Edgy, violent, moving, agreeably complex, darkly funny, fast-paced, nudity-embracing and possessed of an army of compelling characters, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is an A+ entertainment and the season’s best new series. I wager it may even end “Mad Men’s” long reign as Emmy’s best drama.
Let me go a step further. So far I’m enjoying it more than Peter Jackson’s excellent “Lord of the Ring” movies.
Adapted from the “A Song of Fire And Ice” novels by George R.R. Martin by “25th Hour” novelist David Benioff (who screenwriting efforts include “Troy,” “Stay,” “The Kite Runner and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) and “Lucky Wander Boy” novelist D.B. Weiss (who has written unproduced screenplays for “Halo,” “Ender’s Game,” a “They Live” remake and an “I Am Legend” prequel).
Those writing the latter half of the first 10-episode season include Martin himself (no stranger to TV; his background includes the 1986 revival of “The Twilight Zone” and a long stint scripting CBS’ “Beauty and the Beast”) and Jane Espenson (whose eclectic resume includes “Deep Space Nine,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Battlestar Galactica” and four TV series created by “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” mastermind Joss Whedon).
Though it was widely reported that filmmaker Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent,” “Win Win”) was hired to direct the pilot, McCarthy (himself part of the HBO family via his acting role on “The Wire”) is credited only as a producer. HBO mainstay Tim Van Patten (“The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood,” “Rome,” “The Pacific,” “Boardwalk Empire”) is now credited with directing the pilot.
While the books are widely compared to “Lord of the Rings,” HBO’s “Thrones” reminds me more of “Dune,” with its feuding “houses” and sweeping political bent augmenting the strange vistas. Like the “Rings” movies, the series boasts eye-widening visual design and effects, starting with the beautiful animated map of Westeros that forms the series’ opening titles.
It may remind viewers also of HBO’s “The Wire” with a staggering (and swelling) number of characters that will challenge those viewers to pay attention to dialogue that connects everything. And it reminds a bit of “Mad Men,” with its repeated reminders that things were done differently Back Then.
The pilot launches all manner of intriguing plots