I don’t have HBO, so I’ll be waiting for Netflix or DVDs, but I’m so excited to see a celebrated fantasy epic being given a slow, patient miniseries treatment, with an impressive cast and a focus on character development instead of razzle-dazzle.
You can’t just watch this series. You have to commit to it, the way you had to commit to “The Wire” or “Deadwood” to appreciate them as something other than impenetrable fetish objects. Bear in mind I’m not saying that “Game of Thrones” is a creative achievement on the same level as those other masterful HBO series, which looked, moved and felt like nothing that had come before. So far, the filmmaking is a few notches up from the standard point-the-camera-at-the-actors-and-get-on-with-it approach that dominates most of series television; Showtime’s historical series “The Borgias” has much less fanboy cred, but it’s got a lot more visual flair, plus a sense of humor, something “Thrones” mostly lacks. Still, this HBO show has a particular storytelling philosophy and creative process. And it’s uncompromising in how it lays things out, taking a full hour to set its pieces on the chessboard and not making its first big move until the final seconds of the pilot.