Tag Archive: TV


Watched the first episode of the Capaldi era and have a few thoughts. 

 

What I Liked

Capaldi after he got over his regeneration sickness was THE DOCTOR. Brilliant manic, wild and with a dangerous undertone.

New TARDIS interior, like how the central column doesn’t seem to move up and down but the TARDIS spins around it (least thats the effect I got from the window lights spinning round.

The Doctor the killer, hints this will be a darker Dr and I like that. 

 

What I didn’t Like

The theme tune, seriously, what the fuck?

The T-Rex, how big to the writers think a T-Rex is? No-way would a police box get stuck in its throat, it probably wouldn’t be able to even get its mouth around it. It was like the Rex’s you used to see in the old old dinosaur films when people didn’t really know how big they were.

Madam Vestra standing in a group of Londoners looking up at the Rex and no-one seems bothered by A) the T-Rex and B) there was a Silurian in their midst.

The “battle” with the metalmen. Strax had a fricking laser and the metalmen were all slow moving and he only hit a couple. Come on!

 

Theories

“Missy” I first thought perhaps it might be a somehow regenerated River Song, but after a comment on Twitter I’m thinking maybe its the Master (Missy…Misstress?)

The Promised Land, is it Utopia (another link to Missy maybe being the Master)

If the Promised Land is Utopia does that them (possibly) make the metalmen Toclafane (a further link to Missy being the Master)

 

All in all the middle part was fun, the beginning and end not so. The Matt Smith cameo wasn’t needed.

Next week Daleks, not looking forward to them because being honest I find them boring and about time they were well and truely rested. 

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Following post will container spoilers for non-book readers.

 

Been a while since I said anything about the fast approaching S3 of HBOs Game Of Thrones (March 31st USA/April 1st UK). Unless you’ve been in a cave the past week you will no doubt already have seen the trailer.

Yesterday HBO released a list of episode titles…

1: Valar Dohaeris
2: Dark Wings, Dark Words
3: Walk of Punishment
4: And Now His Watch is Ended
5: Kissed by Fire
6: tbc
7: The Bear and the Maiden Fair
8: tbc
9: The Rains of Castamere
10: Mhysa

Some interesting titles there and follows some speculation as to what they may relate to.

SPOILERS AHOY!!

 

 

 

Ep.1 – Valar Dohaeris (translated = all men must serve) is the traditional reply in High Valerian to Valar Morghulis (translated = all men must die and the title of S2/ep10), so we may get some Ayra action, possibly involving the Brotherhood Without Banners?

Ep.2 – Dark Wings, Dark Words – Ravens have dark wings and carry messages around the kingdoms. Does this possibly allude to Robb and/or Catylin receiving news of the “death” of Bran and Rickon?

Ep.3 – Walk Of Punishment – not sure about this, some link to what the Brotherhood is about maybe, or Theon’s fate?

Ep.4 – And Now His Watch Is Ended – obviously relates to the Nights Watch, could allude to the battle/aftermath of the battle at the Fist of the First Men. Or it could allude to events at Crasters Keep.

Ep. 5 – Kissed By Fire – obvious choice is Yrgitte, so could involve what Jon is up to with Mance’s army. But I wonder if it might be a reference to Sandor Clegane (his burn scar is him being “kissed by fire”) and his duel with Ser Beric (and his flaming sword).

Ep. 7 – The Bear And The Maiden Fair – this is a song in the books and is sung several times, it could also allude to Ser Jamie, Brienne and a certain bear pit.

Ep. 9 – The Rains Of Castermere – any book fan will know what this points towards, its a massive event. Not saying anymore than that.

Ep. 10 – Mhysa – Myhsa is the Ghiscari word for “mother” and is what the freed slaves cal Daenerys.

It’s all shaping up to be another great season, possibly one of the best considering the ground it will travel.

 

 

A day early but…

So February…

Another month down, ten more to go until I hit the big 50; so what did February do for me?

BOOKS

Quite a mixed bag this month…

space danger

First up there was Space Danger: The Deadly Planet of DEATH by Doug Strider. I had an early look in on this as Doug (who I’ve known on Twitter for about a year) asked me to beta read for him. Great little novella, with funny settings, characters and a story that whips along nicely. If you like Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett you’ll like this.

from man to man by DEM Emrys

Man to Man by D.E.M. Emrys is a tight short story about a grizzled warrior who just wants to get on with his life and forget his past. But the past doesn’t stay away for long.

the alchemist of souls

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle, you can see my review below this post.

 

Still reading…

dreams and shadows

Dreams and Shadows by Robert Cargill is a quirky read, shades of Neil Gaimen so I’ve been told (never read him so will have to take their word for that). If you like stories about creatures that live unseen alongside the “real” world, this is for you.

ack ack macaque

Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L Powell is brilliant so far. Funny and gripping, plus who can’t love a foul mouthed, cigar chomping, booze swilling one-eyed gun totting monkey.

TV & MOVIES

the following

Still keeping up with The Following (Sky Atlantic), though I do fear it’s in danger of over arcing itself. Nearly mid-way through S1 and the tank is being filled with water, the shark is on its way and the bike prepped for the jump. This show is in danger of losing itself in its own backstory, too many flashbacks (memories of LOST) and not enough answers. It needs to either give something back to the viewer in the way of answers, or have the bad guy’s cock-up once in a while. The whole “everything is pre-planned” theme its using is wearing thin and getting to the point of being unbelievable (how can Carroll – who is in prison and has been for years – know Hardy will be somewhere/do something at a set time so he can counteract it).

game of thrones S2

Halfway into the re-watch of S2 of Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic), still by far the best thing on TV by far. S3 is only a few weeks away, there will be blood, and dragons. Ripper Street (BBC1) is still gripping stuff, dark and brutal and my hat goes off to the BBC for not toning it down in any way.

ripper street

Went to the flicks this month and caught A Good Day To Die Hard. Bruce is still king, yes it was corny, yes it was OTT, but hey – Yippe Kiyay Mother Russia.

a good day to die hard

WRITING

Slight downer with the writing this month, all the short stories I had out in the big bad world have now come back with rejection slips. Very disheartening, but it goes with the territory. I’m already looking at other outlets to send them to.

The TV script has been put on hold; hit a few snags that need ironing out so looks like I may miss the BBC Writers Room Spring window.

Prepping is all done on the post apocalyptic novel, and the alternate history one.

Current full on WIP is a short story I wrote a year ago that I’m re-working into a novella or (possible) novel. Part one is out with beta readers, part two is about a third wrote. Not rushing it, still trying to keep to my writing plan of having a finished novel by the end of the year.

So that was January, first month of 2013, eleven months until I hit the big 50. So what did it mean for me?

BOOKS

I finished Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton. This was the first of his books I’d read outside of the Commonwealth Saga. It was enjoyable, though I did find some sections overblown and there seemed (to me) to be a lot of filler.

I also read Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was expecting something more along the lines of Galaxy Quest, if that was what he was heading for then it fell well short of the mark for me. There were some funny moments, but I did not have any of the laugh-out-loud moments some of the reviewers seemed to have enjoyed.

I was back on familiar territory with Bait Dog by Chuck Wendig (a double bill of the novella Shotgun Gravy & the novel Bait Dog). Familiar as in I know what Chuck is about, have  a pretty good idea of how he works. Though I will be honest and say I was surprised by the intensity of this one. Also it was Chuck without any psychic or vampiric powers. A hard hitting story of bullies, racists and sadists. Not for the faint of heart.

Just finished (last night) Apocalypse: Year Zero, a collection of four novellas that center of four women who go through life changing, and shattering events – 911, the Boxing Day tsunami, hurricane Katrina and California’s “big one”. The end result of these experiences is they each find they have power over fire, water, wind and earth. And as they slowly come together over the course of the four novella’s it’s revelaed that the Four Horsemen were not men at all.

 

TV & MOVIES

Well actually only TV, I did intend to go and see The Hobbit for a second time but never got round to it. TV wise I’m now a proud subscriber to Sky TV, and boy am I a happy bunny. Watched Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (available on Alibi) staring the brilliant Forrest Whitaker. Some pretty hard, brutal stuff in there. Also been watching Ripper Street (BBC1) set in Victorian London in the months after the Ripper killings. Dark, gritty and no holds barred, it also stars Gerome Flynn who seems intent on carving out a niche for himself as a hard as nails character actor (he’s also the brilliant Bronn in Game Of Thrones)

This week started watching The Following (Sky Atlantic) staring Kevin Bacon. Ex-FBI agent brought out of retirement to bring down an escaped serial killer. It has echoes of Red Dragon but an interesting twist is the serial killer has amassed a following, he’s been creating serial killers, he has (possibly) an army of them. Its not for the faint of heart (especially episode 1’s Ice Pick lady scene) but looks to have the makings of a gripping drama.

I also received my DVD of Dredd, watched it and still think its a brilliant stab at bringing the iconic character to the screen. Its just a shame it bombed at the cinema and so highly unlikely and sequels will be forthcoming.

 

WRITING

Some sad news last week when I received an email telling me that Pill Hill Press has closed. Pill Hill gave me my first break, published my first short story. On top of that I have another story accepted by them that was due to be in their next anthology. But there was a sliver lining, Miles Boothe – another author and ardent monster hunter – has created Emby Press and intends to honour all submissions made to Pill Hill. So hopefully in a few months the anthology will be released.

I’ve had a short script placed with Twisted Showcase – a web based anthology series (named in the Guardian’s Top 25 web shows in 2012) – for several months now but they have been struggling to fit it into the filming schedule. There was talk of making it as their first animated short, but finding an animator with time on their hands is not easy. Now they are looking into producing it as a comic strip, and if it is successful on the site will be the first of many.

My WIPs are ticking along nicely. I’ve been prepping a post apocalypse novel for a couple of months now which is close to being ready for the start of the first draft. I’ve also finished a treatment for a pilot episode that I will be writing next month. The aim is to have it written, beta read and second drafted by the end of February so I can catch the current BBC Writers Room submissions window. Once that is done I start work on the novel first draft.

I still have four short stories out there in the world waiting on acceptance/declining emails.

 

All in all January was a packed month, February is shaping up to be more of the same.

 

http://www.deadline.com/2012/08/syfy-to-develop-remake-of-cult-u-k-sci-fi-series-blakes-7-with-martin-campbell/

News broke yesterday that SyFy are in development of a remake of classic BBC science fiction show Blake’s 7. During its run the show was in competition with Dr. Who as the show to watch. Although a lot darker in tone to it’s BBC stablemate, Blake’s 7 had a loyal following, a following it continues to have to this day.

The show centers around a group of escaped convicts who embark on a crusade against an evil galactic empire, they come across an abandoned alien spacecraft – christened the Liberator by the crew – that is more advanced than anything the empire has. Running for four years – 1978 – 1981 –  the show ended in a semi-cliffhanger with the return of titular character Blake (he’d been missing presumed dead since S2) and had a final scene of the surviving crew all being shot by soldiers of the empire before the screen goes black. The show was never renewed, despite continual calls for it from fans, especially after the revival of Dr. Who in 2005.

As a bit of fun I thought I’d speculate on who might fit as recast members of the crew. This is my view and mine alone, mostly fantasy casting.

Roj Blake – originally played by Gareth Thomas, Blake was a long term political activist who uses the Liberator as a weapon to fight against the Federation. He’s reckless, driven and ruthless in his pursuit of his goals. For the remake I visualized Colm Meaney in the role.

 

Kerr Avon – originally played by Paul Darrow, Avon was a computer and electronics expert, very logical, very clever, but equally as ruthless as Blake. Only ever had one person in mind for this, Mark Sheppard.

 

Vila Restal – originally played by Michael Keating, Vila is a skilled thief, a lock-pick, but he is reluctant to risk his life and so comes across as cowardly. He has a high IQ but has a weakness for women and booze. I can only think of one person to fit this role, Robert Knepper.

 

Jenna Stannis – originally played by Sally Knyvette, Jenna was a skilled pilot and smuggler (a female Han Solo). For her role I went for Knepper’s old Prison Break castmate Sarah Wayne Callies.

 

Cally – originally played by Jan Chappell, Cally is a telepath and guerrilla fighter. For her role I’ve gone for Supernatural’s Sheriff Jody Mill’s – Kimberley Rhodes.

 

 

 

Olag Gan – originally played by David Jackson, Gan was a convicted murderer who’d had an electronic “limiter” implanted in his brain that made it impossible to kill anyone again. For this role I’ve gone for X-Files alumni Brian Thompson.

 

All the above has been for fun, it’s whiled away a couple of hours on a damp Friday afternoon.

 

 

Few bits of catch-up news and some of the things that interest me in the coming months…

 

Game Of  Thrones

HBO have signed a deal with UK based Blinkboxto stream S1 and 2 –http://www.blinkbox.com/TV/Series/1024/Game-of-Thrones?icn=GameOfThrones&ici=DHB_homepage – both are now available – £1.89 per episode or £17.99 for the series. Blinkbox are part of Tesco and looking through their site have quite a lot to offer. There is no monthly subscription, you pay-per-view.  As part of the deal with HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire and True Blood are also available. Whilst this is good news to non-Sky customers I do worry if it will have a knock on effect. If viewers can now what the show without signing up to Sky will it affect their viewing figures, and also with S2 now available to view 7 months before the proposed release date for the DVD/BluRay boxset, will this affect those sales as well?

Staying with GoT, Irish actor Ciaran Hinds has been cast as Mance Rayder.

 

Mance is the King-Beyond-The-Wall, he’s been mentioned numerous times during S1 & 2, and the last time we saw Jon Snow he was being taken to see him. Mance has amassed a Wildling army and is heading for the Wall.

Ciaran is a well known actor appearing in films such as Munich, John Carter, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy. He’s probably most well known for his portrayal of Julius Ceaser in Rome.

 

Dredd 

The official trailer for Dredd was released a few weeks ago.

I’ve been a fan of Judge Dredd and 2000AD since the comic first came out in 1977, whilst I am looking forward to this film, I have some reservations. But those reservations are dwindling as the release date draws ever nearer and more information about what we can expect are made known.

 

Red Country

Publisher Gollancz have released a new trailer for Joe Abercrombie’s next book Red Country.

And a newish blurb.

They burned her home.

They stole her brother and sister.

But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust. . .

The past never stays buried . . .

Red Country is out September 3rd in the UK.

 

Gypsys Kiss and more…

I mentioned a while ago that my current WIP – Gypsys Kiss – now has the first part completed and edited, I’m doing some research for parts 2 and 3 before continuing with the writing. In the mean time I’ve begun work on an as yet untitled project that I aim to have completed in time to submit for the Abaddon Books open submission month in September – http://abaddonbooks.blogspot.com/2012/07/write-for-abaddon.html – I’ve got about 3.1/2 chapters done (approx 9,000 words) and hope to have a first draft early in next month. This will hopefully give me time to re-read, edit and get it submitted.

I’ve also re-visited a 60 minute pilot script I started about 18 months ago (I had 20 minutes written and the rest notes). The aim on this one is to get it finished and an outline of the other six episodes in time for the next submission window for the BBC Writers Room in the Autumn.

Busy, busy, busy…

 

HBO confirmed at the end of last week that former Misfits star Iwan Rheon has been cast to appear in S3 of Game Of Thrones.

His role has only been revealed as “the boy”, though insiders who have seen a scene involving him and one other major character have said it points to him playing the part of Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of the Dreadfort. Ramsay was name-checked in a couple of episodes at the end of S2, mainly by his father Lord Roose Bolton, but not actually seen. He was sent by his father to deal with Theon Greyjoy and his Iron Born who had taken Winterfell.

In the books Ramsay Snow was introduced much earlier, though as a character known only as Reek. He is a favorite of fans but a nasty piece of work and every inch his fathers son. For any wondering why it is Ramsay has the same surname as Jon Snow – the bastard son of Ned Stark – it is because it is tradition in Westeros to name bastard children with the same surname depending on what part of the country they come from. All northern bastards are called Snow.

Iwan is best known in the UK as Simon from the series Misfits.

 

 

 

San Diego Comic-Con 2012

For the past few days San Diego Comic-Con has been host to thousands of SF & Fantasy fans eager for the latest news on their top shows and movies. I collated some of the news here for shows and films I’m interested in.

First up…

Marvel – Phase Two

With Marvel Avengers Assemble the studio announced the end of their Phase One releases. Phase Two would contain Iron Man III, Thor II and Captain America II. The plan is the second phase will lead up to the second Avengers film. Over the course of Comic-Con more information has been released.

Thor: The Dark World is the title for the God of Thunder’s second outing and has a release date of November 8th 2013. As yet no further details are known regarding plot and casting, Chris Helmsworth will be reprising the role of Thor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the title for Steve Rogers second outing and has a release date of April 4th 2014. No further details are known, but in the comics The Winter Soldier storyline was about “Bucky” Barnes who was Steve Rogers sidekick during WWII. It was a Cold War tale with “Bucky” revived without his memory and brainwashed by the Russians as an assassin. I’m not sure if they will use the same storyline or update it maybe with “Bucky” being radicalised.

Ant-Man was announced but no release date yet. He is a superhero who was at one time a member of The Avengers,  in the comics various characters have assumed the name, the original was Henry Pym, a brilliant scientist who invented a formula to alter his size.

Iron Man III is filming now, and footage shown confirms that Sir Ben Kingsley is playing The Mandarin, a long time enemy of Tony Stark.

Guardians of the Galaxy are another superhero group like The Avengers, except they are from the far future alternative time-line. Marvel have announced this film as a bridge between the three sequels and Ant-Man film and the second Avengers outing. In the after credits clip of the Avengers we saw the main adversary behind the attacks on Earth, this was a character called Thannos, it is believed both superhero teams maybe involved in battling him.

The Walking Dead S3

The trailer for season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was shown. This series covers events in the town of Woodbury and introduces a character known as the Governor.

Game Of Thrones S3

Season 3 of HBO’s Game Of Thrones began filming last week. Unlike the first two seasons casting announcements have been scarce as it seems the producers have saved them all for Comic-Con. Season 3 will air on March 31st 2013.

A brief breakdown as to who is who.

Mackenzie Crook has been cast as Orell, a wildling who is a close advisor to the King-Beyond-The-Wall Mance Rayder. Crook is probably best known to UK viewers as Gareth from The Office, he also stared as one-eyed Ragetti in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Paul Kaye has been cast as Thoros of Myr, Thoros is a Red Priest like Melisandre. But unlike her Thoros likes to drink and fight. He is a one-time drinking partner of Robert Baratheon. In the books he went with Lord Benric Dondarrion to bring Ser Gregor Clegane to justice on Ned Stark’s orders (S1). Kaye shot to fame in the UK as “Dennis Pennis” a “shock-interviewer” who insulted celebrities whilst interviewing them. He stared in many shows throughout the early 2000s.

Richard Dormer has been cast as Lord Beric Dondarrion of Blackraven. The character did appear briefly in S1 when he was despatched by Ned Stark to bring Ser Gregor Clegane to justice, the producers decided to recast for S3. Dormer is an actor and playwright.

Clive Russell has been cast as Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully, the uncle of Catelyn , Lysa and Edmure. In the books Brynden was introduced in The Game Of Thrones, but because of the trimming down of the Riverrun/Tully storyline it has been delayed until S3. Russell is a well known actor and has appeared in countless films and TV shows.

Tobias Menzies has been cast as Edmure Tully, he is the younger brother of Catelyn and Lysa, and nephew of Brynden. Edmure is not a great warrior and lacks Catelyn’s political skills. Menzies played Brutus in Rome.

Tara Fitzgerald has been cast as Selyse Baratheon, the wife of Stannis Baratheon. She is a devotee of the Red God had staunch supporter of Melisandre. Fitzgerald is a star of stage, screen and TV, most recently as Dr. Eve Lockhart in BBCs Waking The Dead.

Ellie Kendrick has been cast as Meera Reed.

And Thomas Brodie-Sangster has been cast as Jojen Reed. Meera and Jojen are the children of Lord Howland Reed, a staunch ally of Ned Stark and one of his closest friends. In the books they are sent to Winterfell to pledge allegence to Robb Stark after Ned’s death, they are there when Theon and the Ironborn take the fortress, then they escape North with Bran Stark. Brodie-Sangster is most famous for staring alongside Liam Neeson in Love Actually, Kendrick recently stared in BBCs Upstairs Downstairs.

The Hobbit

With principle photography complete on both Hobbit films, some of the cast and director Peter Jackson were at Comic-Con promoting the first release. During an interview with TheOneRing.net Jackson admitted the posibility that there could be a third film in the offing.

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/07/14/59060-exclusive-jackson-may-be-pondering-a-third-hobbit-film/

 

An interesting year or three ahead, and come this time next year we’ll have Comic-con 2013.

 

News broke overnight (UK) that Fox have cancelled fledgling series Alcatraz after one season. The JJ Abrams written show, about the titular island prison and inmates who vanished in the 1960s suddenly re-appearing in the present, had fan backing but didn’t generate the numbers – or excitement – the execs wanted.

This isn’t the first show to be cancelled before it had a chance to get going, and it won’t be the last, but the event did get me thinking about what it now takes to get a series made and keep it on air.

JJ Abrams got a lot of flak for his last big TV series LOST, fans and commentators said the central mysteries went on too long unanswered and when they finally were, the answer wasn’t quite as earth-shattering as it was led to be believed. There are shows out there that seem to have the staying power, Smallville managed ten years before fans got the final – if fleeting – payoff of the iconic shirt-ripping-big S- on-the-chest reveal. Supernatural has just been renewed for its 8th season, Dexter is in its 6th year, Fringe its 4th (although it is already known the 5th season will be the last). So why is it some shows seem to last and others don’t?

I think a lot of it is down the society we now live in. People today are used to instant access, instant results, instant answers. We live our lives in social media where questions and conversations exist within 140 characters. When presented with shows where we are expected to wait years before we get the answer to the big mystery baulks us and we tend to give it a miss. The long running shows I mention above have managed, in varying degrees, to side-step this problem by keeping the series spanning story arc going, but having mini-stories interspersed throughout. They’ve not expected the viewer to give up years of their lives to find out why this happened or why “X” said that.

I like shows that follow a plan, have a story to tell. I suppose I can happily sit and watch a show for 10 years, because I’m from the generation when social media and instant payoffs didn’t exist. For shows to survive beyond their first season – and some sadly barely even managed that – I feel they need to embrace the culture that dominates the world we live in. They need to be a little more forthcoming, give out a little more than they are, trust the viewer to stick around even if we do know some of the answers.

 

Game Of Thrones – The Complete Season One

Showrunners – David Benioff & DB Weiss

Staring – Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Headey, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Harry Lloyd, Jason Momoa, Aiden Gillen, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Richard Madden, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Kit Harrington, Jack Gleeson, Rory McCann and many many more…

Summers span decades, winters can last a lifetime, the great houses of Westeros like nothing better than playing their games. And the biggest game of the all has begun, the battle for the Iron Throne itself. From the south where the heat breeds plots and can cook a man alive, to the far north where a 800 foot wall protects the Seven Kingdoms from the dark that lies beyond.

 Kings, Queens, Knights and Lords, liars, renegades and honest men, all have a  part to play in the game of thrones.

I’d read the books by the time the first episode of season one of Game Of Thrones aired. It’s an ambitious undertaking, turning a series of – so far – five books into a series for TV. It would be ambitious turning what many view as the modern generations Lord Of The Rings into a film series, but TV, and only ten episodes per season?

Whatever David Benioff and DB Weiss are taking I hope they never run out. They’ve managed to condense an epic book into a ten, sixty minute episodes, and not only have they managed it but they managed to do it so it appeals to fans and newcomers alike.

With a main cast that would swamp most films, brilliantly backed up by a supporting cast that seemed at some stages to employ every notable character actor in England, the series unfolds excellently, introducing the viewer to Westeros and its people without missing a beat.

Wit a cast this size it could be easy to overdo things meaning the actors become swamped and disappear into the scenery. But they don’t, everyone has their moment to shine. Characters jump full blown and expertly visualised from the page.

Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is suitably slimy, Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) is the Hound, King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) is larger than life and twice as loud, Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) is as cold as the North and loyal to the end.

Added to these there was standout performances from Maisie Williams as feisty Arya Stark and Peter Dinklage as the Imp, Tyrion Lannister.

As a fantasy series it delivers, there are mysteries, legends and dragons. As a serious piece of drama it excels on multiple levels, drawing in people who would not normally go anywhere near anything with fantasy in the description.

Season 1 was the best drama on TV in 2011, adapting the first book to perfection.