I have watched a few other shows but isn’t this the most important one? As I wait for the big battle episodes (3 and 5) and all the heart wrenching deaths that I assume will come with them, I hoped that the first episode of Season 8 would be happier and full of important reunions as all the characters reunite to fight the Army of the Dead. I was rewarded.
Game of Thrones (Season 8, HBO) ♦♦♦♦♦
So the first episode was spent getting people situated for the major battles to come as well as giving us some great reunions – Arya and Jon, Arya and Gendry, Arya and the Hound, Tyrion and Sansa and Bran and Jamie. Sansa delivers some good lines (Joffrey’s marriage to Marjorie “had its moments”) as does Tyrion and Jon rides a dragon. It was all good. No one dies (well Lord Umber didn’t have a good end but he was clearly a Red Shirt that we weren’t invested in). We have one more episode before the big Winterfell battle so I expect the Northerners will figure out that Cersei is not sending troops and won’t be too happy to hear of Jon’s Southern parentage. Meanwhile, Jon isn’t to happy with the truth about his parents. Will he embrace the Targaryen history of incest or walk away from Dany?
I really want to see the final result of what I expect is a kick-ass weapon that Gendry is making for Arya. Is she the one who will kill the Night King? Will this be the weapon that does the job or might it be for the Ice Dragon. The Bran/Jamie reunion should be very enlightening and Jamie’s acceptance by Dany after killing her father can’t be without issues. Little Miss Mormont was a fantastic addition last season but she is getting to be a bit of a whiney pain in the arse that I can do without. Sansa is justifiably skeptical of Dany and the Lannisters and speaking of Lannisters, is Cersei drinking her way through a pregnancy or is the baby gone? I loved the Theon/Yara reunion but fear, that it won’t go well for either of them in the episodes coming up. Clearly we have more questions than answers with only 5 shows remaining.
I was happy with this first episode despite some complaining that it was just setting the chess pieces in place for the game to come. This was a character driven episode that was in the spirit of the book and harkens to a time before everything was battles and special effects. It was the calm before the storm, and probably the last time we will see many of these characters alive. I savored the moment. I loved the new Opening Credits and all the call-outs to the Episode 1 of Season 1.
Killing Eve (BBC America/AMC)♦♦♦♦♦
Killing Eve is back and if the first two episodes are any indication, the show will not suffer from the 2nd season doldrums that affect so many TV dramas. We left Eve (Sandra Oh) off last season after she shoves a knife into Villanelle (the fantastic and under rated Jodie Comer) and running away from the scene before we found out what happened. Eve doesn’t know if she killed her or not as we find out when she finally reaches safety and contacts her former MI6 boss but she certainly realizes that she has slipped closer to the world of an international assassin than that of an MI6 agent.
Whatever Eve’s relationship with Villanelle is, she attempts to go back to a “normal life” with her husband and fails miserably. Her former boss tries to get her to come back and Eve refuses at first but you know she can’t ultimately resist the calling. Meanwhile Villanelle is back killing people as she recuperates and sets out on a path (we assume to find Eve). However their relationship evolves, the cat and mouse game is superb. Love this show!
A Discovery of Witches (BBC America/AMC) Rating TBD
Premiering after “Killing Eve” on Sunday nights is a new show that has been referred to by many as “Twilight” meets “Outlander” starring Mathew Goode of Downton Abbey fame. I’ve seen two episodes but if it plays out like I think it will, there is going to be quite the relationship between Goode’s Vampire character and his mortal enemy, a witch. The TV show is considered better than the book it is based on by many critics and is rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for what that is worth. While vampires and witches might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I think this has some potential so I’m in it for now.
Fosse/Verdon (FX – rating TBD)
I have just watched one episode of Fosse/Verdon, the FX biopic miniseries covering about 50 years of Bob Fosse and his wife Gwen Verdon. Sam Rockwell plays Fosse and Michelle Williams is Verdon, perhaps the greatest Broadway dancer of all time. The reviews are mixed except for the unanimous praise for the two leads. In the end, this is a show that may only appeal to true theater geeks (I’m sure I am missing the meaning of many of the lines) but Michelle Williams is so impressive that I’ll watch it for a bit longer.
Les Mis (PBS – rating TBD)
PBS’s Masterpiece Theater started a 6 part mini-series adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables starring just about everyone you could possible want to be in this BBC non-musical adaptation. Dominic West is Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo is Javert, Lily Collins is Fantine, and to top it all off, is a performance by Olivia Coleman (is she in everything these days?). Episode 1 suggests that this version of the classic will follow the book much more than the musical does. So far the sets are rich and the cinematography fantastic in a depressing story that reflects a much more realistic view of this period in French history than the musical. I’m in for this one.
Abby’s (NBC) ♦♦ 1/2
As readers of this blog know, I’m not a big fan of traditional comedies nor of network TV but I thought I’d try this one as it has one of my favorite TV Actors (Neil Flynn from the Middle and Scrubbs) and reasonably decent reviews. I got through 2 episodes and bagged it. Abby has a bar in her back yard which of course has no permit, is not to code etc but does have a group of neighborhood regulars including Flynn’s character who could just as well be named Mike Heck. I couldn’t get into any of the characters or anything about this show. I suppose, as traditional network comedies go, it could be worse but there is nothing new here and I have better ways of spending my time.