Lasting Impact?

Toby Frost

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I was thinking about the TV show of Game of Thrones recently, and I was struck by how little obvious lasting impact it seems to have had. Back before the pandemic, Game of Thrones was huge. In the office where I work, it was continually discussed by people who would normally never go near a fantasy novel: not just in terms of plot, but as a piece of work, what it meant for TV in the future, whether it was sexist, and so on.

And it seems to have dropped out of public consciousness extremely quickly. Obviously there are still people who are fans of the books, and there is now House of the Dragon, but its hold on the general public seems to have disappeared. Maybe it's down to the last seasons being generally seen as weak, or perhaps the pandemic just blotted it out (although everyone stuck at home must have wanted something to watch). I don't know if it's had subtler effects on the way that TV drama is made and watched. Maybe it's brought fantasy into the mainstream somewhat, but I'm not even sure about that. Or am I missing something?
 
It's definitely helped promote fantasy on tv; I think 'Rings of Power' was made on the back of it, as well (obviously) as House of Dragon.

GoT went downhill fast in the last 3 seasons, but I don't think it's why we don't get the same discussion. With so many channels, with so many shows, people simply move on to the next thing. Which is precisely what tv producers want viewers to do. Line of Duty, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, 24, Lost, Friends - the list goes on. All seen as great tv shows, and talk about during their day, but now (for most) they are yesterday's news.

Which is why it's a shame that great tv shows such as I, Claudius, Sapphire & Steel, Blakes 7, Star Trek TOS, DS9 and TNG - amongst many, many others - have all bern lost in time to 90%+ of the viewing public.
 
With so many channels, with so many shows, people simply move on to the next thing. Which is precisely what tv producers want viewers to do. Line of Duty, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, 24, Lost, Friends - the list goes on. All seen as great tv shows, and talk about during their day, but now (for most) they are yesterday's news.
Wasn't that true even when there only a handful of a channels? Were general viewers still talking much about Upstairs, Downstairs years after it ended?

There are still retrospective videos put up on YouTube about the GoT show, and they seem to get decent view counts, but the problems with the last few seasons mean these are mostly critical. I don't think it has retained the kind of fan-base that, say, Lost has.
 
Wasn't that true even when there only a handful of a channels? Were general viewers still talking much about Upstairs, Downstairs years after it ended?

There are still retrospective videos put up on YouTube about the GoT show, and they seem to get decent view counts, but the problems with the last few seasons mean these are mostly critical. I don't think it has retained the kind of fan-base that, say, Lost has.


I watched Lost through to the bitter end. There are many tv shows I can (and do) watch again. This is not one of them. The directions it started going off in were bizarre and ruined what was initially a fascinating, intriguing, gripping tv series.

Apart from internet forums and fan sites, I think that hardly any tv shows (or movies) from the past continue to be actively discussed.
 
I’m not particularly surprised in the lack of lasting impact. It’s simply the throwaway nature of modern life. Used. Forgotten. Out for recycling along with all the Gusto boxes and plastic containers.

I think a good way to measure impact or lack of would be to look at how many babies were named after characters when the show was at its height and how many are being named after them now.
 
I'm not sure it can be written off as "people forget things quickly now". People become intense fans of, say, The Mandalorian or the new Marvel films, and that enthusiasm doesn't disappear as soon as another shiny thing arrives. Shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire aren't entirely forgotten when they stop showing (it helps that both of these were consistently very good). I wonder if part of the appeal and the failure of GoT is its rather soapy nature: while it did come to an end, it frequently felt as if it wasn't going to and didn't need to. There wasn't an easy question that could be answered ("How close is Frodo to dropping the ring into Mount Doom?" say) to determine whether it was going to end.

It seems to me that GoT went from "huge" to "virtually forgotten" extremely quickly, and that wasn't inevitable.
 
I think it is as simple as media diversity.
When there were 3 TV channels and no home cinema, a show or a film could have almost national impact when it was first experience. Everyone would experience the same show at the same time. It became memorable.
anyone the right age to remember the 6 month wait for ET to arrive in the UK [and bootleg tapes being handed around to those luck enough to have a video play?]
With on demand and the plethora of TV channels, there are few such Events.
Not enough people watch the same thing at the same time for any show to make a lasting impact.
ITV may have lucked into one with Mr Bates vs The Post Office. Or maybe they didn't. They knew they had the after holiday's dead spot and filled it with a concentrated showing [4 nights in a row?] of high quality drama. Add in a great cast and story and it flew.
It was still only seen by about 5m each night [and apparently has lost them money], but it became more than just a TV show...
Questions were raised in Parliament. Laws written. People exonerated.
[I can remember the TV News report about the video of revealing who killed JR arriving at Heathrow Airport]
 
I haven't watched it but I recall Diana Rigg saying that the lack of necessity to save costs on footage or tape impacted performance.
Perhaps it all comes down to the speed of modern life but I suspect there is a lack of intensity in presentation which makes things more disposable too.
The Sopranos was a big deal but I have no desire to rewatch it--and the two most memorable regular characters -to me anyway-- were Paulie Walnuts and Silvio, and they were the ones who had the most intense, exaggerated behavior.

I couldn't get into ROME because I found the cast boring.
 

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