Game Of Thrones series creators D. B. Weiss and David Benioff’s deal with streaming service Netflix looks like it has been the final nail in the coffin of the projected, and controversial, HBO series Confederacy.
The massive success of Game Of Thrones had given the pair some weight at HBO, and the alternative history series was greenlit last year. HBO continued to stand by it despite the controversy – though it appeared the only people who actually wanted the series were Weiss and Benioff themselves.
HBO’s support for it was possibly based on the pair’s work on Game of Thrones. However, Confederacy was put on hold pending the completion of GOT, so there was plenty of time for critics, activists and just about everyone else to get their teeth into it.
There has been any number of alternate history stories, but this one was particularly sensitive in today’s political climate.
The series was based on the idea that the US Civil War ended in the Confederate South successfully seceding from the Union. The trappings associated with the Confederacy remained in place, including the legal ownership of slaves.
However, the political right is on the rise globally, and the Confederate flag is increasingly being seen in use as a standard in racist and often violent actions by white supremacists in the US. This makes it an extraordinarily sensitive and politically dubious prospect to attempt to portray slave-owning Confederates sympathetically.
HBO exec Casey Bloys said in an interview with Deadline in July that wherever the pair went would be lucky to have them, but any projects they had in HBO‘s pipeline were unlikely to proceed at that point.
If HBO execs were starting to sweat a little about the prospect of attempting to justify the series to both sides of the political divide, they must have felt some relief as it became obvious that Weiss and Benioff would not be staying with them. It certainly let them off having to either back the series or walk away from it.
Benioff and Weiss’s star was slightly tarnished after their last season of Game Of Thrones received a less than enthusiastic reception. Having caught up with George RR Martin’s output on the stories, Benioff and Weiss’s final season was all theirs.
GOT‘s finale still got HBO’s highest viewing figures, but it got the series’ lowest ever audience satisfaction rating on IMDB. The finale rating nosedived to 4.4, with a season average of 6.7 against the previous seven seasons’ overall average of 9.1. In fact, the finale ranked in the worst 1.5 percent of all series finale ratings for all finished (no longer running) popular shows listed on IMDB. If you want the figures for this, they’re here at theringer.com.
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