The Best TV #3 – Game of Thrones

The best show on the planet right now…..

Firstly a personal admission. I don’t like Lord Of the Rings. If you’re going to wrap up a Christ metaphor in a seemingly unrelated story then give me deeply irreverent like Robocop, not humble nerdy CGI fests from New Zealand. I’m all for the elfs, Mordor and especially wizards but does it really need to be so worthy and lesson-like. In short I like my fantasy unpreachy and my metaphor political or twisted.

I also like my heroes to be flawed and my villains to be vicious and well painted. I want my violence to be violent, I want my shocks to be shocking and I really want my writers to write. What I want in fantasy is shocking, violent and well written, what I want is Game of Thrones.

With season 4 around the corner I guess you’re either signed up or deliberately unaffiliated. Forget The Walking Dead and it’s long dull episodes of well…walking, switch off Breaking Bad just for long enough for me to complete this sentence, because Game of Thrones is the best TV series on the planet at this moment. Its very absence from our screens is a tragedy and let’s face it you’re dying to see how they follow the red wedding aren’t you?Millions of us have tuned in for the first three seasons of HBO’s finest product and DB Weiss and David Benioff have pulled off the trick of translating George R R Martin’s labyrinthine novels to the small screen within their limitations. They have toned down the supernatural and played fast and slow with the tempo and some subplots. Broadly, they have followed the overall story arc and for those of us who know what happens in the literary form next, season 4 will intrigue in terms of what will happen with house Lannister, the remaining Starks and the liberating Targaryen.

Most importantly, the series has known what a good piece of casting looks like. Mark Addy as an out of touch drunken oaf, Sean Bean as an honourable fool, Lena Headey as a mother frustrated by the sexism of all around her and the complete coups of spotting newbies like Rose Leslie, Jack Gleeson, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington etc etc. The only criticism can be the failure to have greater diversity across the cast – the show remains rather White.Game of Thrones has benefited from career best acting from Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger, Conleth Hill as Lord Varys and, my particular favourite, Jerome Flynn as the mercenary Bron. The characters that have really succeeded though have been the Lannisters. Jamie’s journey from king slayer to a better man is one highlight, as is Cersei’s villainy to prove herself over the men failing around her, but we’re all watching and wanting Tyrion to win out because Peter Dinklage has made his aphorisms and wisdom come to life.

Season 4 promises another wedding, bigger dragons and a new war beyond the wall. There will be further assassinations, romances killed by events and unexpected falls for characters who have been there since the beginning. Betrayals, plots and vicious fate…lusty lust and violent violence and more of returns from beyond the grave. I know what I mean but I envy those of you who may not know as you are in for such a time…and that’s the measure of great TV, that we’ll stop what we’re doing to watch it and we’ll miss it when we want more. Game of Thrones is great TV.

Those nice people at Sky have all three seasons available to stream on SkyGo. Season 4 begins on 7th April on Sky Atlantic

John White

Updated: Mar 26, 2014

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