Michael Scott

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Game of Thrones: Season One


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Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :4.5stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

I was a bit late to the party for Game of Thrones. Being a longtime supporter of George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” novels the book snob in me just refused to accept that a simple TV series could ever come close to the complexity and depth that the novels made so real in my life. After season 3 came out I finally acquiesced and begrudgingly started watching after I had seen the show heaped with accolade after accolade. While you naturally can’t fit 1000+ page novels into 10 episode series, the show has done a magnificent job at adapting the novels for the silver screen. The first two seasons in particular are nothing short of revolutionary to television. I’ve seen a lot of TV, probably too much by some people’s standards, and it’s a rare time that I have to just sit in awe and amazement as a 10 hour series is able to engross me this much. There are so many characters, sub characters, plots, subplots, backstabbing, political machinations, and infighting that one could easily get lost in the flow if not paying attention. After being the highest selling TV show on the market for 7 years running, Game of Thrones is back, this time having the distinction of getting the upgrade to 4K UHD! (hopefully more seasons will follow)

I hesitate to really go into depth about the plot, which is a rarity for me. It’s not that it’s too daunting (although the complexity of the plot is incredibly convoluted), but that much of the series enjoyment is from watching how the show unfolds and letting the little tidbits and plot reveals come naturally to the viewer. In fact it’s so integral to the watching experience that I’m going to have to dance around on eggshells so as not to spoil it for first time viewers. To wrap things up a bit, The King of the land has been taken ill with a fever and laid to rest in his grave, leaving the Iron Throne open for a new lord. Ned Stark (Sean Bean), is called upon to act as the king’s right hand and step in until a new lord is crowned. Honorable and world weary, Ned does his best to stand in, but with a throne as powerful as the Iron Throne, you can be certain that there will be some infighting. Lords and nations from all over surge towards the center of the throne, drawing their swords for the kill (and many times burying it the backs of their friends), in hopes that they might become the new lord of the Iron Throne.

We have Ned Stark, the only really GOOD character in the show, Prince Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) who is so internationally loathed that his demise is plotted about by viewers everywhere, and the twisted Lannisters all vying for the title. Then of course there’s the mother of Dragon and the whole Stark Household supporting Ned in his rock and a hard place situation. All of them looking over their shoulders as the plotting and scheming unfolds.
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To say the show is intense is an understatement. Each season is self-contained in terms of minor arcs, but the show is very much one singular story. Everything that happened earlier will define the show’s upcoming seasons and everything shown HAS a purpose. George R.R. Martin had been courted by Hollywood for years wanting to make an adaptation, but he had refused up until this point. Realizing that only HBO would have the freedom and the budget to nurture his show to fruition, the author started courting the Channel executives until they finally agreed (although it didn’t exactly take much to do that). With 4 seasons on Blu-ray and DVD so far, we can assume that HBO is doing a pretty stinking good job, especially after the show has gotten numerous awards for set, story, acting, and religiously keeping to the source material. The very reason that made me worried about starting the show since so many TV adaptations just throw the source material out of the window, or adapt it so much that it’s completely unrecognizable after the first season.

What made HBO such a perfect fit for the source material is the fact that “Song of Fire and Ice” is definitely an adult novel set. There’s blood, gore, sex, intrigue, characters who are neither good, nor bad, but happen to be different shades of grey. HBO allows the show to revel in all of the twisted dealings and evils that lurk in the hearts of men (I can almost hear Vincent Price saying that). With that being said, yes, there’s a fair bit of nudity and R-rated gore in the show. I’m not talking “Spartacus” levels where it was hyper stylized and nudity and sex was pretty much every 5 seconds, but the show is not exactly what I’d call little Timmy and Jane friendly. The storytelling is superb, and not just for a TV show. Most movies get envious just thinking about achieving what Game of Thrones has done on a narrative levels, even though the budget for the show can rival a lot of big budget films.




Rating:

Rated TV-MA by the MPAA




4K Video: :4stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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Over the years Game of Thrones has been released and re-released in various formats and packaging, but always with the same classy looking 1080p encode. This time we get to see the benefits of TV going 4K and the results are generally spectacular. Let me say off the bat that I had a hard time deciding between a 4/5 and 4.5/5 rating for this season, as it didn't seem to be AS perfect as most 4.5/5 shows, but it was better than a 4/5 as well. If I had my way I'd pull a 4.25/5, but since that's not an option I'm leaning towards the 4.5/5, which is where it now resides. The show is heavily stylized to the medieval premise, with dark blues, soft color palettes and lots of dingy stone castles to dot the landscape. Colors CAN show elements of shocking brightness (usually outdoor scenes with grassy hills), but the dark nature of the show keeps it from being a jaw dropper in that department. However, the increased resolution is stunning in 4K UHD, with textural details along the castle walls, or the knobby facial details of craggy soldiers showing up impeccably. Blacks are deep and inky, with the HDR really adding a sense of depth to said black levels. An easy upgrade from the Blu-ray if I do say so myself.







Audio: :5stars:
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Being that the new steelbooks from a year or so back upgraded the show to Atmos, this 4K UHD release copies that Atmos mix over from the re-release for an impeccable mix. For those who may not have the equipment, there is an included 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but the Atmos track should at least have the TrueHD 7.1 core to enjoy if you're not Atmos capable (which is a slight improvement over the 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks if you still have the original HBO Blu-ray releases). Comparing the two tracks in their raw form, I have to say that I’m rather impressed with the Atmos track. The DTS-HD MA experience that we’ve had the last several years is no slouch, and just shy of perfection, but the Atmos remixing amps it up a bit. Dialog is as strong as ever and the LFE just pulses and throbs throughout the entire track. The track appears to have been remixed even for the 7.1 core, as there is some nice and more emphatic usage of the surrounds as well as directionality in the front sound stage. The show is still very dialog heavy, so it’s not like it will rival giant blockbusters in terms of sheer power and object based movement, but the Atmos upgrade is definitely a nice addition for us audio nuts.






Extras: :4.5stars:
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• Animated Histories: Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves.
• Anatomy of an Episode - an in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, "A Golden Crown."
• Cast Auditions: Watch rarely-seen footage of the cast auditioning for Game of Thrones
• Making Game of Thrones -an exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews from the cast and crew.
• Character Profiles - profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them.
• Creating the Show Open - an inside look at the creation of the Emmy-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones.
• From the Book to the Screen - executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin's epic fantasy novel to life on HBO.
• The Night's Watch - an in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700 foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond.
• Creating the Dothraki Language - an insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones.
• Audio Commentaries - Seven audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bryan Cogman, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor.
• A Digital Download code for the ten-episode season in HD.









Final Score: :4.5stars:


Game of Thrones has been a success of epic proportions for HBO. The series has dominated sales for the last 7 years on home video and with only one season left (whenever they can finish it) I'm more than excited to see later seasons hit 4K UHD as well.. As for these editions, the question is. Are they worth double dipping for? audio wise it's a wash if you're coming from the re-released Steelbooks, but if you're coming from the original Blu-ray releases then the audio gets a nice kick in the pants. The 4K picture is also a very nice upgrade and the included extras are just what we're familiar with before. My only quibble is the fact that this is the first time we've gotten a NON combo pack variant for a 4K release, meaning you'll have to have the equipment for 4K instead of being able to "future proof" your purchase by buying the 4K set and using the Blu-ray discs until you get a 4K TV etc. Not a wild deal, but just something to keep in mind as most people are used to combo packs with the Blu-ray included in the 4K release. Definitely worth checking out if you have the 4K equipment though.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke
Created by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish (Castilian) Italian, German, DD 5.1, Russian DTS 5.1, Spanish (Latin) DD 2.0, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Polish DTS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Latin American Spanish, Castilian Spanish, German, Italian SDH, Portuguese Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Croation, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Slovenian, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, Thai
Studio: HBO
Rated: TV-MA
Runtime: 600 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 5th, 2018






Recommendation: Good Buy

 
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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will have to get the box set once it is available once the series is over. :)
 

Asere

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Man can you believe I've never seen ANY of the series? By now I most likely will never watch it as it will be hard to catch up. Just like The Walking Dead. I only saw maybe 5 episodes of season 1 but had to give up because I knew I could not keep up.
 

Michael Scott

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Man can you believe I've never seen ANY of the series? By now I most likely will never watch it as it will be hard to catch up. Just like The Walking Dead. I only saw maybe 5 episodes of season 1 but had to give up because I knew I could not keep up.
tsk tsk. luckily season 8 (next season) will be the final one, so you have the perfect opportunity to start catching up for the final year :greengrin:
 

JBrax

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Man can you believe I've never seen ANY of the series? By now I most likely will never watch it as it will be hard to catch up. Just like The Walking Dead. I only saw maybe 5 episodes of season 1 but had to give up because I knew I could not keep up.
I lost interest in The Walking Dead and stopped watching. I’m nowhere near that with GOT and I’m guessing you’d really enjoy it. The story and writing is top notch.
 

Michael Scott

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lol, I got tired of the Boring Dead years ago. Can't believe it's still going
 

Asere

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Asere

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I lost interest in The Walking Dead and stopped watching. I’m nowhere near that with GOT and I’m guessing you’d really enjoy it. The story and writing is top notch.
I might start watching it. First I need to finish The Handmaids Tale on Hulu. Wife and I started watching it and we are now hooked lol.
 

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I bought the Blu-ray set on Black Friday which contains seasons 1-6. And now they come out with 4K and HDR?!?!? Gonna have to sell my Blu-rays I think.
 

Michael Scott

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I'm like that with rain. I know it will rain the minute I watch my motrocycle and have it all sparkly clean.
 

typ44q

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I just started rewatching the entire show (it is so good the 2nd time around) in anticipation of the final season and would love to watch this in 4K but I must resist the temptation and wait for the inevitable 4K boxset.
 
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