Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Best Television of 2015: No.6 - HBO's GAME OF THRONES

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) deals with a revolt in the liberated city of Meereen, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) flees King's Landing to try and win the approval of the Khaleesi, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) plots to overthrow the Bolton's on his way down south to seize the Iron Throne, Jaime Lannister travels to Dorne to rescue his niece, Arya (Maisie Williams) is trained by the 'Faceless Men' to become an assassin, and Cersei (Lena Headey) makes a tactical error by empowering a devout religious man nicknamed 'The High Sparrow'...

What made it so good? Well, look: this was actually a relatively poor season of Game of Thrones compared to season 3 and 4, in particular. It took ages to get going, Jaime's side quest to Dorne where we met the 'Sand Snakes' was an unmitigated disaster, and I was roundly bored by Arya's (Maisie Williams) training to become an assassin. But, despite all those negatives, Game of Thrones continues to be the benchmark for fantasy filmmaking on television, and we have enough goodwill and interest in these characters and the ongoing story to pull us through its weak spots. You could tell they were adapting one of George R.R Martin's poorer novels, it's true, but that didn't stop season 5 from delivering several of the best moments this show has done. Speaking of which...

The best moment? Aha! That would be the magnificent White Walker attack and battle that took everyone by surprise in episode 8's "Hardhome" (as it's the penultimate instalments that traditionally contain the biggest surprises and the most expensive effects). It was a jaw-dropping onslaught of monsters and fights—besting anything The Hobbit trilogy delivered because we're more involved in the story and itching to see the White Walkers for more than a few minutes at a time. Or how about the moment when an imperilled Khaleesi appeared to summon Drogon to her rescue, during an arena attack? Close call.

Watch this if you like: Rome, Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, Vikings, medieval action, King Arthur, fantasy worlds, George R.R Martin's weighty tomes (of course).

I'm counting down my 10 Best Television Shows of 2015 this year, so check back tomorrow as we reach the halfway point, to see what's at number 5. The whole list can be read here.