We were overwhelmed by a number of fantastic television series’ last year. From cinematic values to production budgets and big screen actors taking on roles in T.V. drama; there were a selection of stand-out programmes that continue to entertain and impress audiences. My show of the year premiered with its fourth season in 2014, and it was by far it’s best. With a legion of fans and a plethora of critical acclaim, it wasn’t difficult in deciding what would take the title. It is, of course, HBO’s Game of Thrones.
With only ten episodes (and each outstandingly good) Game of Thrones sealed its title as show of the year. Upping the anti GOT reminded critics and audiences each week why this series remains firmly at the top. With a strong cast (the majority of whom were relatively unknown before season one) and a unique fantasy element that never treads into corny territory, series four gave audiences riveting entertainment on the small screen. And, it’s just damn cool.
Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance and co (the ensemble cast provide talent from all ends of the world) all returned to make the fourth season a masterclass in television greatness. With a narrative that follows George R. R. Martin’s beloved novels, we were able to indulge in episodes containing mythical creatures, sexy warriors and some head-twisting enigma that had us all ask ‘Seriously, whaaaat?’. Whether you sit down to follow Daenerys in her battle to free all slaves or you enjoy the British banter that Tyrion and Bronn (played by the wonderful Jerome Flynn) bring to it, or perhaps are secretly rooting for Jaime (don’t worry, we all understand) GOT seems to spark with a unique personality that has an element of entertainment for everyone. Oh, and its never afraid to offend – and that’s always something to be celebrated in television
Its controversial, it follows an almost uncountable amount of main characters and has been graced by some of the best British acting talent in its run so far. With a stand-out episode last year, simply titled The watchers on the wall, fans can relish in the fact that with Martin still writing source material, Game of Thrones will be around for some time to come. Below are three reasons why this fantasy drama pipped the post and received the title of television series of the year:
1) Peter Dinklage as Tyrion: From series one Tyrion has been a character on everyone’s minds – he’s the underdog that has viewers talking, and in the latter half of season four Dinklage firmly took centre stage in making Mr Lannister the main agenda. With Tyrion‘s season four story ending in brutal death and a swift escape, fans can’t wait to see what series five will bring. Dinklage brings witty humour (much appreciated in a programme dominated by death and heads lopping off) and a general humanity to Tyrion that appears to be missing in the rest of his family members (the main culprit being Cersei).
2) The show’s cinematography courtesy of Jonathan Freeman, David Franco, Anette Haellmigk, Rob McLachlan and Fabian Wagner. Five director’s of photography should ultimately lead to fantastic scenery and damn good looking locations – thankfully, it did. From season one, the cast have been supported by locales to work with that set the tone of this fantasy drama perfectly. Beyond the picturesque imagery GOT features it also gives viewers contrasting settings, from King’s Landing to Winterfell – from the low-key lighting and gritty atmosphere the latter brings to the exotic aura of Westeros’ capital. Each episode lends to a specific vibe, and the photography is central to that.
3) D.B Weiss and David Benioff’s writing abilities lend to quote worthy dialogue and some awe inspiring monologues (everyone has to love a bit of “Winter is coming”) . Season four gave audiences two stand-out scenes that were driven by the teleplay and owed to plenty of re-watching. Speech one was a pre-battle prep talk from series veteran Owen Teale as Allisser Thorne, while generally loathed, Thorne came up trumps with his echoing words that seemed so natural its easy to forget The Nights Watch is part of a fantasy world. Speech two was delivered by Tyrion and his slandering of the stuck-up inhabitants of King’s Landing was enough to make anyone clap their hands together like an excited seal (just me then…?). Slick and intelligent, together Benioff, Weiss (and a host more) give Martin’s novels a run for their money, and stand firmly as their own works.
Westeros, dragons, enough supporting characters to shake a stick at, and an original narrative that can easily rival any television series out there today – Game of Thrones is a phenomenal fantasy drama that is unabashedly over-the-top (but wonderfully so), and we wouldn’t have it any other way.