Robby Cowles: Game of Thrones
Giant movie franchises like Marvel and Star Wars have perfected the marketing strategy of raising viewer anticipation. With a photo here, a teaser trailer there, they can dominate the pop culture landscape a year in advance of a movie’s release.
Game of Thrones, on the other hand, has chosen a different approach: radio silence. Since “The Dragon and the Wolf”, the final episode of season seven completed on August 27th, 2017, fans have been completely shut out.
The show has gone to extreme measure to avoid spoilers and leaks and has been rather successful. After taking the entire 2018 year off to film and make sure everything is just right, we’re now approximately four months away from the new season (we don’t even know the exact date yet) and we know practically nothing.
Just recently, HBO gave us our first glimpse of actual, meaningful new footage from the upcoming season and it contained one sentence and lasted about three seconds.
It’s a strategy of leaving the fans wanting more, and to be honest, it’s worked incredibly well.
It’s raised the anticipation for the new season to a fever pitch. For all the talk about how the new Avenger film finishes a story that started in 2008, Game of Thrones final season is the last chapter to a series that began in…1996. Over 20 years fans have been waiting to the end of this saga!
It’s probably going to be slightly different than original author George R.R. Martin’s own ending (if he ever finishes his damn books), but it’s still an ending nonetheless.
I read the books a couple years ago and am an obsessive fan of the show (I named my apartment’s Wi-Fi “Winterfell), and I’m already getting queasy just thinking of how this show will end.
Few shows have been able to play with their audience’s emotions and attachment to its characters like Game of Thrones. Repeatedly, the show has subverted expectations to the point the audience is just hoping some of their favorite characters will survive because we know the obituary for the final season is going to be the length of a CVS receipt.
What will happen to my beloved Arya and Dany? Will Jaimie finally be the hero we all want him to be? Where is Ghost? I want answers. I NEED answers.
This show, in the era of peak TV, is still the top dog and is likely the last show that seemingly EVERYONE watches and talks about. There’s simply too much good TV and diversity for everyone to unanimously agree to watch a show anymore.
Which is why 2019 will be remembered as the year we all gathered around our TVs, watched in terrified anticipation as Game of Thrones decided who will win the game, who will die and who will live.
Please, writers, be gentle.
Dan Soden: Hobbs And Shaw
My love affair with the Fast Franchise started with one simple phrase… “You can have any brew you want … as long as it’s a Corona.”
That was back in 2001 and now 18 years later we sit on a throne of 8 movies, all in my eyes flawless, Tokyo Drift is my black sheep son who I still very much love regardless of how many bags of Cheetos and cans of Mountain Dew is goes through in a day.
Naturally I’m excited about want can only be labeled as the greatest spin-off in cinematic history “Hobbs & Shaw.” Even without the Fast & Furious family name, Hobbs & Shaw looks like it would have been a classic.
I fully expect Hobbs and Shaw to pick up on the ridiculous action sequences that have made the Fast & Furious movies so icon. Those scenes will be fueled by the love/hate relationship shared by Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, but they aren’t the only reasons to be excited.
We are also getting Idris Elba as the smooth criminal mastermind, a role that seems almost as perfect for him as Bond would be. Additionally, we get Vanessa Kirby as the conflicted Shaw sister and Eiza Gonzalez as some sort of badass who is bound to have a scene-stealing fight sequence.
So on August 2nd I’ll head over to my local movie theater, buy a big old bag of Twizzlers, recline my chair back and bask in the glory that is “Hobbs & Shaw.”
Brian Hall: Top-Tier Albums
The last three years of music have been utterly insane. Some examples:
2016: Blonde, Coloring Book, Malibu, The Life of Pablo, Lemonade
2017: DAMN., Flower Boy, Melodrama, CTRL, 4:44
2018: Daytona, Golden Hour, Dirty Computer, Invasion of Privacy, FM!
And these are just five popular examples from each year! You could honestly list 50 albums from each and have people arguing where they belong. The quality of music has never been higher, and as artists are benefiting from the ease of making what they want, we get rewarded with better, more wide-ranging music.
We’ve already got plenty of artists rumored to be releasing this year, ranging from the always-rumored (Frank Ocean) to the self-confirmed (Chance the Rapper, ScHoolboy Q) and even if many of them don’t release, we’ve reached a point where no matter who releases music, we’re bound to find some new albums that completely blow us away. It’s never been a better time to like music. Here’s hoping that 2019 keeps that feeling going.