Members of the cast and crew of 'Game of Thrones' pose at the 70th Emmy Awards. The show's eighth and final season premieres on April 14.

Members of the cast and crew of 'Game of Thrones' pose at the 70th Emmy Awards. The show's eighth and final season premieres on April 14.

Does it feel like “Game of Thrones” is inescapable these days? The HBO prestige drama seems to be everywhere.

Even President Donald Trump has tweeted about it.

The show has spawned lines of sneakers, Oreo cookies and makeup, among other branding opportunities.

The show has also gone beyond its founding material — author George R.R. Martin has not yet completed the series “A Song Of Ice And Fire,” so the show has had to go on without the source material.

Here’s how Vulture described the show’s symbolism and resonance:

Game of Thrones may be the last show we all watch together the way we used to, on such a tremendous scale. Even if you don’t watch it, you may feel as if you do. So many key incidents on the series — including the Red Wedding, Cersei’s walk of shame, and the death and resurrection of Jon Snow — seeped into the surrounding culture and became synonymous with “shocking plot twist” (or “obligatory plot twist”) even for people who’d never seen a frame of it. It’s a lavishly produced, massively popular piece of entertainment that generates awareness far out or proportion to its legal viewership (between 12 million and 16 million people watch a first-run episode, according to HBO), dominating online TV conversation during consecutive weeks when it airs new installments.

The most important words in that last sentence are “consecutive weeks” and “installments.” From the heyday of Charles Dickens, whose piecemeal novels were so popular that superfans used to wait at the docks for shipments of periodicals containing the latest installments, serialized storytelling has always known how to hook people’s imaginations with the bait of “What will happen next?”

As the final season begins, we’re wondering about the future of appointment television. Is there any other show out there that has the same broad appeal? What does it mean that millions of people are so attached to this story?

Produced by Jonquilyn Hill.

Guests

  • Travis Andrews Pop culture reporter, The Washington Post @travismandrews
  • Erik Adams TV editor, The A.V. Club; @ErikMAdams
  • Samantha Ecker Contributing writer, Watchers on the Wall; co-host The Night’s Cast podcast; @TheSansaSnark

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