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julandro

A very important issue.

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I did find the pace in the 2nd season a little different - but Flight of the Concords still kicked comedy ass!

Besides, how can you not love a show that has the song "Business Time" worked into the story line?!?! (And Mel just rocks my world).

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I'm not sure I follow. Is there some kind of quota of good shows that HBO must fill, and whatever is left over will be bad?

I'm not at all worried. You need to have a drink and a good lie down.

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But the odds of getting a hundred and one heads in a row isn't great, since P(great show)<P(Lousy show). Then again, we could take into account HBO's record - P(great show|HBO)...

:leaving:  

On the contrary: if you got a hundred heads in a row, there is a very good chance of a systematic bias, i.e. a loaded die or, in our case, a company that seriously tries to satisfy a mature and intelligent audience, rather than maximise their ad revenues.

Of course there's also the question of similar or diverging taste. So P(great GOT adaptation) might be only be 50%, but at least in my case P(Great GOT adaptation| same company as "The Wire") is very much increased!

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I'm not too worried about the quality of the production, or the acting. I think that will be about as good as it can be without a cinematic-level budget. What concerns me is that these books are just too complex for a semi-mainstream tv audience to get into. There must be about a dozen major characters (Cersei, Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys, etc.), another couple dozen second-tier but still important characters (Bronn, The Hound, Jorah Mormont, Lysa Arryn, etc.), and dozens of more minor characters. I've read through the books 3 times now, and another time as audiobook, and I still have trouble remembering who all the characters are and how they fit together. And people watching the show aren't going to have the luxury of looking them up in the dense family tree charts in the back of the book.

Somehow they have to simplify it without detracting from the richness of the story, it's a tall order. I just can't fathom how they're going to pull it off without overwhelming a lot of people. I know people said the same about LoTR, and I think they handled that about as well as they could have, but I think GoT is even more complex and an even bigger challenge to translate. People like to lock on to maybe three or four major characters and soak the rest up as pleasant scenery in the background, but that's hard to do with this series. Making the tv series just for the fans of the books is a mistake as it will never get the mainstream audience and hence not be renewed/extended.

I just hope HBO's screenwriting chops are up to snuff and they can successfully walk that line. I'm concerned.

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As everyone knows, most HBO series has been very successful criticism. Epic series like John Adams, Rome, Deadwood, etc, are great quality and have received many kind of recognition and praise. It is impossible that the level of the HBO series is always masterpieces. Are you not concerned that lower the quality of "Game of Thrones"?

I suppose that one day, HBO will not fulfill expectations. :leaving:

Only time will tell.

It looks like the people made this show had something to prove.

That fantasy novels can make an excellent t.v. show.

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I'm not too worried about the quality of the production, or the acting. I think that will be about as good as it can be without a cinematic-level budget. What concerns me is that these books are just too complex for a semi-mainstream tv audience to get into. There must be about a dozen major characters (Cersei, Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys, etc.), another couple dozen second-tier but still important characters (Bronn, The Hound, Jorah Mormont, Lysa Arryn, etc.), and dozens of more minor characters. I've read through the books 3 times now, and another time as audiobook, and I still have trouble remembering who all the characters are and how they fit together. And people watching the show aren't going to have the luxury of looking them up in the dense family tree charts in the back of the book.

Have you ever watched the Wire? There were loads of characters and they were hard to keep track of because the naturalistic style of the dialogue meant that no-one ever said things like "So, John how long have we been brothers now?" So I presume HBO's audience are just fine with not knowing who the hell is that character that just appeared, and everyone is talking like they know him.

I think the medium-importance characters are just going to blend into the background for most people. They'll remember who they are but probably not their names. So the Hound will be "that big scary guy with the scar." More minor characters like Hot Pie might as well be un-named extras for all the regular audience will care. They should still be able to follow the big plots.

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I've just been watching Mad Men, and it took me most until the second season to be able to keep track of the names of the second-tier characters - there was the blond one (Ken), the one with the glasses (Harry), and the other one who grew a beard in season 2 (Paul). People will be able to tell the characters apart, even if they can't remember everyone's names.

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I agree. There's definitely precedence with shows being popular and acclaimed while having many primary and secondary characters. As long as the main story isn't confusing and the acting and storytelling is gripping, people will keep tuning in. To expand on the Mad Men example, I too had trouble remembering all the secondary characters at first, but the show was still so compelling and well acted, that I kept tuning in to watch more.

The primary characters, Donald Draper, Betty Draper, Peggy, etc. stood out very well and I could follow their main story lines without issue, and the rest gradually came into focus the more I watched. With Game of Thrones, people will latch on to Eddard, Jon, Catelyn, Daenerys, and Tyrion and they should be able to follow their stories and gradually come to appreciate and better identify the secondary characters as well.

Mad Men was extremely rewarding to rewatch because I picked up on some many things I missed the first time, and I don't doubt this series will be the same (just like the books were too).

At least I certainly hope so! Knock of wood and cross your fingers. :)

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The Sopranos was another one with a lot of supporting characters who often were introduced pretty casually, weren't seen again for a few episodes, and then turned out to have much larger significance further on. The first time I watched it, I did lose track of a few of them, but it never made me think "Why the hell are there so many characters" or "Oh no I can't keep up with this show" - more like "Aha, I think there was something cool going on earlier that I sort of missed... that'll be fun when I re-watch it later." Which usually turned out to be true.

(Edited to add: And I think The Sopranos was one of the first long-running continuity shows to really take advantage of the fact that a viewer who was interested enough could, and probably would, eventually re-watch most or all of it on video/DVD. That's gotten even easier since then with on-demand cable, and of course the Internet (whether legit or not), to the point where I think a lot of viewers almost expect stories to be stuffed full of a bit more than they can take in at first... as long as what's going on is involving enough that they don't absolutely *need* to keep track of it all to enjoy it, if they're not that geeky.)

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"John from Cincinnati" was an HBO show that was panned by a lot of the critics, and didn't get good ratings. It's the most recent HBO drama that I can think of that got canceled after one season, because it wasn't liked.

"Tell Me You Love Me" was another HBO series that only lasted one season, but it was loved by the critics and got decent (not great) ratings. The main reason it was canceled was because the creator couldn't think of a 2nd season.

"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" was yet another HBO series that only lasted one season. It got decent reviews from the press, and also was generally liked by the public. It also got 3 Emmy nominations. This show got canceled because the creator died of natural causes after the first season was created.

These 3 shows demonstrate that HBO is not infallible when making 1 hour long drama's. But of the reasons, only one show was canceled because it wasn't positively received.

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But of the reasons, only one show was canceled because it wasn't positively received.

Exactly. :) If the series is not positively received loads of people on this site will denounce it anyhow. They will be happy that it ends.

Anyhow, the main point is that if it is as good as everything has suggested so far, then HBO will persevere with it for at least a second season.

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I'm not too worried about the quality of the production, or the acting. I think that will be about as good as it can be without a cinematic-level budget. What concerns me is that these books are just too complex for a semi-mainstream tv audience to get into. There must be about a dozen major characters (Cersei, Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys, etc.), another couple dozen second-tier but still important characters (Bronn, The Hound, Jorah Mormont, Lysa Arryn, etc.), and dozens of more minor characters. I've read through the books 3 times now, and another time as audiobook, and I still have trouble remembering who all the characters are and how they fit together. And people watching the show aren't going to have the luxury of looking them up in the dense family tree charts in the back of the book.

Seconding (or thirding, fourthing) prior comments, a large cast isn't too much of an issue. In Mad Men, it took me two seasons to realize whenever they said Kinsey, they were not in fact referring to the scientist. Didn't impact my enjoyment of the series. Sopranos, I still don't know the names of a lot of the characters. Fuck, the Tudors went four seasons, and plenty of folks I know who love the show get confused about the names. Faces are remembered, and when they pop up on the screen, people know where they've been, what they've been doing, etc. Same will happen with GoT. Plus, they'll probably trim it up a bit.

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Ordinarily when reading about a proposed TV or film conversion of a favorite story, I scream "O no!" and get very contemptuous of the results. ("O no, not Keanu Reeves!"and "Not Nicholas Cage!")

This time I think we stand a very good chance of getting a quality show. The cast looks very good in the teasers, even if they are mostly new to me. The sets look real and gritty like the novels. I have read the pilot script -- I was surprised that the story moved so quickly. It was reasonably faithful to the book considering the book is so deep and complex. The producers and writers seem to appreciate and respect the source material.

Bottom line: I think we are in for one terrific ride.

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No. If you flip a coin a hundred times, and get heads every time, the chance of getting heads on time 101 is still fifty percent.

I guess you haven't read The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb. There he explains the difference between academically smart and street smart, where a nerd says just the same thing (50:50), whereas a guy named Fat Tony, if I recall, says "No more than 1% chance of getting tails". In other words, the assumption of a fair coin is more likely to be wrong than the veeery unlikley event of flipping heads 100 times in a row. The real world is not a laboratory, pure models are not to be found easily outside the hard sciences.

On the topic, I watched Rome recently and if it was successful then GoT should be an instant hit. Rome didn't have the looks (only Rome and some Egypt were depicted), it was restrained by history whereas fantasy isn't, battles were avoided until the very end, and the plot was full of implications, but it's nowhere near AGoT, which is also as we know, going to stay amazing, unlike some shows where things get progressively wilder and far fetched.

I hope I'm right and the people who see this for the first time will like it as much as I'm sure I'll like it.

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Firstly, the quarter flipping metaphor isn't a very applicable one to HBO. HBO executives don't pick what shows they'll make randomly out of a hat, they look at the idea of the product, the talent of the people making it, and if it fits on their channel. HBO isn't afraid of rejecting show (like, they rejected Mad Men). What I'm saying is that it's no accident that HBO has such a good track record with shows.

The only other show that I can compare to Game of Thrones, in terms of the amount of character and complexity, is The Wire, as some have mentioned before. Not only does it have a huge cast of major characters in several different locations (the police station, docls, city hall, east side, west side, newspaper, and schools), but it has a huge cast of recurring drug dealers that I didn't even pay attention to and wouldn't even know about them if it wasn't for wikipedia.

The thing I'm most concerned about is pacing. This is a complicated and hard story to tell, and though I love The Wire, it had terrible pacing in it's early episodes. I also think that this show should use flashbacks as a way to tell the history, but it doesn't appear that there will be any.

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I also think that this show should use flashbacks as a way to tell the history, but it doesn't appear that there will be any.

There is at least one flashback. I think D&D want to keep them quiet for now, so that we fans get a surprise. Can't reveal all the tricks.

At the same time, I have always argued that flashbacks should be used carefully. Especially at the beginning when the audience is trying to get a handle on this world. I don't think flashing around in time would help. OTOH, the writers may have figured out a way to make it all work.

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As everyone knows, most HBO series has been very successful criticism. Epic series like John Adams, Rome, Deadwood, etc, are great quality and have received many kind of recognition and praise. It is impossible that the level of the HBO series is always masterpieces. Are you not concerned that lower the quality of "Game of Thrones"?

What has suggested that GoT will be lower quality? Everything I've seen seems to suggest quite the opposite.

Also, how is it that no one's mentioned Boardwalk Empire? That series is masterful.

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