Game of Thrones Season Two Episode Four – Garden of Bones
For my money, this season of Game of Thrones has continued the high standard set by the first season and continues to be my favourite show on the air. This season has done an excellent job at ratcheting up the stakes of the first season with the four kings vying for power. The show has done an excellent job at characterizing the new powerbrokers such as Renly and Stannis Baratheon, who had marginals role in Season One. Stannis, an underdog, has taken the guidance of mysterious red priestess and uses religious and spiritual means to attain power. Stannis has the numbers but carries a secret shame – he is unable to sire an heir to the throne for he is a closet homosexual. Robb Stark continues his quest to avenge his family name but is starting to realise that war mongering carries with it decisions about torture and the slaughter of innocents which he cannot quite reconcile within himself. And of course Joffrey continues to be an ‘A’ grade cockmaster of the highest order, surely one of television’s greatest villains. He continues to torment poor Sanza and audiences must be salivating for his eventual come-uppance (please let there be one).
The show continues to impress me for the way in which, despite the overall harshness of the world and its litany of cruel men, there are so many underdogs to root for. The dwarf, the tomboy princess, the prostitute with the heart of gold. All of these characters have moments to shine, clear opportunities to shape the outcome of the story and are some of the best reasons to watch Game of Thrones.
Admittedly the ending to episode four came from left field and for me, was possibly one extra step towards the supernatural that I wasn’t really looking for in the show but nonetheless, I have faith that the producers of the show know what they’re doing. They haven’t let me down yet.
On a final note, it was odd to see a new actor used for the part of The Mountain. In the first series, he was played by some guy who was an absolute giant. Apparently that actor is now working on the set of the Hobbit and he’s been replaced by some other dude who is super tall but ridiculously skinny. I think they could’ve given him a muscle suit or just hired a muscly guy and put him on a stepladder. Instead, we get this guy who looks like he is wearing his dad’s suit of armour.
Veep – Pilot
Armando Ianucci’s new HBO show Veep is basically an American adaptation of his British political satire tv show The Thick Of It and the film In The Loop. In fact, some of the casting and gags from the pilot are more or less lifted from In The Loop. The pilot isn’t quite the home run I wanted it to be. Some of the gags fall flat and you get that typical thing with a pilot where you can tell the writers are still finding the character’s voice. I think this has the potential to be a really good show though. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a great choice for the lead role and there is a pretty solid supporting cast including Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale. The pilot is at its best during the scene with the incorrectly signed condolense card. Hopefully the show will live up to its promise.
Girls – Pilot
Anyone who’s read my reviews over the years knows that while I don’t mind the odd Judd Apatow film, my favourite work by that guy by a country mile is his tv show Freaks and Geeks. Mostly because the constraints of network television meant he had to bring his A-game with his comedic writing talents to produce something that could be aired on free to air television and he couldn’t just rely on dick and weed jokes which his more recent film productions sometimes devolve into. With Girls, he returns to tv show production but this time its on HBO so he doesn’t quite have the same constraints on content. It’s a show about a bunch of Gen Y girls in New York who are a product of the economic crash of 2008. These girls are in their early to mid twenties, mostly jobless or working dead end temp jobs and either live at home with mum & dad or in share houses. It’s sort of the antithesis of Friends in the Nineties where the cast were mostly portrayed as a bunch of halfwits but they all had impossibly spacious apartments and lived pretty cushy lives, hanging out at Central Perk.
As with Veep, its a bit hard to gauge the shows quality. It’s quirky, sparingly funny and…that’s about it for now. I’ll keep watching a couple more episodes to see how it goes. If nothing else, the show sparked a pretty good discusison on Something Awful about race representation in American television. Girls is a semi-autobiographical show by Lena Dunham about growing up in Brooklyn. Weird thing is that the cast is exclusively white. 0_o
Survivor: One World – Episode 10 – I’m No Dummy
Okay, I think we’ve definitely reached a stage where we’ve established that all the guys are complete morons and Kim & Chelsea deserve to win the competition. And judging by Christina, Alicia, Tarzan and Sabrina’s baffling inability to broker an alliance to compete with the alpha females, it looks like they should win comfortably. I expect all the boys to go first and then a bit of a powerplay to lock in the final three positions. Even if Troyzan makes it there, his destructive behaviour will ensure no one votes for him. It’s like he forgot Survivor has peer selected winners, not an audience vote. Why is actively getting in everyone’s faces?