Airing from Monday, Game of Thrones is Sky Atlantic HD’s newest and hottest show and UK viewers are getting the chance to see each episode just a day after they premiere stateside on HBO.
Starring seenit.co.uk favourites Sean Bean, Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Aidan Gillen (Queer as Folk) and Harry Lloyd (Robin Hood & Doctor Who), the show is based on George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ novels and tells of the struggle for power among the nobility of Westeros.
We’ve been treated to an early viewing of the first two episodes and – though we’re not going to give away any plot or spoilers – we can reveal viewers are in for a treat.
Though Game of Thrones can be described as ‘fantasy’ you should expel any thoughts of panto-like shows in the vein of BBC One’s Merlin and Robin Hood – this is first and foremost a gritty and sometimes violent drama packed to the rafters with intrigue and scheming.
Sets and costumes are superb – not since Robin of Sherwood in the 1980’s have real-life castles and natural backgrounds been used to such great effect in fantasy television.
A note of caution – those not keen on swearing or nudity probably shouldn’t tune in as both are liberally present, even if it’s not always clear what they add to the proceedings.
Some viewers may find the proliferation of non-anglo saxon names and fictional place names a hinderance in following the story. While such elements are a staple of fantasy novels, they perhaps don’t always translate well to the screen.
The opening episode does a good job of setting up the scenario and characters but – like too many series openers these days – it’s a little anaemic and you’ll need to hold faith and stick it out for the second instalment for the story to really get going.
Game of Thrones, 9pm Sky Atlantic HD from April 18th
More info: skyatlantic.sky.com/game-of-thrones