15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Starts and ends well, but soggy in the middle.,
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This review is from: Game of Thrones - Season 1 [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Game of Thrones has been getting rave reviews so I thought I better give it a try. I can't say I am a huge fan of fantasy, though I love,LOTR. But then GoT doesn't involve much fantasy, (at least not in series one) which is mainly a fairly grittily portrayed dark ages/ medieval court drama albeit in an imaginary world.
But is it as good as claimed? Not for me. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
Well after a very strong opening episode it displays some serious flaws. There is a problem with tone, it seems to want to be taken seriously, but at its worst it's a sort of mixture of Monty Pythons Holy Grail (`tis but a scratch') and Carry On films (random boobery and sexposition).
More fundamentally , I think they have tried to squeeze too much in from the book - which I haven't read. There are just too many characters and plot-lines, making for confusing viewing at times and dragging down the pace of the story. Neither does it handle the multiple plot lines well, with some threads and characters disappearing into the background for too long. This is a particular issue mid-season, around episode 6 I gave up for a while as it wasn't holding my interest. Two of the more engaging characters (Catelyn Stark & Tyrion Lannister) go off on a somewhat pointless subplot leaving the focus on court intrigue.
Don't get me wrong Sean Bean and Lena Headey (who I could happily watch reading out the phone book) are very good but just don't have enough to do. To be honest I struggled to care less who sat on the Iron Throne of Westeros, perhaps because Westeros barely seemed to exist outside the castle walls. The world lacks the depth to make it credible and interesting.
More interesting for me were the more fantasy elements that simmer away on the edge of the story for much of the series. To the north the Nights Watch, the Wall and what lies beyond. To the East the Dothraki, their khaleesi and her dragon eggs. But these don't really have impact till the final 2 episodes.
It does though pick up significantly towards the end, with plot-lines finally delivering; a refreshing willingness to kill off major characters and all in all promising better things in series 2. In fact season 1 just feels like an opening act which I think could have been done in half a dozen episodes rather than 10.
It watchable enough with a strong (mostly British) cast and some excellent elements to it, despite the mid season dip. Three stars is perhaps a little harsh, but counter balances the rave reviews a little. It is good, but "one of the greatest TV series ever"? Not even close.