to air the ninth episode on Memorial Day weekend; they fixed this by Season 3.

    The notable thing in Season 3 is the slump that occurred after episode 6 “The Climb”. Now there was nothing inherently “bad” about the episode; these aren’t regular weekly TV shows but a serialized adaptation of a novel. They’d simply reached a slow part of the books where they needed to add in some exposition stuff (setting up the Loras and Sansa marriages). I wouldn’t fundamentally change any specific plot elements from that episode, it’s just that they can’t steal the Unsullied *every* week, or kill Joffrey *every* week.

    The major thing that always infuriates me is when people blame an episode for low ratings….when it followed a badly received episode, and blatantly what happened is that people dissatisfied by one week’s episode will just record next week’s. People don’t just randomly channel surf anymore; it’s a DELAYED reaction to the past week! So technically “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” got the low ratings in Season 3, episode 7, but this was obviously a reaction to “The Climb”.

    But turning to Season 4,there is a slump around episodes 4 to 5, from which it RAPIDLY rebounded completely by episode 6 or so.

    I can only speculate in this case, it’s less clear cut, but I think it’s a combination of:

    1 – This was a lot of slow setup, which could not be avoided. I greatly enjoyed “Oathkeeper” even though it was mainly setup scenes (handled far better than in “The Climb”). And it’s not as if Daenerys wasn’t doing anything.

    2 – The filler arc at Craster’s Keep was kind of boring for many people. Now in retrospect, it wasn’t even particularly “bad” filler material, things got back on track later on without changing the overall storyline…but it was still filler material. I used to hate it but now I’m not sure if we could have had a whole season of Jon basically doing nothing, and the Battle of Castle Black would have been odd anywhere but at the end of a season.

    3 – I half-suspect that the frequent use of “rape as drama” produced a bit of a backlash among female viewers, who tuned out. No, Jaime wasn’t raping Cersei in episode 3….but if the audience *perceives* it as a rape scene, the viewers who don’t read interviews and would never hear the explanation that this isn’t what they intended…and even those who DO read them…if it’s perceived that way, it is still upsetting and not pleasant to watch.

    Even setting aside the Cersei scene, they were pretty clearly using “rape as drama” at Craster’s Keep. And that’s a grey area because they WERE doing that in the books, or imply that the mutineers raped all of Craster’s wives after Sam and Gilly fled, but we don’t see it.

    Still, you can MENTION such things without having to gratuitously show them.

    And credit where credit is due to Benioff and Weiss…the on-set directors actually filmed a much longer, tracking shot sequence of all the rape going on at Craster’s Keep. Over the top violence and rape. And when they saw it, even THEY decided it was too much and cut it for time. But even what was in the FINISHED episode was a bit much, so the mind boggles at what they cut out.

    In short, episodes 1 and 2 were very strong, while 3 through 5 were a combination of “required exposition” (which as a book fan I don’t mind), and “filler” (not always bad filler, in retrospect, but at the time it felt aimless). Then things snapped back into focus by episode 6. It also didn’t help that Tyrion was barely in episodes four and five.

    So I can’t really say there’s anything we can “learn” from this, given that the problems were already fixed by the end of the season, ratings-wise and direction-wise.

    But what we’ve learned is you should only make a purely invented subplot if you absolutely have to; i.e. Season 2 showing Renly and Margaery’s tent was NOT “invented” but just “this was off-screen in the books”; if you invent stuff, it doesn’t fit, and this isn’t inherently a problem, but if it serves no higher purpose it will feel AIMLESS.

    The three minutes of Yara and the ironborn in episode 6 was too brief to be a factor, and otherwise was a highlight episode of the season, but the Greyjoy storyline got utterly sidelined and they sure as hell need to make up for that next season.

  31. Hear Me Roar
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The Dragon Demands,

    Or simply, it was a holiday weekend :) Not that it makes your content analysis as such invalid.

  32. Chad Brick
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    You’d have to live in a cave to avoid having the TV series spoil Winds of Winter and Dreams of Spring, so that won’t work. Just take heart in the fact that D&D are going so far off the book-rails next season that even after watching the TV series to its end, most of the stuff in the books will remain unspoiled, and a bunch of things might be completely in contradiction!

  33. Boojam
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I still think season 2 episode 9 is an anomaly, Blackwater.
    Maybe there is a number for week, but I have never seen it.
    There was a lot of buzz about that episode and word of mouth that I am sure that dip corrected itself. After two years it is hard to find the data. DVD sales for season 2 were very very good.
    We never seemed to get any finals on DVDs for season 3.
    One thing that may skew DVD sales is streaming lots of legal ways to do that now… except of the commentaries and extras which I think are only the DVDs…. I wish HBO would put more extras on those DVDs.

  34. Nancy
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Huck,

    With regards to True Detective, it had great critical reception and a ton of buzz and word of mouth as the season developed. Depending on the story for season 2 and the cast, it will remain to be seen how well the show does in it’s second season rating wise. I, for one, thought it was the best show on television this past season. Whether it can maintain that with a new storyline and cast is the eternal question.
    As for GoT, it’s hard to say. Many shows usually see rating declines as they age. Sometimes this is not an indicator of quality, just that viewers move on. Other times it is-writing staff changes, showrunners depart, the cast comes and goes. Some shows buck this trend (last season of Sons of Anarchy, which had it’s best ratings ever in it’s 6th season) and GoT might also fall into that category.

  35. Eman
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I find it hilarious that the book purists want this site to have spoiler warnings if the show deviates from the books. I love the books, but after next season there will be some big jumps ahead for the show since GRRM is writing at a snail’s pace and quite frankly that is all on him. He chooses to do a lot of travel and I mean a lot of travel which is certainly his right but since he won’t write on the road he and the book purists just need to deal with the fact that the show will get ahead of the books.

    This site is about the show and therefore if you come here after any shows during the next three seasons you will get spoiled and the site does not need to do anything to accomodate you. Yes many people who have read the books come to this site to talk about the show and of those people there are two camps the purists who spaz out anytime anything is changed from the books and the non book purists who enjoy the show for its merits and understand the process of adaptation over a ten show season. Are D&D perfect, no, have they done a marvelous job adapting the books, yes!! So book purists get a grip and if you cannot handle spoilers then don’t come to this site. There are plenty of book sites where you can all get together and complain to your heart’s content about the changes that have been made in the show. But really most of you act like spoiled kids. GOT the show is a landmark event and done with such quality, skill and verve that we are truly lucky to be part of this. When I read the final chapter in GOT back in 1997 I was struck with the thought that I would love to see the dragons hatching scene in a show but never dreamed it would be possible, but wow it happened and I am eternally grateful to D&D for that since they made it happen.

    The ratings will continue to go up next year because D&D will cut the crap and filler that is jammed into the last two books and give us the best moments as well as add their own little twists. Most of the people who watch the show do not read the books and I know many people who are unsullied who didn’t need the Tysha scene to get why Tyrion would kill his father. So any changes that D&D make will not impact the majority of the show audience in any way. For book purists who cannot understand why D&D are not making the show exactly the way they have envisioned it, again get a grip and grab onto some reality. There are going to be changes and the show will outpace the books so either deal with it or don’t watch until all the books are out. However If the final books is published before 2020 I will be surprised.

  36. johnnytata
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    l

    Eman:
    I find it hilarious that the book purists want this site to have spoiler warnings if the show deviates from the books. I love the books, but after next season there will be some big jumps ahead for the show since GRRM is writing at a snail’s pace and quite frankly that is all on him. He chooses to do a lot of travel and I mean a lot of travel which is certainly his right but since he won’t write on the road he and the book purists just need to deal with the fact that the show will get ahead of the books.

    This site is about the show and therefore if you come here after any shows during the next three seasons you will get spoiled and the site does not need to do anything to accomodate you. Yes many people who have read the books come to this site to talk about the show and of those people there are two camps the purists who spaz out anytime anything is changed from the books and the non book purists who enjoy the show for its merits and understand the process of adaptation over a ten show season. Are D&D perfect, no, have they done a marvelous job adapting the books, yes!! So book purists get a grip and if you cannot handle spoilers then don’t come to this site. There are plenty of book sites where you can all get together and complain to your heart’s content about the changes that have been made in the show. But really most of you act like spoiled kids. GOT the show is a landmark event and done with such quality, skill and verve that we are truly lucky to be part of this. When I read the final chapter in GOT back in 1997 I was struck with the thought that I would love to see the dragons hatching scene in a show but never dreamed it would be possible, but wow it happened and I am eternally grateful to D&D for that since they made it happen.

    The ratings will continue to go up next year because D&D will cut the crap and filler that is jammed into the last two books and give us the best moments as well as add their own little twists. Most of the people who watch the show do not read the books and I know many people who are unsullied who didn’t need the Tysha scene to get why Tyrion would kill his father. So any changes that D&D make will not impact the majority of the show audience in any way. For book purists who cannot understand why D&D are not making the show exactly the way they have envisioned it, again get a grip and grab onto some reality. There are going to be changes and the show will outpace the books so either deal with it or don’t watch until all the books are out. However If the final books is published before 2020 I will be surprised.

    amen brother. when book purists spaz i think “3year old having a temper tantrum because he didn’t get a toy at the store.”

    if they are jazzed about the prospect of pages on pages of descriptions of food being translated to screen, more power to them, but i hope they go somewhere else and leave unsullied and rational book readers in peace.

  37. Zack
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    I have a difficult time finding flaws in True Detective. I don’t have to look very far to find flaws for Game of Thrones. I think TD is a masterwork, with Deadwood and The Wire. I think GoT is a notch below those, on the level of Boardwalk Empire. (I like BE as much as Thrones, yeah)

    But having said that, I also must say that Game of Thrones is a great show and a faithful adaptation and probably, realistically, couldn’t be done better. Other people trying their hand at it might get some things right that the show fumbles, but it would undoubtedly work in reverse too. What show pleases 100% of people with every choice?

  38. Delta1212
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Zack,

    No, it had some flaws, especially with the resolution to the investigation. They just weren’t flaws in anything super critical. There are plenty of cop shows where the point is figuring out who dunnit. This was more about how the case impacted the detectives involved, so the acting and writing from that perspective was more important than the writing of the actual case and that character work was absolutely nailed.

    And really, I think this exemplifies what is good about HBO. It’s not just that they do “quality” dramas, but they produce shows that you’re not going to get on any other network. Who else is going to make Game of Thrones and do it the way HBO has done it? There is literally no other company in the world that would take that on. True Detective would never have been picked up by a broadcast network.

    HBO is just very good at producing things that most other people wouldn’t and doing them to a very high standard. There’s a creative freedom that comes with having ridiculously deep pockets and an ability to shrug off low viewership numbers for a fledgling series. Obviously, even HBO isn’t going to keep pouring money into a project nobody is watching, but they can afford to repeat an episode ten times over the course of a week and finish out at least the first season of a show to see whether interest picks up without having to worry about whether they’re losing money on a timeslot from lack of viewers.

  39. 0KEN0
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I too think it’s hilarious that readers are talking about quitting the show to remain unspoiled on the books. In what world do these people live in?

    At current pace, George might be finished the series in 7-10 years from now. Now, as far as we know, the show will land in more or less the same place as the books plot wise. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones is one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons in the world right now. I know very few unsullied who have managed to stay away from any spoilers in the show’s four year run. Idiot readers spoil that shit in every corner of the interwebs.

    So, if you like, use the internet on a regular basis… or have friends, or work, or are in the general vicinity of people on a regular basis, good luck trying to dodge GoT spoilers for the next decade!

    I read the books first (long before the show), and wish I could have experienced all the books first. But alas it wasn’t meant to be. George had his shot. Now the show takes over. And while I, like many readers, think there are problems with the show, I’m not so blind as many of the cry babies around here to see what an overall great show this is. I’d rather enjoy the show in the moment, then read the books spoiled.

  40. Delta1212
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    0KEN0,

    The best comparison isn’t even Unsullied trying to remain unspoiled by bookreaders, it’s people who came late to the show. How many people caught up between seasons 3 and 4 who hadn’t heard about either Ned’s execution or the Red Wedding (or heck, just the dragons which were supposed to be something of a twist in season 1 and did actually manage to surprise a few people despite the heavy telegraphing).

    It’s easy to get spoiled by book knowledge, but once something big happens on the show, the Internet goes from being a minefield where a slight misstep will spoil you to a firestorm where there are clips of reactions, late night talk shows spoiling major plot points and parodies everywhere.

    There are a relatively small number of “event” shows on these days where everyone is talking about them but this is one. I’ve had two jobs since the show premiered and I can count on one hand the number of people in both offices who didn’t watch on one hand, combined. My father watches and while he’s not a super fan, he still has to watch the night of because everyone around him at work the next day is going to want to talk about it.

    If you skip out on the show to avoid book spoilers, you’re most likely just going to wind up spoiling both for yourself. I don’t blame anyone who wants to read the ending first, but I think that ship has sailed.

  41. Huck
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Delta1212,

    The most crucial questionon a show-heavy site like this is to me: how should are all these ahow-only viewers supposed to _know_ what is and what isn’t a book spoiler next season?

    Also, there would be two different kinds of spoilers (book->show and show->book) that would need to be marked differently for the different audiences. That seems virtually impossible to me to introduce and maintain and police, at least for this site.

  42. Zack
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I want to ask an unrelated question and this seems like the place where it would only be pretty off-topic rather than completely.

    But…remember when Breaking Bad finished up and they released that combined 5 season set with all the cool shit?

    I am wondering if maybe I should stop buying the Game of Thrones Blu-rays (I only have the first two) and wait for some Ultra Deluxe Final edition in another 4 years or so once it wraps up. Would HBO release something wild like that for this show? I know they’ve done ‘The Complete Series’ releases before but usually they’re just packaging the already released DVDs together.

    Since this is their most popular show ever now, though, I wonder if they might want to release an ultimate edition that comes with art books or house sigil pins, etc etc.

    Lot of collector fantasy geek types in the fanbase.

  43. Alan
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    * Why do people think the show is going far into Winds of Winter next year? All but one storyline (Bran) has a full book (or two) to tell. I am undecided as to what I will do with Season 6 if for some reason tWoW is not out, but next years should be 99% safe.

    * The dip in ratings was 100% Memorial Day Weekend/initial airing issues. I bet the full week viewings were in line.

    * I don’t expect the ratings to jump much next year, based on a completely unscientific polling of friends. I had a ton of friends jump on the bacndwagon for this year, but in talking to my current group of non-watching friends… they are much more resistant. I simply don’t see that level of jump out there in an unreached audience that is willing to watch. Could be wrong, of course.

  44. Overtone
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The 31% increase in viewership from S3 to S4 is amazing by any standard.

    Personally, I thought Season Four was the best yet, even though my favorite episode is still from Season 3 (Episode 4).

    I just finished Storm of Swords, and A Feast For Crows arrived last week. I fill my GoT downtime with I&F book reading.

    The question is can D&D maintain this incredible momentum they’ve created. It seems almost impossible, but they keep surprising with each new season.

  45. Clob
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    True Blood final (7th) season premiere on Sunday got 4.031
    That show appears to have just about topped out. It hasn’t gone above 5 million since just barely doing it for the 5th season finale. It hovered in the low 4′s for most of last season.


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