They call the majority of August the dog days of summer, and traditionally that has meant an absence of captivating entertainment, be it in film, sports, or television. In film, August is often left for the blockbusters with less intrigue than the big event films of Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. In sports, it’s a strange time when baseball has yet to reach its peak and the other sports have yet to start in proper. And in TV, before there was streaming or even as much original cable programming, summer was a time of hiatus.
But, many are learning, these dog days also represent an opportunity, regardless if they have to compete with family vacations. Christopher Nolan has used this to his advantage, making it a habit to release films in mid to late July so he can own August as well. In sports, fantasy football now turns August into a month where sports fans are caring about every aspect of the NFL pre-season, turning a traditionally yawn-worthy period into one of the most exciting times of the year. And in TV, some of the biggest shows have opted to air their biggest episodes in August. In a world of 24-hour news and seven-day work weeks, why not have 12-month television schedules that keep people tuned in regardless of the page on the calendar.
To be clear, August is not feast time for good television. Being lucky enough to have Halt and Catch Fire kick off its final season just as Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks are wrapping their own respective runs feels like we’re watching a comet pass by us. But it sure beats how we used to entertained ourselves in August, back when watching a literal comet pass by us would be about as good as it gets.