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Game Of Thrones returns, Amazon vs. Netflix, and the continued popularity of Entourage.

Tuesday April 26th 2016

 The Watercooler

Game Of Thrones is back! And we got at least a partial answer to what's up with Jon Snow. Kit Harington might still need to stay hidden for another week or two though.

“It’s edited for maximum momentum, jumping between trains and expecting us to know the abandoned cars get where they’re going. And sure, enough, they did: Stannis is dead, and Arya is blind, at least for now. But it ends that way, too, with Jon Snow lying in a puddle of blood and a skeptical audience refusing to take producers’ word for it that he’s dead. In “The Red Woman,” Alliser quotes the party line: “Jon Snow is dead.” Sure, but so was Beric Dondarrion. And as Davos attests, Melisandre can do some shit.” The A.V. Club’s Newbies recap points out the obvious end game for the still dead Jon Snow.

Vox has 3 winners and 7 losers from this week’s episode. 

“Game of Thrones threatened to do something that it had never done before – make us feel almost slightly bad for him. After all, he may be a vile monster who presides over a three-ring circus of pain and misery, but if you prick him, he does bleed. You toss his girlfriend off the ramparts, he does feel bad about it. But then he orders her corpse fed to the dogs and you remember “Oh, yeah. This son of a bitch.”” Slashfilm has the 10 most important moments from this week’s episode, including Ramsay Bolton’s pep talk from Dad.

“Quentyn’s brutal failure is echoed here in a less poetic way, as Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes murder Doran, Trystane, and Areo for their failure to act swiftly in the face of injustices to Dorne. It’s abrupt to the point of comedy, and an example of the show potentially learning its own lesson about long term planning and cutting its losses on a Dorne storyline that never worked last season (and which has only slightly more promise in its newly thinned-out version).” The A.V. Club’s Experts review needs a new name, (since it existed in previous seasons for book readers) and we both hope the Sand Snakes are given something better to do this season.

Here are all of the hints from previous seasons that Melisandre is not what she appears to be.

"Sunday night's premiere saw the brutal murder of half the Dornish plot's characters, and it was still less interesting than a subsequent scene where a woman took off a necklace. In a fandom where even the smallest controversy can set off a massive internet flame-war, the people are united on this one issue: Please, no more Dorne." Game Of Thrones has one big problem, and that's the boring and confusing Dorne storyline. We all had such high hopes.

Decider talks about After the Thrones, HBO’s new aftershow, and if it’s worth watching if it's not allowed by HBO to be critical enough. Good question. Though really, that's what the internet is for.

Confused about the connections between all the characters? Vulture has a handy graph for that.

Vulture also has some information on
everyone who died this week, which is also handy.

Here’s 10 times that George R.R. Martin
described food more erotically than sex.

I can’t argue with Uproxx’s list of 5 things from the books they are glad didn’t make it onto the show.

Don’t worry, HBO
has renewed Game Of Thrones for another season. (As well as Veep and Silicon Valley.)

A lot of people watched the episode live. 
It's that or avoid Twitter forever.

The Business

Amazon is now offering monthly Prime subscriptions, and at $8.99 a month it’s $1 cheaper than a new subscription to Netflix. Amazon is still not available on Apple TV’s though, which is why I am a whole season behind on Transparent.

The showrunner for Daredevil will also take on Netflix’s The Defenders, which I am very excited about.

Speaking of superhero team-ups, Joe and Anthony Russo, who are currently making lots of money for Marvel, are working on an investigative serialized TV show called The Mastermind.

Here’s the whole list of Jeopardy’s “Power Players Week” so if you’ve ever wondered who is smarter, Louis C.K. or Jonathan Franzen, you should set your DVR to record the week of May 16th.

Netflix has ordered Travelers, a sci-fi time traveling drama starring Eric McCormack. It’s from the creator of Stargate SG-1.

The Twilight Zone reboot will reportedly be interactive. Honestly that sounds like too much work.

SNL will be getting less commercial breaks next season, but instead they are going to sneak ads in during the show. That seems like a gamble for a brand. Have they seen SNL's fake commercials?

Casting: Pearl Mackie will be replacing Jenna Louise Coleman as the new companion on Doctor Who. Oscar winner Brie Larson will host the May 7th episode of SNL. NBC’s Hairspray Live! has cast Jennifer Hudson and Harvey Fierstein as Motormouth Maybelle and Edna Turnblad. Michael K. Williams has been cast in ABC's limited series When We RiseNaomi Watts will play the lead in Netflix’s Gypsy, about a therapist who ends up too involved in her patients’ lives. Jackie Earl Haley has signed on to both The Tick, and The Dark Tower, which still needs to be a TV show and not a movie. Stana Katic will be leaving Castle after this season. Will fans stick around?

Michael Strahan will switch from Live! With Kelly and Michael to Good Morning America in May There really needs to be a 30 Rock style show about morning shows, because there’s always good gossip.

Renewals: Good news? Bad news? AMC has renewed Fear The Walking Dead for another season. WGN has renewed Underground, a show I keep meaning to watch, for a second season.

Well this is a random cast. Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson are all involved in The Barbary Coast, a series based on the early days of San Francisco.

Idris Elba and John Ridley are developing Guerrilla, a show about the black power movement in 1970’s London. I’d watch that.

Lifetime is developing a horror anthology show based on Shakespeare, and the first will be A Midsummer’s Nightmare.

Twin Peaks has finished filming, and there are rumors that the long shoot was actually because they shot two seasons. The cast list is insane. Eddie Vedder? Monica Bellucci? Ernie Hudson?


People Talking About TV

“Per the data Comcast made available exclusively to Vulture, three HBO catalogue titles — The Sopranos, The Wire, and, God help us all, Entourage — continue to be massively popular on VOD. In fact, Entourage was the fourth-most-watched show on Xfinity during the past year nationally, just below Empire and ahead of AMC’s The Walking Dead.” Josef Adalian looked at the numbers released by Comcast, and Entourage and The Big Bang Theory are still amazingly popular, despite there being over 400 other shows available to watch. Not to sound like Buzzed, but you might be shocked by the top 10 shows in your city.

"And yet the longer I thought about this, the more I realized that what I was feeling was almost exactly what any people of color must feel when members of their own races wander, unimaginatively, into the stories of white people, as happens on every TV network, every day. You overlook it if you're enjoying the story, but it still gets under the skin and feels a little like, "Well, it's not reallythat way.”” Todd Van Der Werff talks about WGN’s Underground, and how even though it’s villains are occasionally cardboard cutouts rather than actual characters, the rest of the cast, almost all african-american, are fleshed out characters. Which is a nice change.

"What makes CXG’s Josh Chan unusual, though, is not just that he’s an Asian love interest on television, but his specificity as a character. He is a realistic depiction of a guy you’ve actually met in life and who exists everywhere — except for American pop culture. Chances are, if you grew up anywhere in America with a sizable, multi-generational East Asian population (though particularly in Southern California), you knew, hung out with, or lusted after tons of Josh Chans, also known as Asian bros — a broad and often crush-worthy spectrum of guys that includes half the male population of my high school in small-town Los Alamos, New Mexico, along with most of the snowboarders and rock climbers I’ve met in New York.” Vulture’s Jada Yuan takes advantage of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s season finale to talk about how rare it’s been to see Asian bros on TV.


What To Watch

I was on vacation last week, so other than Game Of Thrones and Last Week Tonight, I am not caught up on anything. So that's what I am doing this week. 

Penny Dreadful returns for a third season this Sunday, but since it’s on Showtime, it’s already available to watch for free on YouTube. I am adding that to my to do list.

Veep has a new showrunner, (he was a writer on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I think he's going to be fine) but the reviews say not to worry, and the show just might be the best thing to happen during the election year that we are living through offscreen.

Vox has some good arguments for why we should watch Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. I've been hearing these arguments since basically the series premiere. I am adding it to my list.

Turn: Washington’s Spies has returned for a third season, and Decider wonders if people’s interest in Hamilton will get people to finally watch.

I agree with the top 5 of this list of the 10 best food shows on Netflix. Though I would include The Great British Bake Off before including anything involving Guy Fieri.

Here’s everything new, and everything that’s leaving Netflix this month.

This year’s Peabody Award winners is a good shortlist of the shows you should be watching. UnREAL and Mr. Robot were both on my top 10 last year.

Movie News: Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection (there’s a big collection of these on Hulu, BTW) are teaming up to make their own movie streaming service.

Odds and Ends

There's lots of good stuff in Tom and Lorenzo’s Outlander Style recaps. They had a lot to say on Claire’s late 1940’s clothing translated to the 1740’s.

Vulture has all the 30 Rock references from the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

I am pretty excited about a second season of Mr. Robot that will arrive at some point this year, so this teaser is good news.

Of course the second season of Documentary Now! Is doing a parody of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Can’t wait for Juan Likes Rice and Chicken.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee made fun of the handwringing on FOX News about putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Last Week Tonight talked about Puerto Rico and the debt crisis, and since he figured people might not listen to him, he brought on Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Smart.

I am back on a regular schedule, so there will be another newsletter on Thursday. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

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