View Finder: Winter is coming (over a couple of seasons)

Nick Broughall 10 March 2017

game of thrones s6 finale

And Netflix is exploring the possibility of choose-your-own-adventure programming.

Queue up that old Game of Thrones Spotify playlist, because the seventh season of HBO's epic translation of George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has been dated. Season 7 will hit screens around the country on 17 July.

Season 6 saw the show race out ahead of the books (we're still waiting on Martin to finish book six), so it's no big surprise that the Game of Thrones creators have decided to split the seventh season across two years. Only seven episodes will air in 2017, with the remainder to resume in the winter of 2018.

Realistically, it's probably a safe bet to assume that the HBO show will be well and truly wrapped up before Winds of Winter is released, but you have to wonder how the show's success will impact the sale of those last two books, given that everybody will already know how it ends.

Foxtel still has the exclusive rights to the show in Australia, so you'll need to fork out for a pay TV subscription or sign up for a free Foxtel Play trial. Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of people who will source the show through other means, with Game of Thrones consistently remaining one of the most popular shows for BitTorrent users.

Choose your own Netflix adventure

Earlier today came the news that Netflix is exploring the possibility of "choose-your-own-adventure programming", where users will be able to control elements of the narrative with their remote control.

Basically, at certain points in the story, users will be prompted to make a choice, with the show pre-recording multiple different scenes that will follow the consequences of the user's decisions.

Initially kicking off with a children's TV series, if successful, Netflix could explore the concept even further. The kids-first approach makes complete sense, especially given the type of content that kids consume. My own kids would happily sit in front of Netflix for hours and hours watching the same shows if I let them and giving them control of the story would be an awesome way to make a show more interesting the second time around.

But as much as I love the idea, I think it's going to be especially challenging to pull it off well. It is possible – just take a look at the narrative branches of video games like Life is Strange or anything by Telltale – but it practically needs to be a binary choice, which takes a lot of the nuance out of the storytelling.

That said, if any content company could do a choose-your-own-adventure TV series well, it would be Netflix. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Switch on Netflix already

The Nintendo Switch is about a week old now and early adopters are no doubt obsessed with everything Zelda, by necessity. The other major launch title, 1-2 Switch, isn't very good and there are no Netflix-streaming capabilities anywhere to be seen.

The good news is that this won't always be the case. Nintendo America boss Reggie Fils-Aime told the Washington Post this week that the console will support streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu "in time".

He said that fundamentally, Nintendo feels that streaming isn't a system-seller for game consoles, but more something that might be nice to have as an additional feature. Nintendo is in talks with streaming services, but being able to watch Netflix isn't a priority for the gaming console.

Given that the Switch had a more successful launch weekend than the Wii in many markets around the world, I'd say he's right. But now that a week has passed and people are starting to finish Breath of the Wild, having Netflix would be a great way to maintain relevance until the next interesting game gets launched.

This week in streaming

If you enjoy crying your eyes out on public transport, the Netflix documentary The White Helmets is a much-watch for your next commute, as I discovered this past week.

If not, you might enjoy the news that the second season of Underground is streaming on Stan starting tonight. Next week, we're going to be all about Iron Fist, even though early reports aren't that positive.


Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in streaming TV and movies for Australians.

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