Remember back in the day, when you could sit down and watch an episode of literally any TV show or movie without feeling completely confused? 

Well, that's all over — we live in a post-"Lost," shared-universe kind of world, now. A world where movies often reference plots from other movies, and you have to binge up to five seasons of a TV show to know all of the characters' names. 

Which isn't to say that these shows (and movies) aren't worth watching, even if you don't quite know everything that's going on. "Game Of Thrones" and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are two of the biggest, most successful franchises around right now, so clearly people are invested in rich, expansive universes. 

In speaking with the Los Angeles Times, "Captain America: Civil War" screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely explained that while it's difficult to explain all the key players in a superhero-packed movie like theirs, or the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War," he's not worried — and he specifically cited "Game of Thrones" as the reason why:

"Explaining quickly something that is going to be just completely incomprehensible to the average person is a tough one," Markus said. That said, Markus is "heartened by the popularity of things like 'Game of Thrones,' where even the people who read the books and really love the show don't always know what's going on. Knowing 100% what a warg is, it's not essential to the enjoyment of the show."

An interesting observation — but not one we're able to confirm, being diehard fans of both franchises already and not knowing what it's like to join mid-stream. 

But come to think of it, there are a lot of ways that the Marvel Cinematic Universe — meaning the television shows, movies, and anything else that exists within that same shared universe — resembles the George R.R. Martin-inspired drama that have nothing to do with how confusing they might be for new audiences. For example:


Both of their sorceresses like to wear a lot of red.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

Melisandra and Wanda not only have the same fashion sense, but also the same complicated relationship with their powers — they're both way more powerful than even they understand. I think they might use the same eyebrow stencil, too.


Viewers are over-invested in the fate of a man with pouty lips whom everybody briefly thought was dead.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

Well, viewers pretty much knew they'd be coming back, but their friends sure didn't. Also, they've both spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about winter.  


Both have a blond couple that probably shouldn’t be kissing each other.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

One because they’re related, and the other because they’re just boring. Nothing against Sharon Carter and Captain America — they were barely even given time to have any chemistry.


There's the one orphaned guy who's super quippy but also terribly sad.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios



Blind people make excellent fighters.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

But first you have to beat them up a lot. 


There's a surprising number of important redheads, all things considered.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

Aren't they only supposed to be, like, two percent of the population?


There's a confusingly charming rapist who acts like a spoiled evil child.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

He also happens to be played by an actor us nerds used to love in another British television series but are now feeling very weird about. 


There's a giant, sometimes.

photo: HBO/Marvel

There's always a giant.


There are also a billion side characters, whose names none of us remember.

photo: HBO/Marvel Studios

At least on "Game Of Thrones" half of them are dead and don't matter anymore. 


A certain percentage of the audience gets really mad when it's not exactly like the source material.

photo: Marvel Studios

If you were bummed the Purple Man wasn't purple, you're also the same type of person who's mad that Daario's beard isn't blue. 


At the end of the day, it’s mostly a lot of white dudes yelling and hitting each other.

photo: HBO

And as much as we all complain about it sometimes, a lot of us just can't quit watching.