DVD Review: Game of Thrones (Season 1)

You know how you can tell that HBO cable is willing to take a much more massive risk in a recession than nearly any other network is Game of Thrones. Thrones is a massive fantasy series, based off the novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire” whose first novel is “A Game of Thrones,” and normally makes sense in a thriving economy. A fantasy series is fairly risky and expensive in trying to find an audience; for every dollar the Lord of the Rings trilogy made there is an equal amount lost on fantasy films and television series.

Fantasy is a risky proposition because its audience isn’t as large and diverse as it could be for other genres. Game of Thrones is a curious television series, then, if only because it tries to take the sort of HBO style dramatic series and put it into the fantasy genre.

The series focuses on four distinct houses. Stark is headed up by Eddard (Sean Bean), responsible for taking care of House Stark. We get to meet his family, as well as others, as we get to see how this entire world and what it means to hold power. What follows is an examination of the machinations power from the top to the bottom of it; we follows the twists and turns as various people try to take back or keep their royal power, lineage and throne.

The easy comparison would be calling this “The Sopranos in a fantasy genre” but a better, and more apt, comparison is that of The Wire. This is a show that looks up and down the chain of power, ala the Baltimore based crime drama, as opposed to the more centered show about the mobster from New Jersey. Game of Thrones from this perspective is fairly intriguing as a show; it’s one thing to look at power from a modern perspective but looking it from the fantasy genre gives it a unique look and feel.

The series’ only problem, if you can call it that, is that it isn’t as accessible for those who aren’t fans of the genre to start with. As someone who isn’t a fan of fantasy as a genre it was difficult to get into and finish. It’s well acted and well designed but if you’re not into fantasy as a whole this won’t be your cup of tea.

There are three separate features that shed light on characters throughout the series as well as discuss the realm in which Game of Thrones operates as well as a the unique language created specifically for the Dothraki people. Two features focus on the adaptation from book to screen and seven episodes have audio commentaries attached to them.

Game of Thrones is wonderful if you’re a fan of fantasy as a whole. If not then skip it.

HBO presents Game of Thrones . Starring Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Mark Addy, Michelle Fairley, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Art Parkinson, Lena Headey, Jack Gleeson. Based off the novel series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R Martin. Running time 600 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD: March 6, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.


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