Starting with April 24’s season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones HBO will be adding an after-show called (rather unimaginatively) After the Thrones. While it’s a good idea, early information indicates that HBO has taken one of the critical benefits of fandom – whether of the NFL, Bravo, or The Walking Dead – and completely missed the point.
Season 6 is coming. And it’s really creepy set to Chris Isaak music.
While the show will take on the traditional after-show format, covering the latest episode, exploring politics and history within the show, and deconstructing theories, right now it won’t be available until the day following the episode; and then only on HBO’s sideline networks HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO on Demand. Playdates on the main HBO channel will be announced as they are confirmed. Clearly HBO is trying to hang onto that prime post-Thrones hour for more lucrative programming, but traditionally anyone going through the trouble to do an after-show would want it, you know, to follow the show.
Immediately after a popular show airs there is nearly tangible energy crackling as strangers congregate across phones, text, and Twitter to dissect plot points and disparage the writers. When it’s a season finale it can make news, breaking records on Twitter and encouraging humans to share their grief/outrage all over the Internet:
(I love the guy on the left at 1:48 “He never even became a Stark. He never even found out who his mum was.”)
Of all shows Game of Thrones is arguably the one most in need of an after-show. Fans lose every character we love, there are (unnecessary) rapes, children are sacrificed…and that’s just season 5. Watch parties are just our brains’ subconscious way of warding off trauma through shared experience and therapy. Millions would surely stick to watch a good after-show, especially as the series moves into brand-new plot territory, divested from the books.
After the Thrones is the first effort stemming from a new partnership between HBO and sportscaster/writer Bill Simmons. Simmons worked for ESPN until 2015 and founded the online magazine Grantland, which was shut down by the network after he left. He’s well-known for mixing pop culture references into his dialogue so Chris Hardwick (Talking Dead, midnight) may find some competition to his reign as host-king of the geek-realm.
Simmons’ latest venture is content website The Ringer, which features “The Watch” podcast, named one of the podcasts you need to hear in 2016 by EW. “The Watch” is hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, who will also co-host the HBO show.
If you watched the season 6 promo above, here’s a long, but really well-done breakdown with predictions. This gal (@becausegeek) knows her GoT: