I’m not a religious man, nor am I especially blasphemous, but the only thing I could say after ‘The Lion and the Rose’ cut to black was:
Say what you will about Game of Thrones’ sometimes ponderous storylines, but the show is a journey, and if you stick with it, it will reward you and punish in unexpected ways as all great works of fiction should.
I could spend 500 words explaining the phenomenon of Game of Thrones and how pervasively it has entered the cultural zeitgeist and how the hubbub over the #redwedding forced the few who weren’t watching (including myself) to rush through a catch up, but I’d be repeating every second article written in the last week, so let’s talk season 4.
As per usual I will separate my comments and impressions by characters:
Full Disclosure: I still have, to this day, 40+ VHS tapes of The Simpsons episodes that I taped off the TV (that’s right, I’m bad) as a young lad. I have all the DVDs up until season 11 where the horrible packaging made it impossible to remove the discs. Most embarrassingly, I have an entire folder full of sheets (almost 100 in total) which perfectly document which episodes are on which tapes (and a brief description), whether or not the episode exists in its entirety or was only half taped, and a grade out of 10 for each. So this list is in honour of that boy who had (and clearly still has) way too much time on his hands.
Phew! To be honest, that was bit of slog, but I’m glad I stuck it out.
After the first four or five episodes I was a bit worried about the episode pacing and lack of any kind of story closure or even stakes. Everyone kept telling me ‘it gets better, it gets better’ and it does, but not to the extent that it solves or rectifies all the issues I had with the first half of the season.
It must be said that I was equally concerned and excited about this new Netflix commissioned semi-season of Arrested Development. I was concerned not because I loved the first 3 seasons of the show – which I absolutely do – and thought these new episodes would pale in comparison after a seven-year creative hiatus. It’s not that I thought the actors wouldn’t fit their roles after almost every actor went on to become highly successful on the big screen. It’s not that I was concerned the limitations of the 4th season’s production (actor availability, unfocused episode order, varying episode length) would ruin the show’s essence. It’s not that I thought the show would lose its looseness and sense of style and become forced and stilted. It’s not that I thought the show would be so burdened with overcoming it’s success (well critically, if not in ratings) or the cultural comedic icon it has become, that it will be relegated to 30 minutes of ‘her?’ and chicken dances until nothing new is really said and it feels like a poor derivation of itself (looking at you Community season 4).