The final season of HBO’s smash hit Game of Thrones is coming to a close, and if you’re not watching, believe me when I say that you’re in the minority. The show has seen viewership not rivaled since The Sopranos, and it would be entirely accurate to say that it has had an impact on TV shows in general that has not probably not been seen since the debut of Tony and his New Jersey buddies some twenty years ago.
Game of Thrones has opened up a world of possibilities in the fantasy genre that were unheard of before. The sheer amount of money that has been spent on the later episodes is staggering, especially when you take into account the special effects budget for the dragons, the White Walkers, and the enormous battle sequences. Those battles rival anything that has been seen on the big screen, whether you want to talk about Braveheart, or the Lord of the Rings series, or anything else you care to name.
Being someone who has always loved fantasy, I have enjoyed the show immensely. I love the visuals, the scope of it, the sheer breadth of the world that has been created, and there are so many unforgettable characters, classic moments, and one-liners. There are so many tragic deaths and rebirths, so many turns and twists, and the show has launched so many careers, from Sophie Turner to Peter Dinklage to Kit Harrington.
I’m going to be sorry to see it go, and of course I’m dying of curiosity to see how they they can possibly tie up the million-and-one loose ends in the next five episodes. Is there any possible way this show can have a satisfactory conclusion, or will it end up being like The Sopranos, where only a small portion of the viewing audience was satisfied with how things finished up?
Then there’s the issue of what’s on the horizon. Game of Thrones might be ending, but what about all of the sequels or prequels that are under discussion? And what might replace it in popularity? Presumably the likeliest contender is going to be the proposed series that takes place in Tolkien’s Middle Earth to which Netflix now has the rights. Visually it’s supposed to be like the Peter Jackson movies, and it’s going to have a budget to rival them. Being as big of a Tolkien fan as I am, needless to say you can count me in.
In the meantime, though, I’m very much looking forward to the debut of Good Omens when that comes out on Netflix later this summer. Indeed, there are multiple big-budget fantasy epics in the works, and they’re all intended for TV rather than the big screen. That’s the way things are going, and I must say that it’s nice to be able to watch such ambitious projects from the comfort of my bedroom where I can pause to take a leak or get a snack whenever I so choose.
As for the conclusion of Game of Thrones, I’m sure I’ll eagerly soak in every minute of the show’s remaining episodes. There has never been anything like it in the history of television, and whether there will ever be another fantasy saga to match it’s awesomeness remains to be seen.