Superfans Unite: A New Breed Reimagines Criticism for a Digital Age

The two men run a YouTube channel called New Rockstars devoted to “Game of Thrones” and other intensely followed genre TV shows and films, one of a new breed of media outlets like IGN, Nerdist and Emergency Awesome reimagining criticism for a digital age. In addition to what they call a breakdown video — an hourlong recap, review and analysis of an episode — they make videos that dig into trailers, deleted scenes and even the music behind films and TV shows.

They are superfans — sophisticated ones — using visual aids to break down shows and movies for superfans. And their handiwork makes the audience for these pop-culture spectacles even bigger and more engaged.

“We are in a world where the cacophony of coverage, whether it’s Vanity Fair or New Rockstars, drives the cultural zeitgeist around the show,” said Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s senior vice president for digital media and marketing. “That breeds the FOMO — the Fear of Missing Out — that’s driving continued growth of the show this season.”

The morning after the “Game of Thrones” premiere, Mr. Molina, 32, and Mr. Voss, 29, started work early at their one-room studio, which is across the street from Universal Studios. Mr. Molina had watched the episode twice, made extensive notes and built the motion graphics for “Westeros Weekly,” a new show that New Rockstars is producing during this season of “Game of Thrones.” Mr. Voss was in another corner rewatching clips from the premiere and writing a script for an hourlong episode breakdown that he and Mr. Molina would begin taping the next day.

The two men both have comedy backgrounds, and both are working on their own film and TV scripts even as they’re becoming known online as film and TV personalities. New Rockstars, though, will be their full-time gig for the foreseeable future.

New Rockstars started in 2012 as a YouTube channel for interviews with new-media creators like Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley. At that time, the more popular videos generated 30,000 or 40,000 views, but most had fewer than 5,000. In 2015, a three-minute New Rockstars video speculating about how the next “Fast & Furious” movie would address the death of the co-star Paul Walker generated 8.6 million views, and New Rockstars promptly changed its business plan.

“The moment we saw the response to that ‘Fast & Furious’ video, we decided to reduce all the coverage on all the YouTubers,” said Jeben Berg, a former Google executive and…

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