TV Talk

Game of Thrones Season 8 Keeps Breaking Records

Plus: Find out what types of projects the Obamas have in the works at Netflix, why Quentin Tarantino re-cut The Hateful Eight into a miniseries, and more of the week's biggest TV news.

by | May 3, 2019 | Comments

This week’s TV news features Game of Thrones, the Obamas, Quentin Tarantino, new Marvel TV series, and more.


Game of Thrones Keeps Setting Records

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3 (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

Game of Thrones’ latest episode, “The Long Night,” has now shattered both the Night King (literally) and ratings records (figuratively). According to the New York Times, 17.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the one hour and 22-minute Battle of Winterfell, beating the network’s previous record (set just two weeks earlier during the season 8 premiere). The season 8 premiere was the biggest telecast in HBO history until “The Long Night,” with 17.4 million viewers tuning in. It still holds a record, though: Guinness World Records has deemed it the most in-demand TV premiere ever (according to its analytics, at least, which takes into account “global demand” — whatever that is).

Meanwhile, “The Long Night” cinematographer Fabian Wagner sat down with Wired and defended his choices against viewers who complained that the Battle of Winterfell was lit too darkly and they couldn’t see the action happening on their TV screens.

“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” he said. “A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”

The episode was dark on purpose, he said, because of the show’s overall shift in tone to much darker subject matter.

“We’d seen so many battle scenes over the years – to make it truly impactful and to care for the characters, you have to find a unique way of portraying the story,” he said, later adding that the darkness of the episode is also partially due to how people are watching it. “Game of Thrones is a cinematic show and therefore you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema: in a darkened room. If you watch a night scene in a brightly-lit room then that won’t help you see the image properly.”

The Obamas Plan Their Netflix Empire

President Barack and Michelle Obama in the Library of the White House, Feb. 19, 2013. They were recording a message for ABC 'Good Morning America' anchor Robin Roberts.

(Photo by White House)

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama announced the first slate of projects they’re working on with Netflix via their new production company, Higher Ground Productions. They include feature documentaries, scripted series, adaptations, and family series: American Factory is an award-winning documentary they acquired out of Sundance; Bloom is a fashion-themed upstairs/downstairs drama set in post-WWII New York City that will focus on the barriers faced by women and people of color; Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents is a half-hour preschool series about global food; Fifth Risk is a docuseries based on bestselling author Michael Lewis’ book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy; Crip Camp is a feature-length documentary about a 1970s summer camp for disabled teenagers in New York’s Catskill mountains; Overlooked is based on the New York Times’ column of the same name that tells the stories of remarkable people (notably women and people of color) whose deaths were not originally reported by the newspaper; and the last project is a feature film adaptation of David W. Blight’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

Quentin Tarantino Explains How The Hateful Eight Became a Miniseries

(Photo by The Weinstein Company)

The extended version of Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 Western The Hateful Eight turned out to be a little bit more than a longer cut: It’s a four-part miniseries available to stream on Netflix that the director oversaw himself. Tarantino told /Film that Netflix actually approached him to create the new cut, which has about 25 or more minutes of new footage.

“About a year after it’s released, maybe a little less, me and my editor, Fred Raskin, we got together and then we worked real hard,” he said. “We edited the film down into 50-minute bits, and we very easily got four episodes out of it. We didn’t re-edit the whole thing from scratch, but we did a whole lot of re-editing, and it plays differently. Some sequences are more similar than others compared to the film, but it has a different feeling. It has a different feeling that I actually really like a lot. And there was [already] a literary aspect to the film anyway, so it definitely has this ‘chapters unfolding’ quality.

Hulu Plans Ghost Rider and Helstrom Series

Ghost Rider - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD screencap (ABC)

(Photo by ABC)

Now that Hulu is a part of the Disney family (following the completion of the Disney-Fox acquisition the Mouse House is a majority owner, not just partial), it’s wasting no time in getting some new Marvel properties in development. The streaming service announced that it is planning two new live-action series based on Marvel characters: Ghost Rider and Helstrom. Gabriel Luna is set to reprise his role as Ghost Rider, which he originated on screen during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season. But according to Variety, the Hulu version of the character will be completely different and have no ties to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s.

Hulu has also ordered a new series starring and produced by Nicole Kidman based on Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty’s latest novel, Nine Perfect Strangers; new food-focused original series with David Chang and Chrissy Teigen; and a limited series called The Dropout starring Kate McKinnon as disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Additionally, the streaming service revealed a few fun statistics about the way users consume its content: viewers streamed more than 100 million hours of vintage TGIF shows in 2018; true crime drama The Act saw more viewership in its first month than any other Hulu Original series to date; and viewers streamed nearly 1 million hours of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting in 2018.

This Week in TV Trailers

Networks released trailers for some of the summer’s biggest series, including Hulu’s Veronica Mars revival (which you can watch above) and the upcoming third season of The Handmaid’s Tale, which you can watch here. Other trailers you can watch:

Evangeline Lilly back on TV and more casting news

Evangeline Lilly at arrivals for GO Campaign Gala 2018, City Market Social House, Los Angeles, CA October 20, 2018. Photo By: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection

(Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

Now that the Wasp has helped save the world in Avengers: Endgame, Evangeline Lilly is returning to TV. Nine years after wrapping her role as Kate on Lost, Lilly has snagged her newest leading TV role on the Vudu original series Albedo, according to Deadline. (Yes, Vudu, as in the streaming platform owned by Walmart and built-in on many a smart TV.) She’ll play Det. Vivien Coleman, a woman who travels to the edge of the solar system to investigate a scientist’s mysterious death, only to find herself trapped and, along with the other scientists-turned-murder suspects on the isolated space station, cut off from Earth. The series is set 150 years in the future, and will consist of eight episodes.

This next bit of casting news is a bit of a journey, so please join us: Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, is set to star as a young Kanye West in Showtime’s upcoming anthology series Omniverse, which will explore “the Ego through an alternate reality Kanye West,” per Buzzfeed. Yes, you read all those words correctly. No, we don’t really know what they mean either.

Other casting news includes Set It Up stars Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch teaming up for another Netflix romantic comedy (expected to film in 2020); Elizabeth Banks trying her hand as a game show host (on ABC’s upcoming reboot of the classic Press Your Luck); Vincent Cassel joining Westworld as a villain in the upcoming third season; and Michael Chiklis as a border patrol agent in Paramount Network’s drama Coyote, from Breaking Bad executive producer and frequent director Michelle MacLaren.

Stay In for the Ball Game

Major League Baseball is notoriously picky about how viewers can watch its games, but MLB is now making it much easier for cord-cutters to watch in-season baseball. MLB and YouTube have teamed up to offer a 13-game package in the second half of the regular MLB season that will allow fans to stream those games live on MLB’s YouTube channel.

Dealmakers: Regina King and Dan Fogelman

Regina King

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman has signed a reported nine-figure deal to continue producing TV shows for 20th Century Fox Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new deal reportedly includes the possibility to reboot the creator’s short-lived (but critically beloved) baseball drama Pitch, as well as new seasons of This Is Us and other new projects.

Netflix, meanwhile, has signed a deal with Regina King and her production company Royal Ties to produce “a roster of series and films” for the streaming service.

Development Update: Another Downton Abbey Followup and More TV Series in the Works

Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey followup series Belgravia has begun filming in the U.K., but HBO has ordered a New York City-set series as well. The Gilded Age, which has been in development since 2012 and was at one point in the works at NBC, is set in 1885 during the titular era that featured immense economic change. Per HBO, the series follows Marion Brook, the orphaned daughter of a Southern general, as she moves in with her aunts in New York City and is accompanied by Peggy Scott, an African-American woman masquerading as her maid.

The real-life rescue of the Thai soccer team cave rescue is headed to the small screen in a project for Netflix. In 2018, 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for two weeks in the flooded Tham Luang caves near Chiang Mai, Thailand. They all made it out safely thanks to a daring rescue attempt. The project will be directed by Crazy Rich Asians helmer Jon M. Chu and Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya.

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are executive producing a new drama for Paramount Network. 68 Whiskey, which is based on the Israeli TV series Charlie Golf One, is a “dark comedy following a multicultural mix of men and women deployed as Army medics to a forward operating basin Afghanistan nicknamed ‘The Orphanage.’ Together, the endure a dangerous and Kafkaesque world that leads to self-destructive appetites, outrageous behavior, intense camaraderie, and, occasionally, a profound sense of purpose,” according to the official announcement. The first season will consist of 10 one-hour episodes.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

blockbuster Comedy Apple TV+ NBC robots politics true crime ghosts NYCC travel Mindy Kaling award winner obituary Film Festival game of thrones Peacock children's TV MSNBC Awards Tour YA DGA Christmas based on movie FX on Hulu parents diversity latino natural history VOD 2016 Emmy Nominations TCA 2017 24 frames comic Superheroes MCU Writers Guild of America Paramount Schedule TLC CW Seed fast and furious YouTube Red CBS Netflix Christmas movies mutant Mary poppins video on demand 4/20 Captain marvel scorecard ITV Nominations hollywood football Black History Month Superheroe 71st Emmy Awards Super Bowl Marvel Studios Extras Film Pride Month Kids & Family Red Carpet series TV renewals 72 Emmy Awards OWN Marvel sequel satire Cartoon Network casting Awards toy story Drama The CW AMC Star Wars strong female leads dark Acorn TV Reality Competition hist Spring TV Amazon Studios 21st Century Fox joker venice Amazon Prime Video Valentine's Day independent CMT 007 Women's History Month blaxploitation dramedy stoner political drama documentary free movies justice league Interview SDCC period drama VICE Mystery WarnerMedia crime sitcom book thriller zero dark thirty comedies Food Network festivals game show Television Critics Association worst Television Academy Infographic Sundance Now BET The Arrangement 20th Century Fox Fantasy franchise medical drama MTV Hulu batman directors SundanceTV science fiction Elton John Country Mary Tyler Moore social media Stephen King Britbox video Family tv talk USA Network CBS All Access Polls and Games sports Binge Guide Netflix 2015 slashers Set visit American Society of Cinematographers Election Masterpiece OneApp Nat Geo Lucasfilm toronto HBO Starz Amazon WGN archives halloween tv Discovery Channel halloween cinemax cancelled TV shows IFC Musical miniseries Song of Ice and Fire Premiere Dates Sony Pictures Lifetime cancelled renewed TV shows transformers Comedy Central Esquire foreign PaleyFest Disney Plus RT21 Toys Tarantino Tomatazos crime drama universal monsters A&E TIFF crossover El Rey romance ABC Family Reality dc supernatural TCA Awards Academy Awards boxoffice space hispanic Columbia Pictures Epix cops Best and Worst Spike Walt Disney Pictures Freeform concert Disney Channel BBC America unscripted Grammys Pixar GIFs E3 superhero Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt DC streaming service Winners nfl FX scary movies GoT TCA Calendar Teen Ellie Kemper screenings kids green book The Walking Dead ratings YouTube Premium Rocky singing competition Comics on TV anthology Box Office reviews south america Fox News Black Mirror adventure Pop TV sequels Rock historical drama The Purge Chernobyl 2018 festival a nightmare on elm street Sneak Peek The Witch Shondaland composers sag awards stand-up comedy PBS vampires screen actors guild child's play 2017 Podcast San Diego Comic-Con National Geographic cancelled TV series Travel Channel comiccon Musicals TV Land spanish Trivia romantic comedy cartoon BAFTA rotten Marathons Hallmark Christmas movies classics witnail Turner name the review mission: impossible police drama Disney streaming service LGBTQ Watching Series laika movie versus serial killer Hear Us Out Warner Bros. Video Games Classic Film nature emmy awards Summer war Dark Horse Comics animated Rom-Com Endgame X-Men New York Comic Con TruTV FXX doctor who mockumentary Hallmark die hard BBC One streaming teaser First Reviews biography FOX Lionsgate quibi documentaries Ghostbusters harry potter BET Awards Winter TV Heroines Tubi dragons Baby Yoda Comic Book HBO Max aliens critics Arrowverse PlayStation USA RT History TCM Character Guide golden globes Countdown crime thriller Chilling Adventures of Sabrina movies reboot twilight rotten movies we love Holidays breaking bad italian technology First Look CNN remakes Paramount Network dogs Mary Poppins Returns cooking comics Crunchyroll disaster Nickelodeon Biopics Quiz IFC Films Opinion LGBT stop motion Tumblr zombie Photos VH1 discovery Turner Classic Movies Showtime asian-american Avengers Amazon Prime Trophy Talk E! television 2020 Certified Fresh psycho Sundance TV cults revenge Spectrum Originals Horror Rocketman Creative Arts Emmys Crackle Cannes Thanksgiving Martial Arts anime History Pop HBO Go Trailer 2019 psychological thriller cars President Western Pet Sematary richard e. Grant binge Emmys Lifetime Christmas movies zombies theme song GLAAD Mudbound Star Trek jamie lee curtis Universal The Academy ABC Year in Review Bravo DC Universe all-time Syfy spain Action Holiday Disney spider-man SXSW werewolf Disney+ Disney Plus films Apple TV Plus Ovation talk show christmas movies Adult Swim APB elevated horror spanish language best adaptation TV Music indie Brie Larson spinoff BBC docudrama Anna Paquin spy thriller YouTube finale Animation french canceled Sundance dceu Sci-Fi Fox Searchlight See It Skip It criterion Pirates Cosplay Logo cancelled television A24 Vudu what to watch Funimation Apple news Fall TV TBS Marvel Television Oscars chucky 45 cats worst movies DC Comics DirecTV TCA Winter 2020 TNT facebook indiana jones ESPN Shudder canceled TV shows nbcuniversal