Posts Tagged ‘hbo’

Throne A Bone: The Men of Game of Thrones.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011


HBO’s new epic fantasy series Game of Thrones starts on Sunday. This is the sort of thing that I’m expected to be excited about because I’m a nerd, but there are many shades of nerd in the world, and I am not an indiscriminate fantasy fan. Once was enough for Lord of the Rings, and I’ve never bought a book with barbarian on the cover. All I know about George R R Martin is that his middle name is the noise that an excited seal makes.

Yet I am a nerd all the same, and I am open to new nerdy things, and I actually am excited about Game of Thrones. I don’t know what it’s about, but it sounds ambitious, spectacular and sordid, and those are appealing features in any TV show. It also appears to be full of attractive men with big swords, and I’m all for that.

Game of Thrones is going to spark a thousand new crushes, and it’ll probably take a few episodes for viewers to decide who their preferred objects of affection are, but I’m always ready to leap to snap judgements - so here are my preliminary picks for the top ten men of Game of Thrones.

Some of them are familiar names, and some of them are new faces. For all I know, some of them may play characters who die in episode two, and some fresh-faced Guildhall graduate I haven’t mentioned could show up and out-hunk all them all.


10. Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell)
This skinny blond mop is really too much of a twink for my tastes, but you never know; his dewey-eyed peach-skinned prettiness could grow on me if his character shows a bit of grit.


9. Joseph Dempsie (Gendry)
Dempsie was my favourite as Chris on Skins. He’s a bit of a dweeb, and he looks a bit like Sandi Toksvig, but he has ample charm. Of course, on Skins he mainly had to compete with Nicholas Hoult’s wonky mouth. It remains to be seen how he’ll acquit himself now that he’s graduated to MAN action.


8. Sean Bean (Eddard Stark)
Bean is the obvious bridge between the two big fantasy franchises of our age - but I was more of an Aragorn guy. At 51, Bean is probably now playing kings rather than princes - but he was blessed with the sort of handsomely weathered face that it’s difficult to grow too old for.


7. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
Dinklage is perhaps… shorter than the guys that most of us would typically go for. Even so, he’s become one of our generation’s more unconventional sex symbols. He may not be tall, but he is dark and handsome. Unfortunately, Game of Thrones has him playing a blond, and that could ruin everything.


6. Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon)
Anthony looks like a cross between Tom Hardy and an otter, and those are two things that make everyone happy! However, the name ‘Renly Baratheon’ makes me very unhappy. ‘Renly Baratheon’ is the sort of name that has stopped me reading books with barbarians on the cover. ‘Renly Baratheon’. What is that meant to evoke? It’s a good thing you’re cute, ‘Renly Baratheon’.


5. Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
Harington is a milky-skinned, dreamy-eyed whippersnapper with a silly Elizabethan name, so he’s basically a male Anne Hathaway. Or he’s Taylor Lautner after nasal reconstruction surgery. Either way, my money is on Harington to be the biggest hit with the Tiger Beat crowd (which includes most gay men in their thirties and forties).


4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
Coster-Waldau has a leading man face that has long been in need of a leading man role. I don’t know if the great Dane has finally found it in this character, or if he’s playing against his looks, but so long as he gets to don chainmail and dash about a bit, I should be very happy.


3. Richard Madden (Robb Stark)
Given an appropriately swoonsome role, Madden’s big blue eyes and pretty lips could make him a huge star, and they may help him stand out from all the other boys in Thrones who have had to grow out their brown curls and short beards. I’m calling it; five years from now, Madden will probably be playing James Bond.


2. Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen)
Lloyd is another victim of an unfortunate enblondening in this show, but maybe he can make it work. He already has a look of teutonic superiority, like a boarding school head prefect that you crush on despite your best intentions. He’s just so commanding on the lacrosse field! Lloyd is also one of the best young actors in the business, and talent is sexy.


1. Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo)
Momoa not only plays a barbarian savage in Game of Thrones (and I speak in the most savage-positive sense, here), but he’s also the star of the Conan reboot, making him the new model Schwarzenegger. This is alarming for a lot of straight men, who know on an instinctual level that old Conan was profoundly unsexy and therefore meant only for them, whereas new Conan is strikingly beautiful and therefore appeals to a broader demographic, and that is a threat to their straight boy cultural hegemony. Well, suck it, straight boys. Barbarians are pretty now. Khal Drogo even wears make up.

Another Opening, Another Show

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Five years ago, in one new pilot season, the TV gods gave unto us Lost, House, Desperate Housewives, Veronica Mars and Deadwood. It was a good year. There hasn’t been a year like it since.

In fact, the most recent couple of TV years have been especially terrible, thanks to the writers’ strike. There have been very few good shows, and even fewer renewals. Chuck, Gossip Girl and The Big Bang Theory are some of the only survivors from 07-08, which is good news for underperforming shows from the 08-09 season, like Castle, Dollhouse and Better Off Ted. The closest things to bona fide hits this past season were The Mentalist and Fringe. Nothing truly popped, and studio execs are desparate for success.

So what looks good? Here are my picks of the shows I’m looking forward to in the coming season - assuming they get a season order.


Glee (Fox)

Nip/Tuck’s Ryan Kelly goes back to high school (he was responsible for the underrated Popular, which gave the world Christopher Gorham, Leslie Bibb and Sara Rue) with a show about a school choir. It looks like it’ll be all the usual jocks/geeks/cheerleaders stuff - a well-tapped mine that still sometimes turns up gold - but with added musical numbers, and a regular role for the always excellent Jane Lynch. I suspect it’ll be the most fun thing on TV this year. We’ll get a sneak peek tomorrow, when they preview the pilot after the American Idol final.

Tremé/Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

If the HBO name is no longer enough to get you excited about the show, these two have some other names that may work for you. Tremé, about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans, is the new show from The Wire’s David Simon. The neighbourhood of Tremé, also called Storyville, is next to the French Quarter, and it’s the birthplace of jazz. I love jazz and I love New Orleans, so this intrigues me more than The Wire ever did.

Boardwalk Empire is the work of Martin Scorsese, and it’s a show about Atlantic City gangsters in the 1920s - ‘Once Upon A Time in The Sopranos’. With a cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Kelly McDonald and Michael Pitt, it promises some heavyweight dinner theatre - but the pilot may not get made until Scorsese is free to direct, so this could get bumped to another year.


Eastwick (ABC)

The Witches of Eastwick has already inspired a movie, a musical and a sequel novel. Now it’s a TV show, with Rebecca Romijn as one of the three suburban witches, and Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne, aka the devil. Casting the former Due South mountie in such a role strikes me as odd, but he is eerily ageless and rather irresistible, so it could be a good fit, and it will be nice to see him back on TV. The movie’s Veronica Cartwright, best known for vomiting cherry stones, also has a role in the show.

Masterwork (Fox)

As I mentioned this past weekend, Former Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter is my choice to play Captain America in the movie - but he may be too busy if his new show does well. Porter plays a globetrotting FBI agent tracking down art thieves. Hijinx ensue. Who doesn’t love hijinx? It sounds expensive, so it may need to do incredibly well in order to succeed - and, frankly, nothing does incredibly well anymore - a fact that seems to have been lost on the people who decide which shows to cancel or renew. Ratings ain’t what they used to be.

Flash Forward (ABC)

I am looking forward to this, but I’m also slightly dreading its likely inevitable phenomenon status. It’s another JJ Abrams show, and with Lost bowing out this coming season, ABC is lining this up as a replacement. The concept is that the whole world suffers a blackout (leading to death and destruction, yay) and everyone sees a flash of their future five months hence. You can be sure that these flash-forwards will set up lots of intriguing ‘how do I get to there from here’ mysteries. Stars include John Cho and Joseph Fiennes. ABC also has a remake of the lizard alien show V in the works, starring The 4400’s Joel Gretsch and Firefly’s Morena Baccarin.

Those are the shows I have high hopes for. There are also a few I’m wary of, so consider this fair warning:

Lost & Found (NBC)

A gritty cop drama from the Dick Wolf stable, about a young maverick LAPD detective who teams up with a grizzled older partner to work cold cases. It could hardly be more formulaic, but it does boast Katee Sackhoff and Brian Cox as the leads, so that gives it some small hope of being interesting.


Vampire Diaries (CW)

I doubt your committment to sparkle vampires. The CW is cashing in on the Twilight thing with this adaptation of another young adult novel series about high school bloodsuckers. You shoulda wrote one of those! You’d be rich now! This one stars Ian Somerhalder as, I don’t know, ‘Jedward Scullen’, probably.

Eva Adams (Fox)

A sexist sports agent finds himself trapped in the body of a beautiful young woman. If it gets made (and I don’t think it will), it will surely be diabolical, but it does raise one interesting question; how would they handle the love interest? Is the male-to-female lead character going to get it on with boys (gay!) or girls (also gay!)? Like Ugly Betty, this is an adaptation of a South American telenovela.

Human Target (Fox)

This is based on the DC comic about a detective who impersonates his clients in order to protect them. The premise has a little in common with Dollhouse, but without all the rape. However, word has it that the show has ditched the comics’ impersonation angle. If so, it’s ditched the ‘human target’ premise that made this show intriguing (and, uh, gave it its name). Then again, if you want an actor who can exhibit range, craggy faced Mark Valley seems about as wise a choice as, say, Eliza Dushku.

Legally Mad (NBC)

This one didn’t get picked up, so we already know we’re never going to see it, and that’s a reason to be cheerful. This was going to be yet another tedious ‘wacky lawyer’ show from David E Kelley, who gave us Ally McBeal and Boston Legal: Ally McBeal For Boys. This one starred squeaky-voiced Kristen Chenoweth and squeaky-voiced Loretta Divine, so it would only have been audible to dogs. To cap it all, it was called Legally Mad, for God’s sake. We dodged  a bullet there, folks.