Sorry for the unannounced hiatus, gentlemen and ladies, but I have had an important development in the ol’ personal life that necessitated a temporary removal from things internet-esque.
I got a new job!
In a new city.
Which means I have to move…
So, congrats to me, but also I’ve been organizing and packing and all at a breakneck pace in order to get things where they need to be for my transition.
Long story short, sorry again. And look, it took me almost a month and a half to go back on my promised blog agenda. Sigh.
Anyways, here’s some news you might not have heard about:
As of yesterday, the HBO pilot based on George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, the first novel in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, was picked up for a series! The first season will be ten episodes long and will cover all of the events of the novel.
If nothing else, this means that Martin has a firm deadline on when A Dance with Dragons must be finished, as they’ll need to start filming it sometime in 2014. Better get typing, George.
Here is the first promotional image for the show.
I’m not sure how well my total geekiness about this series has come across so I’ll just say that without any context, I’m almost positive this is Ser Waymar Royce of the Night’s Watch coming upon the massacred wildling camp in the book’s prologue. There. Don’t ever doubt my geek powers again, everybody.
This news led me down an interesting path. What is the state of fantasy television? Maybe it’s just me, but it feels as though the science fiction* side of the Genres gets all the attention on the small screen.
I took a quick survey of shows currently airing on US television and came up with a surprise (to me, anyway). The numbers are about equal.
On the sci-fi side of things, we have:
- Chuck (NBC)
- Flashforward (ABC)
- Fringe (FOX)
- Lost (ABC)
- V (ABC)
- Caprica (Syfy)
- Eureka (Syfy)
- Stargate Universe (Syfy)
- Warehouse 13 (Syfy)
And on the fantasy side:
- Ghost Whisperer (CBS)
- Heroes (NBC)
- Medium (CBS)
- Past Life (FOX)
- True Blood (HBO)
- Sanctuary (Syfy)
- Smallville (CW)
- Supernatural (CW)
- Vampire Diaries (CW)
Interesting lists, and full of information. For instance, while the two subgenres are tied at the moment, the fantasy list is already in trouble. Both “Heroes” and “Smallville” are finishing up their final seasons, while “True Blood” has a short season (compared to the others) and is only available to customers that pay a premium.
Science fiction, on the other hand, benefits from significantly higher exposure, advertising budgets, and general regard in the eyes of the media and consumers. Sure, none of these 20 shows are exactly ratings powerhouses, but most of them do well. “Chuck” is NBC’s highest-rated scripted hourlong while “Lost” and “Caprica” both have plenty of cachet and devoted fanbases.
Meanwhile, the only fantasy shows to generate buzz or ratings are “True Blood” and it’s distant cousin “The Vampire Diaries” both of which could be accused of simply riding the coattails of the Twilight phenomenon (however untrue that might be). “Ghost Whisperer” and “Medium” play down the supernatural aspects of their premises in favor of melodrama and procedural trappings. “Supernatural” and “Sanctuary” both started out with interesting ideas that have gotten bogged down in their mythology to the point of ridiculousness (a problem with fantasy in any medium, I guess). And that leaves “Past Life” about which the less said, the better.
Hmm. When does “Game of Thrones” start? 2011?
*Note that for me, the working definition of science fiction includes science fantasy–fantasy that makes the impossible seem plausible–and thus includes Lost and Flashforward. You may quibble with my definition. Feel free. Just be nice.