Winters that last decades. Zombielike creatures called "white walkers." Supersized wolves. A cache of dragon eggs. Game of Thrones, based on the best-selling fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, is definitely not of this world. But it centers on one of the most familiar things on earth: mighty families vying for ultimate control.
Everyone keeps warning that "Winter is coming" in Game of Thrones, but I can't remember the last series that packed this much heat. After putting its distinctive stamp on genres as diverse as the mob drama (The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire), the Western (Deadwood), the urban crime saga (The Wire), the period-piece potboiler (Rome), the horror-show bodice-ripper (True Blood), HBO now turns its extravagant attention to adult epic fantasy. HBO has found its answer to Lord of the Rings in adapting George R.R. Martin's enthralling, sprawling, ruthlessly brutal and magnificently entertaining series of page-turners.
Let me relieve you by saying you don't have to read George R.R. Martin's massive A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels to appreciate HBO's adaptation, Game of Thrones.
Don't get me wrong: I devoured Martin's fantasy novels set in a medieval-inspired world of intrigue and recommend it to those who've got the time and aren't intimidated by, well, lots and lots of pages. I've also watched the first six episodes of Game of Thrones, and the good news is it's obviously a less daunting time-commitment and the show offers certain benefits the books do not.
Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler
Friday Night Lights (Friday, 8/7c, NBC)
It's never easy to say goodbye to a beloved series — but if you've ever spent time in Dillon, Texas, you'll want to check in for the final season of this marvelous series about big-hearted people in small-town America (previously shown on DirecTV but getting its broadcast premiere this week). Life goes on with poignant realism, which means...
George R. R. Martin, Damon Lindelof
George R.R. Martin may have dissed the ending of Lost, but he hasn't had time to respond to Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof who angrily declared a feud with the fantasy author last week.
"I'm vaguely aware of this, but I haven't really followed this," Martin tells TVGuide.com. "I've been out in Los Angeles in the past week when all this hit the Internet. I came out to watch a screening of the first two episodes. I don't take a computer with me when I travel, so whenever I'm on the road I'm usually kind of cut off what is happening on the Internet."
Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen
Weeks before Game of Thrones will premiere on HBO, fanboys of George R. R. Martin's enormously popular fantasy books are already worrying about how the show is going to end. The author recently told The New Yorker he doesn't want to "do a Lost" and mess up the ending.
Series executive producers D.B. Weiss attempted to further calm their nerves, telling TVGuide.com, "We've talked through what the final episode, the final season will be." Executive producer David Benioff adds: "We can't wait to write that episode. Of the many different fears we have about the show, long-term momentum is not one of them. We're very confident."
Game of Thrones
TV Guide Magazine visited Northern Ireland for a sneak peek at Game of Thrones, the new HBO drama (based on the best-selling novels of George R. R. Martin), premiering this April. "It's an epic fantasy in the tradition of Tolkien, but with more sex, violence and treachery," Martin says.
The Lord of the Rings fans will find a familiar face in Sean Bean, who plays Eddard "Ned" Stark, patriarch of one of the families ...