Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

Over/Underrated 2015 – Honorable Mentions

22 Apr

This is it, folks! I’ve finally made it to the top of my Everest and am posting my last over/underrated entry for the year 2015. It only took me three months longer than it should have, so thanks to those of you who have loyally kept up with my sporadic thoughts on the best/worst that 2015 pop culture had to offer.

Like I mentioned at the start of this series, 2015 was a good year. For that reason, I leave you with a few On Pointe honorable mentions. 2015 wouldn’t have been such a banner year without them.

On Pointe

Jon Snow

WARNING: This entry contains major spoilers about season five of Game of Thrones.

It wouldn’t seem right to discuss all that was right (and yet so wrong!) in 2015 pop culture without talking about the “death” of Jon Snow on the HBO series Game of Thrones. I say “death” and not death because I’m still in denial about it.

What’s most surprising about Snow’s death is that viewers (like me) were still surprised. Considering the source material, George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, was published all the way back in 2011, it’s shocking that flashing neon spoilers weren’t all over the internet in the days leading up to his murder on the show. Similar to the way they guarded the Red Wedding back in 2013 (see our entry on that here), it’s clear that fans of the GoT books are not about ruining the television experience.

Even if there hadn’t been spoilers only a novel away, you’d still think I’d have seen it coming, considering GoT had already killed off such notable characters as Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. Still, somehow in my mind, Snow was the one character that somehow would survive all the violence and be standing even after Winter had come and gone. Apparently, like him, I knew nothing.

Whether or not Snow’s character is actually dead dead remains to be seen. No amount of money I’ve set aside for therapy would be enough if he actually is. After all, the night is dark and full of terrors, and I’m not ready to face it without him.

Jon Snow

Better Call Saul

There was never a doubt in my mind that Better Call Saul was going to be amazing. How could it not be? After all, Breaking Bad was deemed Absolute Best Drama by my fair Bestie only a couple years ago. A spinoff show helmed by the same geniuses (Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould), and centered on one of the most beloved characters seemed almost too good to be true. Well it’s not too good, and it’s true.

The first season* of BCS brought us an intimate glimpse into Saul Goodman’s past, showing us the conflicted double life of Jimmy McGill (Saul’s birth name). McGill is striving to be a straight-laced lawyer, but unable to turn off his love of the con game. Bob Odenkirk is perfection as Jimmy McGill, bringing a much appreciated sense of humor and flair to the Breaking Bad universe. The show has not become as dark as Breaking Bad, yet, but the presence of the Mexican cartel (Tuco!) and everyone’s favorite gun-for-hire, Mike Ehrmantraut, are indicators that McGill is just one wrong client away from more than he can bargain for.

For viewers, the anticipation of waiting for McGill to truly embrace his Slippin’ Jimmy side and become the Saul we all know and love is almost a more delicious burn than watching Walter White become the one who knocks. There are some (*cough* my husband *cough*) who might argue that knowing the end result makes the journey there less intriguing. I couldn’t disagree more. Seeing where McGill begins makes him a more sympathetic character, and makes his ultimate undoing in Breaking Bad even more heartbreaking.

All plot aside, BCS would still be what the critics mean when they talk about good television. Once again the team of Gilligan and Gould have shown us that the magic is in the details, and that no single frame of a show should be without purpose. If that’s not reason enough to give BCS a try, then I don’t know what is.    

*This post was supposed to have been written way back in January, so for the purposes of this blog entry I am choosing to pretend that I haven’t already watched season two of BCS. After all, I need to save something for my 2016 lists.

BCS

Mad Men Finale

WARNING: This entry contains spoilers about the final episode of Mad Men.

Don Draper’s personal journey on Mad Men was a long one, and he played about every role you can think of along the way. War deserter to advertising genius. Philandering husband to doting father. Cutthroat partner to encouraging mentor. Confident jackass to lost and confused drunk. Still, in all seven seasons of Mad Men, I can honestly say I never expected to see Don Draper: Hippie.

The final season of Mad Men found many of the characters, not just Don, floundering to find self realization. Could Joan really be content working under men who saw her as nothing more than a pair of walking boobs? Could Peggy have both her career and love? Could Pete find a way to redeem himself in the eyes of his wife and daughter? Could the seemingly never satisfied Betty find a way to leave this earth content with the life she’s lived?

The answers to all of these questions arrived in the show’s series finale. Sure, to some extent the finale felt a little too neat, making sure that all the loose ends were tied up nice and tidy with a pretty bow on top. But despite those ends being tied up, they weren’t always what the fans necessarily wanted (Betty’s illness and Pete’s family reunion, to name a few).

What made the finale truly classic was the result of Don’s quest for self-actualization. Up until the final seconds of the finale, I was starting to doubt that we’d see that same kind of closure for our antihero as we’d been seeing for the rest of the characters. What on earth could his retreat to California have at all to do with the rest of the series? What did it all mean?! But, all it took was a Mona Lisa smile to appear on Don’s face and the singing of Coca-Cola’s most famous advertisement for me to get it. And just like that, the ending of Mad Men made its way into series finale history.  

MM

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Over/Underrated 2013: Part Nine

9 Jan

Overrated

Fifty Shades of Grey Casting

— Andrea (@prettyandink)

It’s no secret that fans of popular book series are harsh critics when it comes to the casting choices made in the movie adaptations of their beloved books. Fans of the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games series all voiced their very loud opinions, good and bad, when it came down to who would play those coveted roles. Up until recently, I thought that becoming so invested in such acting choices was an activity confined to the realm of young adult literature movie adaptations. Nope. Turns out that adults, particularly women, are just as wildly opinionated when it comes to their erotica series as well.

Speculation over who was going to play the coveted roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele had been an ongoing pop culture topic ever since fans found out a movie adaptation was in the works. Okay, let’s be honest; for all intents and purposes it’s really only the casting of Christian Grey that middle-aged women people were concerned about. Names like Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer were tossed around enough times that it almost seemed certain to go to one of them. Middle-aged women The world waited with bated breath for the official casting news, but it was groans of disappointment that were let out when it was finally announced that Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam had snagged the role of Christian with Dakota Johnson to accompany him as Anastasia Steele. Fans seemed fine with Johnson’s casting, but immediately after the announcement the internet was flooded by middle-aged women fans ranting about how Hunnan didn’t fit the build, the look, the charisma of one Mr. Grey.

It seemed awfully coincidental, then, when it was announced just weeks later that Hunnam had dropped out of the project. Hunnam reportedly dropped out due to his busy Sons of Anarchy filming schedule. Yeah, sure.

Once again, fans were forced to wait to find out who would play Christian, and once again the Matt Bomer rumors started. Fans even petitioned Matt Bomer to play Christian on change.org. Yup. Because that’s a serious cause.

Throughout all the fan fervor I was so tired of hearing about the movie casting that almost anyone would do. I silently prayed please God just let them pick someone so I can be done hearing people talk about this infernal movie. Thankfully I only had to wait a couple of weeks before news that the role of Christian had once again been cast, now with Jamie Dornan snagging the role. This time around, fans were split. It’s true the man has the smoldering eyes, and have you seen him in his underwear? But being a relative unknown, fans were unsure of whether or not his acting chops could do the role justice. How they think Dornan’s portrayal could possibly be more poor in quality than the written work the character comes from is beyond me. (For more on my literary critique see last years overrated entry here.)

Personally, I’m on team Dornan. I’ve seen him act on Once Upon a Time, and I know the man can rock a pair of skivvies. I’d like to say that this is the end of the Fifty Shades of Grey fandom drama, but that would be wishful thinking. I’m no fortune teller, but with pictures from the movie set being leaked and its rating still up in the air, I’m thinking its likely this won’t be the last time Fifty Shades makes the overrated list.

Grey

Underrated

Lana del Rey

— Brook (@brooklynhofstad)

I’m not hip. There. I said it. The time has come to face the music. I am getting old. That’s how I know Lana del Rey is underrated.

Here’s my test:

1. I know who the artist is.
2. I know more than one of their songs.
3. The artist is currently not enjoying Katy Perry-esque levels of fame (meaning they’re not being played every other song on every Clear Channel station).

Lana del Rey is sort of like Justin Bieber, only less douchy. Although she had already signed a record deal, she gained popularity by putting music videos on YouTube. Her first single, “Video Games,” went viral with over 20 million views.

She’s gone on to sell millions of records and she was nominated for a Grammy for her version of “Young and Beautiful” on the Great Gatsby soundtrack.

Her voice is beautiful, and it has an old-timey feel to it, which works well with her retro, Hollywood glam style. She has this smoky, mysterious aura about her that makes her seem almost Marilyn Monroe-like.

She has all the makings for A-list stardom, but she has yet to be household name.

Another thing I know for certain, since my mom has no idea who she is.

“Lana del-WHO?”

Lana

On Pointe

The Red Wedding

— Brook

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

Back in June people talked about the Red Wedding as nauseum. Now that a few months have passed, I think it’s fair to say that the Red Wedding was easily the most shocking television event in 2013 (Matthew Crawley’s death ain’t got nothin’ on the ruthlessness of GRRM).

From what I gather, HBO’s adaptation is as true an adaption that a fan could hope for. Having never made it through the books myself (yet!), I rely on others to tell me how great the show is in comparison.

Other popular shows like Dexter and True Blood are also novel adaptations, but both shows departed majorly from their respective source material, especially after season one.

Not GoT.

Game of Thrones producers proved they were aiming to meet and even exceed fan expectations when they didn’t shy away from the first (OF MANY) major deaths in the series: the beheading of Ned Stark.

The reason the Red Wedding from last season was so amazing was not because GRRM slaughtered many beloved characters (RIP Robb), or even that the showrunners decided to stay true to the novel and also render unemployed a great many actors. It was so brilliant because people were so surprised by it.

One thing you might not know about me is I LOVE spoilers. It drives my friends crazy, but I want to know everything before it happens. I knew the Red Wedding was coming ages in advance. But that’s only because I sought them out. Had I wanted to go along blissfully unaware, I could have. There were not trolls on the internet warning of the upcoming bloodbath (at least not that I saw).

In this day of technological ubiquity, it’s amazing that readers of the series were able to keep quiet about the event and not ruin it for everyone (unlike those Harry Potter a$$holes who made the t-shirts letting people know on which page Dumbledore died).

The Red Wedding in itself was shocking, but the most amazing thing was that watchers of the show were allowed the simple courtesy of being shocked.

redImage Credit: Lego Genre