HBO's Game of Thrones is an achievement in epic television, challenging Hollywood on all fronts. There is nothing about it that wouldn't translate to the big screen, except of course for the sheer length, depth, and breadth of the story that unfolds. The show's massively detailed world, replete with snappy repartee, makes it one of the most decadent treats on the primetime menu. In honor of the season three premiere this Sunday, March 31, here are the top five reasons Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on television.
Tyrion Lannister, as played by Peter Dinklage, has already secured a place in the pantheon of all-time great TV roles. He's so good, that when asking a fan of the show who their favorite character is, it's necessary to add the qualifier: "besides Tyrion." The Imp is impossible to hate, even as he dishes out the harshest non-dragonfire burns in all of Westeros. But his wrath and his wit are matched only by his vulnerability, which is what really allows him to be unquestionably the most popular character on a show with a dozen stellar candidates. Dinklage has already won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the Halfman, and is likely to remain in the running for as long as Game of Thrones is on the air.
2. Production values:
The production values on Game of Thrones are a huge part of what makes the show such a luxurious dessert of a Sunday night affair. With shots of the astounding natural landscapes of Iceland and spectacular CGI castles superimposed on the rocky shores of the British Isles, HBO has set a new standard of excellence in television scenery. Plus, the Blackwater Battle scene in season two was as good as any summer blockbuster in terms of pure "blow-em-up real good" firepower. Unlike a Michael Bay film however, Game of Thrones has a compelling story courtesy of George R.R. Martin, so you don't have to choose between explosions and intrigue.
But like I'm sure Michael Bay wishes he could do, Game of Thrones goes all out when it comes to hot girls and their boobs. Call it crass, call it lowest common denominator, but don't tell me there aren't plenty of buff shirtless dudes to balance it out. HBO gives the people what they want, and I'm all for it. Besides, the source material is just as smutty, and at least on TV we don't get a first person account of the female orgasm as imagined by a 60-year-old man. I've read the books, and it's ... uncomfortable, to say the least.
4. "Oh snap!" moments:
Tyrion is renowned for his ability to dress down peasants as well as kings, but he's not the only one with a sharp tongue. Game of Thrones is a deep repository of devastating rapier wit, especially of the subtextual variety. Just about everything that Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) says is a thinly veiled barb or threatening word to the wise. Unraveling his little riddles is a hugely enjoyable aspect of the show, and leads to some great, "oh snap!" moments. Even the kids get in on this double entendre-laden action. My favorite moment from the series so far is when Arya Stark tells her unknowing nemesis that "Anyone can be killed."
Imagine a show so awesomely complex that it should come with a map, and then imagine it actually came with an interactive map containing relevant plot summaries and historical background. Game of Thrones is that show, and this is that map. Enough said.