By: Eric Thomas
There are only two more shows weeks left of Game of Thrones on HBO, which stinks because it’s the best show on TV. As much as I love Breaking Bad, as much as I ever loved The Wire, those shows never had a naked witch give birth to a demon. Walter White hasn’t ever dumped a cauldron of molten gold on anyone’s head. Omar didn’t have dragons.
Some people say that Mad Men is the best show on TV. I’m sorry, I’ve watched almost every season of that show (except the recent ones, they lost me after three) and the only interesting character was Betty Draper. Everyone else on that show lives in a tension between what the world thinks of them and what they think of themselves. That treadmill held me for two seasons, before it occurred to me that I was watching a fictional show that didn’t deserve credit for being uneventful. Somewhere around when Don went to the West coast is where they lost me forever, “Let’s go to the West coast and do exactly the same thing we’ve been doing on the East coast! Isn’t Don amazing?”
The Shield was awesome, Nip / Tuck was good for the first two seasons before it was unbearably awful; Lost was amazing, before it wasn’t, and then it was again. Game of Thrones trumps them all; a show so complex that each character gets a five minute vignette once a week (MAYBE) and that’s good enough for all of us. Five minutes of Arya, and that’s it for the next week or maybe two. Doesn’t matter, we still lap it up like Augustus Gloop with two cupped hands.
Polyphonic shows are hit or miss; there’s one character you care about and you spend an hour waiting for the scene roulette to hit on them. That’s how Lost was. You had to sit though some endless nonsense about Mr. Echo or the blond girl or the Iraqi assassin with the heart of gold, tapping your foot until you got three minutes of Jack and Locke arguing about the button before the screen goes black. Not Game of Thrones. You care about every scene. Not every character is your favorite, (darn you Joffrey!) but they’re all interesting. Tyrion is hilarious, Arya is plucky, Jon Snow is boring but he has to be building toward something, the Kingslayer is evil but fun, and Khaleesi is both hot and awesome.
Before anyone emails, I haven’t read the books. I’ve been meaning to. I bought them; they sit on the shelf in a line that I hope I get to before R.R. Martin finishes the series. I got on a post-modernist kick last year; I’m still trying to tackle Gravity’s Rainbow, and I’ve cheated on it with three books in the space of time it’s taken me to finish it. If you’ve never read Pynchon, it’s 700 pages of plot less meandering, written in such lush and well balanced sentences that you can’t stop reading it, even though it’s without story or coherence. I can assure you A Song of Ice and Fire; will get cracked this spring when the show is off the air.
So I suppose the books will have to do while I go without the show until next spring. That amounts to many long, empty Sundays especially before Breaking Bad does its curtain call in the late summer. If you haven’t jumped in to Game of Thrones yet because you’re daunted by the large cast of characters and complicated lines of conflict, it doesn’t matter! Game of Thrones isn’t just awesome, but it’s immensely popular! It’s very rare that a show can be both this awesome and acclaimed! If you don’t watch it, doesn’t matter. It isn’t like Arrested Development where I had to beg people with no taste to give it a chance. It’s already renewed for next season, they renew it after the first episode of every season and they aren’t run by a “lets five years off in between” show runner like David Chase.
So two more episodes. Watch this space. I’ll do some show recaps / reviews for the next two Mondays. I won’t do any right now, because I haven’t warned you and I know how it is with the DVR. I’ll do a season recap on Friday so that we can all be ready for the last two. Game of Thrones fans, UNITE.