In an age of instant videos on demand and streaming movies on Netflix and other venues, HBO, by all rights, should have been well on its way to the video grave.But somewhere along the way, HBO decided to shift to creating its own content, rather than be swept under the tide of competitors playing the same movies (sometimes more cheaply and/or conveniently). Today, it produces much of the best TV available.
Take “Game of Thrones,” based on the first book of a popular fantasy series by George R. R. Martin. Produced for more than $60 million, the 10-episode season allowed viewers to luxuriate in Martin’s epic narrative sweep and sprawling cast of characters.
Written for grown-ups, with layered characters blessed with moral ambiguities and flaws, Martin’s book would not have translated satisfactorily into a two-hour film. With 10 full hours to roam, uninterrupted by commercials or the need to synch with the forced storytelling rhythms of regular TV, “Game” took the sword-and-sorcery genre to a level of ambition not seen since the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy nearly a decade ago.
“Game of Thrones” arrives on video next Tuesday.
By Chris Lloyd