Game of Thrones shares something with Lost in that every episode is required viewing for a follower of the show, not necessarily because of plot developments, but because of character. To be sure, each episode of Game of Thrones features plot developments, as was the case with most Lost episodes, but the heart of the series in both cases is the various ways those developments affect the characters. Plot is meaningless without character in any case, but especially on series like these with ensembles this extensive. My point here is that with shows like these, there are no throwaway episodes; every installment is compulsory viewing if one is going to follow and experience the show in the most optimal way possible. Continue reading
Game of Thrones has been so good for so long now that I routinely forget how poorly made this series could have easily been or could be in the hands of lesser showrunners or in the face of greater network opposition to structuring the narrative of the series as closely to the style of the books as they do. The fearlessness with which Benioff, Weiss, and the other writers continually expand the universe on screen is really astounding. The narrative of the series moves constantly and consistently; they may stay in one place for a time, so to speak, as in “Blackwater” or “The Watchers On The Wall,” but it’s only because that’s where they need to stay at that point in time to move the narrative forward. The narrative always moves forward unceasingly, leaving the viewer no time to mourn the deceased but somehow just enough time to reflect on what’s happened. Continue reading
Great athletes on the level of a Michael Jordan in his prime sometimes reach a point in their careers where they begin to dictate the terms of the competition; they’ve ascended to such a level of unprecedented greatness that the execution of their endeavor consists of them continually raising the bar they have set for themselves and their competition. I believe that from a narrative standpoint, Game of Thrones may have reached that level of greatness and proves it by continually raising the bar for what a series can do on television. It really cannot be overstated how spectacular an achievement it is to adapt and sharpen such a sprawling, complex narrative and juggle that many characters for a televisual format and manage to not be tedious, confusing, or even remotely boring. Continue reading
If the two-part finale is a sandwich, I feel like all the meat was in the first installment and in the second we were left with some bread and a little bit of cheese. While “Dark Water” was interesting, funny, and a bit moody, “Death In Heaven” was basically just wrapping things up with some action interspersed throughout. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it just didn’t live up to the promise of the first part of the finale. Continue reading
Let me start out by saying that I think the idea behind this story is really interesting-I just wish we got there in a more interesting way. I’m not sure why they chose to kill Danny in such a dramatically un-impactful way. It was one of those deaths you can see coming from a mile away yet doesn’t make any logical sense within the narrative. I simply don’t understand why he chose to stop in the middle of the road. I don’t understand what Clara was doing on her end either, but I’m going to hold off on that point in the hopes that it’s addressed in the concluding episode. If I give the show the benefit of the doubt, I’m assuming that there’s a reason that Clara was acting all panicky over the phone with the post-it notes at that exact moment that for some reason causes Danny to stop in the middle of a crosswalk. Continue reading
Let’s start out by acknowledging that good child actors are hard to find and good performances from children are hard to get. This is not as an excuse for anyone but simply an acknowledgement that for every Haley Joel Osment or Maisie Williams there’s a thousand of everybody else. Having said this, I don’t think the problems with this episode really had anything to do with child acting, nor do I think this episode had any really massive problems anyway. I just think there were a lot of little problems that all added up to an unspectacular episode. Continue reading
In a previous post I discussed a method of casting I believe to have been employed on Season 3 of HBO’s Girls whereby there was a conscious effort to cast actors of color in peripheral roles in the wake of backlash against the show for its lack of minority representation. It appears to me that Doctor Who, a series which faced a similar backlash for its representation of people of color, is employing the same method. Continue reading
For me, this was the weakest installment of the season thus far. The concept was clever enough (you had me at “train in space”) but I’m not sure about the execution.
I learned at least three things from this episode. The first thing I learned is that British people apparently call training wheels “stabilizers.” The second is that in the near future these same “stabilizer” using Brits take over NASA from the Americans. Finally, the third is that in a spot where I believe the last two Doctors would have expressed moral outrage and harangued their silly humans, this Doctor chose to aloofly extricate himself from the situation, leaving said humans to their own devices. Continue reading
Even including the disappointing series finale, I believe Lost is the finest drama in network television history. No series before or since has exhibited such bravery, inventiveness, or attention to character. Lost was and remains a true outlier in the wilderness of network programming. It stretched the limits of the televisual medium in ways no other series, including those on cable, ever had before. It stands with The Wire as one of the only shows to remain truly unique. There’s a direct link from The Sopranos to Mad Men and Breaking Bad; there’s nothing that comes close to resembling the approach and sociological exactness of The Wire. Similarly, there is nothing approaching the narrative method and attention to character in the fashion of Lost.