Game of Thrones is perfectly cast and carries a high production value. Each episode is like watching a movie, full of color, light and a deluge of scenes to stimulate the senses. So much of what is conveyed is done with a gesture or a look. To remove your eyes from the screen for one second could leave you in the dark for the next 15 minutes as you try to catch what was said without words.
The Hellboy-ish title sequence should also get a mention; keep an eye on how the map of the land changes from episode to episode as we explore more of Westeros and its surrounds.
Next, the cast. Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Headey, Iain Glen are all familiar, reliable faces. The actors seem to have been chosen not just as safe pairs of hands but as those who deserve meatier roles than we’re used to seeing them in. As the drama progresses we also meet Aidan Gillen, Roy Dotrice, Julian Glover and many more. After a while barely a scene goes by without some familiar and welcome face appearing.
Now for the storytelling, which some reviewers have found problematic. It’s easy to see why Boardwalk Empire, Battlestar Galactica and so on go for feature-length episodes to start things off. Game Of Thrones isn’t allowed such a luxury; instead the opening instalment, Winter is Coming, has to introduce more than two dozen speaking roles and several locations in under an hour. This clearly proved problematic and what you’re seeing tonight is a largely reshot version, with director Tim Van Patten paving over the work done by Thomas McCarthy (Scott Templeton from The Wire).