A Game of Thrones (Sundays, 9/8 Central)
Apr 15, 2011
Based on the Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R. R. Martin, this TV adaptation seems, on first viewing of the pilot, part lush period piece, part fantasy epic, with a healthy dose of grimness thrown in there. Different families of high blood contend for the throne, or at least contend with those who want it. More than any other recent made-for-HBO series, this is reminiscent of Deadwood—the oily machinations of the Lannister siblings being comparable to the wonderfully complex Al Swearengen, for example. And it has violence worthy of that violent enterprise as well. We can only hope it lasts far longer.
As an über-fan of the books, this scratched most of my itches just perfectly. The casting is brilliant, with Tyrion Lannister and Ned and Arya Stark being particularly finely cast. The dialog is sharp and clever and usually rings true, and the plotting and pacing are generally spot-on, smartly following the source material. Where the show falls down is that the very first scene of the whole series—one that seeks to inspire terror—is really kind of dull and ineffective. Everything that follows is grand, but putting the best foot forward would have been welcome. Time to renew that HBO sub. (www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 9/10