As Trevor Noah gets ready to retire his seat as host of The Daily Show, he might want to think about a career in marketing. On Wednesday night, he offered up an idea for a new revenue stream to the powers-that-be at HBO — and he might just be onto something.
On Sunday night, fans settled in for the latest episode of House of the Dragon, only to be left in the dark — literally. Though the show has an estimated budget of $20 million per episode, very little of that apparently went to any sort of lighting package, as the show was rendered almost completely in black, leaving viewers to wonder what the hell was happening on the screen. Or, as Noah put it: “People watching House of the Dragon are complaining that they can’t watch House of the Dragon.”
When fans began tweeting at the HBO Max support account, one viewer — who wanted the network to “issue a written apology for literally a whole episode of black screen of #HouseOfTheDragon” — received a response in which the network explained that the impossible-to-see episode was “an intentional creative decision,” which really didn’t make things any better.
Hi Stephen! We appreciate you reaching out about a night scene in House of the Dragon: Episode 7 appearing dark on your screen. The dimmed lighting of this scene was an intentional creative decision. Thanks! ^LL
— HBOMaxHelp (@HBOMaxHelp) October 3, 2022
Noah, too, was confused by the response:
Look, I’m not Steven Spielberg or Barry Jenkins. Alright, I haven’t directed anything. But in my opinion, if your ‘intentional creative decision’ is that people can’t see the TV show that you’re making, then you’re making a podcast. Alright? That’s not TV. I can’t see it!
This isn’t the first time HBO has dealt with this complaint; in 2019, Game of Thrones fans were rightly pissed off when they couldn’t actually see what was happening during the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell. But Noah thinks it’s becoming a problem with TV shows in general. “Everything on TV is so dark!,” he complained. “You can’t see anything. I don’t know why. Are they trying to make it grittier? Are they trying to make it feel like a movie? Or maybe they figure if they make it dark enough then we can’t complain about the cast not being diverse. You’re like, ‘I think that’s another white person?! I guess I’m going to let it slide.’”
But he did have an idea that HBO might want to run with:
Right now, HBO is facing a lot of backlash. But I think if they’re smart about this, this could be a good business opportunity for them. They should just add a higher price tier. Yeah, think about it. They should say ‘HBO Max is $9.99 a month. OR $14.99 a month if you want to be able to see what the f**k is happening.’
You can watch the full clip above, beginning around the 6:30 mark.