Ok, so soon after really enjoying John Carter, bought the bluray of "Game of Thrones", which had gotten a lot of buzz, and...
Short review: WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! I'm in BIG love with a tv series again.
Slightly longer review: This has been called an 'r' rated version of "Lord of the Rings", but I think it's underselling it. (Although I recently revisited the extended versions of those films and was amazed at how much I wished that Peter Jackson had directed "John Carter" instead of Andrew Stanton- but then again, Jackson never had to deal with Disney over his shoulder...)
In times past, my 'big love' for tv has been: ROME, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, SIX FEET UNDER (although with some weak slow episodes in season two), ONCE AND AGAIN, FREAKS AND GEEKS (easily the best work Apatow has ever done- on network tv on a family show, go figure)---
There's been some romance with TRUE BLOOD (But season two then three weakened the love greatly), DEXTER (Not interested in the supporting character storylines and each season except for the last one has had some major flaws), CHUCK (Seasons 1-3 are fantastic with Anne Couffel Summers as story editor, then afterwards, it takes a giant dive in quality), WALKING DEAD (uncertain about following season 2 after Frank Darabont got screwed out of a job) but I have high hopes for this series based on season 1.
The nice thing about the series is that it's following more/less an actual series of books that already had acclaim with a showrunner that's an author himself (25 Hours)... and - like ROME - I like that all sides of the social class are represented, and the facination comes from how each of the players stuck in social classes negotiate with the rules of their society and one another to get the things that everyone wants in their lives- self-esteem, love, respect, family (in one form or another), and/or what extent they would go to protect anything that might threaten it.
The heart of the story (rightfully so, imo) is the conflict between two main family units: the Starks and the Lancasters. The Starks are (almost) the ideal family, that gets splintered and torn apart by outside forces as the father tries to live an honorable life--- and the Lancasters- a powerful and rich family who are cruel and unmerciful in their pursuit of domination.(except for the drunken, cynical but most decent youngest dwarf brother, Tyrion, who is played by the brilliant Peter Dinklage who rightfully won an Emmy for this role).
Anyhow, the players in the first few episodes is a little tricky to follow, but once you get who they are- then it's incredibly easy to fall into this show, that hits every mark just right- if Star Trek: The Classic Series was groundbreaking for scifi/fantasy for the 60's, and Trek: TNG (and its extensions) broke even more ground decades later for the quality of scifi/fantasy--- Game of Thrones breaks it again, with supernatural elements to a minimum (there's very little, and very little necessary, thank goodness) but human elements to a premium.
Game of Thrones I should say, also doesn't mind killing off characters the audience falls greatly in love with--- and (so far) there are no magical 'resurrections' or 'time reversals' that only make mainstream fans (rightfully so imo) groan or dismiss fantasy as something unrelatable to daily living.
Game of Thrones--- kinda like an updated English HBO version of "Legend of the Eastern Condors".
That's as a high a praise as I can give it.