Do We Need a Game of Thrones After-Show?
"I'll be back."
Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead, The Bachelor, Orphan Black…now Game of Thrones? OK, TV, stick your Hardwicks back in your pants and simmer down with the after-shows.
On the heels of BBC America announcing the unfortunately titled Orphan Black post-show, After the Black, HBO has just announced that After the Thrones will be available on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand the day after each Sunday night airing of Games this season. The first project from their partnership with former Grantland.com guru Bill Simmons, AtT will be hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan of Simmons’ new content site, The Ringer, and offer “a lively, humorous and sophisticated look” at the adventures of Tyrion and company. You know what we bet it won’t offer? Viable information about upcoming storylines or developments. Because HBO’s seal on spoilers is tighter than Emilia Clarke’s wig.
Seriously, if any of the Game actors guest on After the Thrones, there’s no way they’ll be allowed to talk about plots, filming or anything fun like that. As it is now, their interviews primarily consist of “You’ll have to watch and see” or “We think he’s dead” or “It was a merkin.” That means the immensely gifted Greenwald and Ryan—who used to host Grantland’s popular Watch the Thrones podcast before ESPN ruined everything—will be reduced to parsing out recaps (because the internet isn’t already flooded with those), fan theories (ditto) and pre-packaged content produced by HBO itself. The fact that it’s only available on the cabler’s digital platforms and not scheduled to air on the network right after the show means that it will also lose that built-in audience so many of its fellow post-shows enjoy.
Then again, maybe that is exactly what this particular after-show needs to stand out. The current crop feels like cheapo ratings bait that relies on famous viewers, a convenient time-slot and, in the case of The Talking Dead, the deafening sound of Chris Hardwick sucking up to Robert Kirkman. We know that Greenwald and Ryan are capable of thoughtful commentary and entertaining takes, so if they can engage viewers with discourse beyond “How cool was that White Walker, celebrity guest Ken Jeong?!,” provide original behind-the-Wall content and avoid coming off as a fan Tumblr come to life, After the Thrones could become a must-visit destination. Otherwise, we’ll just stick to talking to our GoT-obsessed friend Nick from the gym about why George R.R. Martin should be chained to a desk until he finishes the next book.
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Game of Thrones returns Sunday, April 24 at 9/8c on HBO.