Monday is coming. And, in the UK, it brings with it season 5 of Game of Thrones, but not soon enough for some viewers. While the entire season will be shown in 170 countries at exactly the same time as it’s being shown on HBO – a simulcast of laudable ambition and common sense, and hopefully a portent of things to come – Sky Atlantic has decided not to join in with the grand unveiling in the early hours of the morning and, instead, will wait 19 hours till 9pm tomorrow to screen the premiere.
People are pretty upset about this but, to be honest, I’m not one of them. You guys, the show is being screened hours after its US premiere. Not weeks, not months, not years – hours. We despise delayed scheduling at unpopcult and we say so every chance we get. But while, yes, it’s a little disappointing that viewers in the UK can’t join in the big GOT event with like-minded fans across the world and the “water-cooler” reason given by Sky Atlantic is both patronising and unconvincing, I’ll be reserving my ire for broadcasters like More 4 which waits nearly 4 months every year to show The Good Wife and seems to have forgotten Nashville completely; E4 which won’t get round to showing Jane the Virgin till late April, 6 months after its US debut; BBC4 which started showing Parks and Recreation several years late and has been sitting on season 4 for so long, the show has actually finished all of its seven seasons in the US; Five which took a 10 month break between seasons 2 and 3 of Person of Interest leaving us a year-and-a-half behind, and its stablemate Five USA which stopped showing both Parenthood and Justified completely, leaving fans twisting in the televisual wind or taking their chances with Sky Box Sets and the forthcoming Spike channel. So, yes, as far as I’m concerned, the GOT simulcast is a wonderful, glorious thing, but so is some perspective. Waiting 19 hours (especially when, had it been on at some wretched time in the morning, I would just have recorded it and watched it at night after work anyway) doesn’t seem all that terrible to me.