Last week, HBO unleashed a new show on the cable-viewing public called Game of Thrones. Based on a series of wildly-popular fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, the show has been dubbed by many of the critics as a Must Watch if you are into the men-killing-other-men-while-pimped-out-in-fur-coat-style-period-garb-and-bare-breasts-exposing fare that cable has come to be known for these days. Hello, Tudors-fans. Nice to see you.
I have never been much of a fantasy fan, generally, but when I mated with a geek and we made a boy-child, I felt it was my motherly duty to embrace the genre. I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy dutifully; re-watched all of the Star Wars films of my youth and their urine-soaked prequels. I bought in as best I could. But this Game of Thrones business is some weak kung-fu. Even my husband, who likes all of this crap, proclaimed it bad from the start. And this is the same dude who spent every Wednesday for four years telling me that "This is the absolutely last time I ever watch Lost, again", only to return to the exact same spot on the couch the following week. In short, he invests. But this stuff, he has walked away from after the first episode. If he is a canary in the coal mine then this does not bode well for the Game of Thrones people, I'd say.
Now, I know it takes a while for a series to find it's legs. The first couple of episodes of Lost and The Sopranos were watchable for me only because they managed to mine an atmosphere of claustrophobia and couple it with shadowy mystery and the occasional terrifying example of raw aggression. But GofT's is faltering because there is no nuance. Zero. It just keeps hitting the same tone of impending doom over and over again. And hits it, it does. Like a fat kid on a Smartie. Over and over and over again. Isn't this a show that is supposed to be based on an elaborate fantasy world? Yes, there are magical wolf-dogs and women who wear their hair in a long, overly-brushed style but between the incest, rapes and beheadings, it's difficult not to watch this pretend world without questioning humanity. Did you have to keep the worst aspects of the real world, George R.R.. Martin? (And, by the way, is it necessary to have two initials if you're a writer of epic fantasy tales? And can I see other hands up besides Mr. Tolkien and Mr. Martin to this question?) Heck, even fantasy-world crime solving is based on finding hairs. Can we have some magic here, please?
Actually, don't bother 'cause I'm out. I'd be better off watching Dragon's Den. At least there is some fantasy involved. And Dragons, apparently.