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Monday, April 07, 2014

"Game Of Thrones" is top of my must-not-watch TV chart

I've never watched "Game Of Thrones". That's nothing special. I've never watched "The Hunger Games" either. Nor "Breaking Bad", "Battlestar Galactica", "The Waking Dead", "Sherlock", "Lost", "True Detective", "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", "Arrested Development" and hundreds of other hot TV series everybody says are great.

And when I say I've never watched them I mean I've never watched so much as ten minutes of any of them. They're not designed for snacking. With this kind of densely-plotted high concept entertainment you can't stop while passing through the room and expect to be brought up to date by somebody sunk deep in the sofa. You're either there for the long haul or you're not there at all.

There are plenty of these shows I hear a bit about and decide to avoid because I suspect they're clever enough to keep me watching but not substantial enough to make me glad I did. And they're so long they can steal half your life away. It's a new category. Must-not-watch TV. If I had a chart of must-not-watch TV "Game Of Thrones" would be at the top of it.

Which is why it's so risky putting a show like that on the cover of a general interest magazine. Shows like this run in narrow channels and don't pique the interest of anyone outside those channels. They're intensely rather than widely popular.

It's not like when J.R. was shot in "Dallas" almost thirty-five years ago. Everybody had some attachment to that storyline. Either they watched it or they had watched enough of it to know which one was J.R. and to have an idea why somebody would wish to shoot him.

Interest in "Dallas" spilled over the sides of the channel which carried it. No longer.

They say it's the golden age of TV. They're probably right. In years to come we'll look back and say "Yes, I remember Game Of Thrones. Never watched it."