Game of Thrones: Season 1
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Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; and all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords, and honest men, all will play the Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones, the first book in author George R.R. Martin's sprawling fantasy saga A Song of Fire and Ice, serves as the basis for this brawny, lusty series about courtly intrigue and civil war in a sprawling fantasy kingdom. TV and fantasy veteran Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings, Sharpe's Rifles) leads the massive cast as the warrior-noble Eddard Stark, who reluctantly assumes the role as the Hand of the King after the mysterious death of his predecessor. The King, Robert Baratheon, has leadership of the lands of Westeros, a mythical country plagued by severe, decade-long shifts in weather. His rule is challenged by the exiled Prince Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), who trades his own sister (Emilia Clarke) for the allegiance of the Dothraki, a savage nomadic tribe led by Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa of the 2011 Conan the Barbarian). A shocking secret kept hidden by Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey, 300) leads to an upset in the balance of power and, ultimately, a challenge to the House of Stark to bring control to the bloodshed that threatens to overtake Westeros.
Fantasy has been a tricky genre for television--the scope required to bring the sweep and imagination to life is usually better suited for the big screen. But Game of Thrones neatly sidesteps the issue by virtue of the quality of the production at every level. Though the series is steeped in fantastic elements, from direwolves to dragons, series creators David Benioff (who wrote Troy and The Kite Runner, among others) and author D.B. Weiss (Lucky Wander Boy) have rooted the drama in the emotional landscape of its characters, which brings the end result closer to Benioff's humorous description of the show as "The Sopranos in Middle-Earth." Intricate plotting and direction with an eye for realism by a host of HBO veterans, including Tim Van Patten, Alan Taylor, and Daniel Minahan, underscores that notion, as does its stellar cast, which includes Mark Addy as Headey's husband, King Robert, Iain Glen as the faithful knight Ser Jorah Mormont, and Aiden Gillen (The Wire) as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. However, the proceedings are handily won by Peter Dinklage's Emmy-nominated turn as the cunning Tyrion, whose intellect is constantly disregarded due to his size. Of course, viewers can also tune in to simply enjoy the more visceral elements of Game of Thrones, which features quite a bit of medieval-style carnage, as well as an at-times unnecessary level of nudity, which feels like a network decision based on the amount of flesh on display in their other successful shows. Regardless, Game of Thrones is an entirely addictive experience for both fantasy and drama fans alike throughout its debut 10 episodes, all of which are featured on this multi-disc set. --Paul Gaita
15 Character profile clips
Creating the Dothraki language
Inside the Night's Watch
From Book to Screen
Creating the Show Open
7 Audio Commentaries Guide to Westeros
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At my husband's insistence, we tried watching it again a year later. If you get past the first show, it really isn't bad. The story is so compelling, it really is addictive to watch and I am enjoying the show.
I have to say I was impressed with the story line and level of detail from the first minute. It's not very often that the title sequence IS IMPORTANT. I watched it a few times to make sure that I had my "geography" down. I am VERY picky with any type of "story that takes place in an ancient land with knights, armor and horses" but I didn't find myself rolling my eyes at all. The actors have bad teeth and look "grubby enough" for this type of land.
To give an example of other shows I enjoy: Dexter, American Horror Story: Asylum. The Sopranos, Mad Men. I enjoy good writing and a certain level of violence. Give this series a shot, but don't watch it if you can't PAY ATTENTION. It's not for glancing up at while you're folding the laundry.
For the uninitiated (i.e. folks like me who didn't get into the books before watching and probably won't ever): This is a sweeping fantasy epic that centers around competition between noble houses for The Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. See cover. Cool throne. Much cold. Lotta stabbiness. If you like intrigue in your fantasy with lots of politics and plots a la Shakespeare you might find this enjoyable. That said, it can get really complicated: There are A LOT of 'main' characters (kudos to Amazon for those pictures and short bios). I flipped through one of the books and it's really dense, but rich with backstory.
This review will only be for my opinion of the season overall, and the packaging, extras, and video/audio quality.
Let me start by saying that Game of Thones is one of my favorite shows of all-time. The story is brutal and tragic, yet engrossing and compelling. The characters are wonderfully written, and everything from character motivations to the dialogue and action sequences are superb. The show also has top notch production values, as the environment, props, and wardrobes look magnificent. GOT is a beauty.
The packaging is awesome, as it has been on all of the season blu rays. The discs are in flip book, which go into a sleeve, which has a paper sleeve over top of it all. This season has black and brown artwork, which looks lovely. Very happy with the packaging. The insert also has a complete character guide, breaking down the different families/houses, and a full map of Westeros. Very cool!
All 10 episodes this season are included on 5 blu rays. Extras include a complete guide to Westeros, making of featurette, in episode guides, histories and lore, audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and a plethora of behind the scenes featurettes.
The episodes look amazing on blu ray. The 1080p really shines on this series, and everything look breathtakingly beautiful. The characters, scenery, wardrobes, etc all look excellent. The 5.1 audio is great too. The score is brilliant and the metal swords and armor clanging sound great. Sound and Video are easy 10/10.
Overall this is an excellent 1st season in this great series. I enjoyed every episode, and always recommend this show to anyone I talk to about movies/tv. What else can I say? Game of Thrones gets my highest recommendation, and the blu ray sets are glorious. This is the best show on television, in my humble opinion.
*** If you like this review, please mark this review as helpful! Also, feel free to ask me questions about the season 1 blu ray set! ***