A very young Joffrey Baratheon in Batman Begins.
A very young Joffrey Baratheon in Batman Begins.
Cover of Maroon 5’s “Payphone” with lyrics about watching “Game of Thrones.”
Every now and then, there’s a legitimately funny Youtube comment.
Starting a blogging project that I’ve wanted to do for some time: ranking and reviewing my top ten television shows. I couldn’t narrow it all the way down to ten without doing an injustice to a few shows, so I’ve also included three “Honorable Mentions.”
Here are a hand full of well received shows I simply haven’t seen, so they won’t appear on my list: The Office, Battlestar Galactica, Justified, 24, The Good Wife, Parks and Recreation, The West Wing.
And here we go.
Honorable Mentions:These rank among my favorite shows, but for various reasons, were left out of the top ten.
Game of Thrones, HBO
Game of Thrones could very well jump to the top five of my list over time, but being so young (only one full season), it couldn’t make the real list. The first season though, was nearly flawless. Impeccably casted and well acted, this fantasy epic has enormous potential and seemingly endless material being based on George R.R. Martin’s thousand plus page novels.
Community doesn’t have a laugh track, and for good reason. The show is far too fast, witty, and smart to need to tell viewers when to laugh. Viewers are treated to an ensemble cast of misfits who hilariously act out a constant stream of pop culture references that not everyone will understand. What I like most about this comedy is that even those addicted to pop culture will miss some of the jokes in the script, but the writers simply don’t care. Ratings be damned, this show will do as it pleases.
30 Rock, NBC
Jack Donaghy alone was enough to bring 30 Rock to a level of greatness, but subordinate Liz Lemon is excellent as well. Alec Bladwin’s representation of Donaghy: a, right wing, Reagan loving, Obama bashing, alpha male is tremendous. 30 Rock has displayed a strong ensemble cast over six seasons great seasons of television.
Coming up at #10, a series that evolved from the 90s into the 00s, following a strong female lead who deals with life in high school and college, all while frequently saving the world from being sucked into various hell dimension scenarios.
This post contains spoilers and will only make sense to those who have seen the first season in its entirety.
As I finished the tenth and final episode of Game of Thrones Season One for the second time, I’ve concluded yet again that it is one of the finest single seasons of television that I’ve ever seen.
Having read the first book, I can attest to that the show’s accuracy and attention to detail are right on par with George R. R. Martin’s writing in A Song of Fire and Ice, save maybe a handful of small details. Often in the transition from novel to the screen, the details are dropped, and the significance of events suffers. Martin’s 800+ page novel allows him to give context to every character’s decision making and their internalized thoughts. The show must ask the actors to convey those internalized thoughts with a facial expression. As a young Rob Stark calls the banners of the north to fight for him and rescue his father Ned, the pre-battle scenes with Rob and his mother Catelyn convey so much emotion while saying so little. With Ned’s absence, Rob has become the Lord of Winterfell and must deal with his newfound role as battle commander. His mother must balance her role as a mother with the understanding that Rob must be strong and not undermine his role as a leader. Her role is a stark (no pun intended) contrast to Cersei Lannister, and her relationship with her son, Joffrey.
Cersei knows that Joffery is too young, and too much of a brat to be an effective ruler. I asked a couple friends a question: “If you are able to kill off one child in a television series, would it be Carl from The Walking Dead, or Joffery from Game of Thrones? As much as I would like to see Joffery die, he’s too well casted and too essential to the storyline of the series. Cersei and Jamie Lannister’s incestual child is every parent’s nightmare. Entitled, immature, and blood thirsty Joffrey’s first acts as king has defined his reign so far. One can only guess how long this might last before the kingdom turns on him.
There is no easy segue into the storylines of the Targaryens, Dothraki, or those who have sworn themselves, to The Wall. That is a testament to how well the story is able to make you feel like all of the storylines are already integrated. At no point during the first season does Daenerys Targaryen, or Khal Drogo share screen time with the Starks or Lannisters, yet every character’s actions in one story affect the realities of the characters in another. One of the character relationships that I missed the first time around was how intertwined the characters at The Wall are with the rest of the world. Ser Jorah Mormont, the guy who’s always with Daenerys Targaryen, was exiled and labeled as a traitor, but I’m still not sure why. His father is Lord Mormont of The Wall. Jorah was supposed to be the recipient of the Mormont sword, but “brought disgrace” to the family, so Jon Snow, Ned Stark’s bastard son ended up with it instead. Stark would later desert the wall to attempt to join his brother Rob, who is going to war against Joffrey. This after speaking with Maester Aemon (the blind man at The Wall), reveals that he is in fact, a Targaryen, and refused to intervene when Robert Baratheon was revolting against the Mad King Aerys Targaryen so that he wouldn’t desert his brothers at The Wall. Still following?
“When you play the game of thrones, you either win, or you die.” – Cersei Lannister
A lot of people were confused, and even upset at Ned Stark’s death at the end of season one. It was clear though, that Cersei warned him with her words. Ned Stark is an honorable man – that’s why Robert Baratheon made him Hand to the King. In this story, honor doesn’t get you anywhere. Why did Ned Stark die? It’s simple. He didn’t play the game. Clearly this sets the tone of the series and the understanding that no character is safe, not even the first person who appears in the title credits.
Endlessly complex, impeccably casted, and beautifully acted, Game of Thrones Season One is as close to flawless television as you will watch. Bring on Season Two.
Just finished my re-watch of Season One. I realized that I had watch the episodes as they aired and read the book, but it wasn’t until I re-watched season one that I really understood the relationship between all of the story lines.
So incredibly pumped for Season Two tomorrow.
Bring your Dire Wolf to work day?