This weekend, HBO offers up a comedy special (Talking Funny), a new movie about an historic TV phenom (Cinema Verite) and the return of a distinguished drama series (Treme). All are worth a look. It's actually an HBO grand slam if you count Game of Thrones, the triumphant adult fantasy series that was renewed for a second season shortly after the first episode aired. (HBO has a tradition of doing this, but rarely in recent years has the network's enthusiasm been so well deserved.)
In Thrones' eventful second chapter (Sunday, 9/8c), you begin to sense the series' range, as many characters begin disparate journeys through the sprawling land of Westeros: dutiful Ned Stark heads out with...
Dancing With The Stars, Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Our top moments of the week:
12. Best Freudian Slip: On The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business, Flight Time has a Freudian slip — literally — as he falls flat on his butt while transporting Sigmund Freud's couch to the University of Vienna. But we think the meaning was lost on him altogether since he...
In Game of Thrones' debut, viewers met King Robert Barantheon, a laid-back monarch who seems more interested in wenching and quenching various appetites than in ruling the Seven Kingdoms. On Sunday, the show will give insights into the fat man who sits on the Iron Throne and the cause of much bloodshed to come.
"The thing about Robert is that he's not really a kingly king," Mark Addy, who plays Robert, tells TVGuide.com "He's really a guy, a warrior, a soldier who happens to find himself in a position of power. He'd much rather be with the lads. That's his roots, his heritage."
Game Of Thrones
After just one episode, HBO has announced plans to pick up a second season of Game of Thrones after its initial, 10-episode run is complete. Whether two seasons can even scratch the surface of George R. R. Martin's beyond-epic A Song of Ice and Fire book series remains to be seen, but it should be fun (and complex!) watching them try...
The first episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday had several chilling scenes that featured creepy, white-pupiled baby creatures and multiple beheadings. In the end, however, I was most disturbed by what befell Bran.
Spoiler alert: Consider this your notice to click the back button if you haven't watched the pilot, titled "Winter Is Coming," yet.
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
TVGuide.com's Hanh Nguyen is an avid scripted-TV watcher, a horror-avoider and someone who's read George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, on which HBO's Game of Thrones is based. Her co-worker, Rich Juzwiak, rarely watches scripted TV, is a gorehound and became alerted to Martin's existence just this past week, as he started researching this new swords-and-sandals (well, boots) series. He knows nothing of these sorcerers (if that is indeed what they are), while Hanh is something of an expert (read: fantasy/sci fi nerd). Each week, he'll try to make sense of this crazy new show by enlisting Hanh's expertise. It may turn out to be a test of tolerance: in this case, the Games begin after the TV is off...
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...