Game of Thrones

Well, that was good wasn’t it? I’ve not read the books yet, although I get the feeling that by the time season 2 airs I will have done, so I can’t comment on how true the TV show stayed to the text. Given the size of the novel, and that the entire first season was a mere 10 hours, I get the feeling that they streamlined the plot somewhat.

I’ve always been something of a snob when it comes to the cultural output of the United States; especially so when it comes to television and film. With a few notable exceptions, Seinfeld for example, most of the TV to come out of the US seemed crude at best. In comparison to the fare produced in this country, by both the BBC and others, the US seemed like a boorish yokel laughing at pigs rutting in the filth. Over the last decade or so though this has changed dramatically and, it seems, that companies like HBO are at the forefront of a wave of creative, and often daring, entertainment production. Shows like True Blood, Boardwalk Empire(whose pilot was directed by Scorsese and was the most expensive pilot ever produced), Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and so on seem to have taken over from the medium of the movie to tell interesting and complex stories.

In the UK however production of interesting drama, and especially science fiction, has declined rapidly. Where once the UK produced Cold Lazarus and The Last Train now we have the awfully acted and childishly scripted Torchwood and the almost irredeemable Primeval.

Don’t get me wrong, there has been the occasional gem produced over here, series one of C4s Misfits for example and the BBCs Outcasts was promising towards the end, but overall it has been abysmal. Even the new Moffat era Doctor Who is campy and seems unable to completely eschew the old fashioned self contained episode format in favour of a grand story arc. The target audience for the show also limits it’s ability to deal in depth with many themes, perhaps why I felt so let down with Torchwood. Torchwood, a show that seemed to think ‘adult’ means being a bit naughty. If that’s the case then the entire output of Kenneth Williams was tantamount to Citizen fucking Kane.

We’ve gone from this

To this

In seemingly no time at all. From intelligently crafted drama to shows with a premise so absurd that even a die hard sci-fi geek like myself physically cringes.

Ach well. Hopefully this is only a temporary arrangement and British science fiction TV will improve substantially in the near future. With the panning that Outcasts got I don’t really see the BBC spending much money on anything decent in the near future. Channel 4 seems like it’s trying to hard to be hip to put money into anything particularly intelligent and would rather churn out more racist exploitation Big Fat Gypsy Weddings or season bazillion of Shameless.


Posted on June 21, 2011, in TV Geekery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It’s hard to see British TV coming up with any drama of the size and scale of Game of Thrones. Doctor Who is as big as it gets, and even that has a budget a fraction of HBO’s epics.

    I haven’t read the books yet – but will be heading over to Amazon to rectify that! – but the impression I have had from other people who have both read the books and seen the series is that the essence of the stories is all faithfully reproduced, but with the heavy dialogue pared back to fit it into 10 hours, which is fair enough. Although it meant you had to pay close attention to everything, it didn’t feel too rushed to me.

    Anyway, season two can’t come soon enough!

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